The View From Churchmans

Ipswich Town home match reports from just another season-ticket holder


Ipswich Town 4 Charlton 2

Yes, I know most of the List (including me) has written “we’ll probably
go and thrash Charlton now” over the last few days, but who’d have
believed it really?
What was most interesting of all about this game was the way that we saw
a team rejuvenate itself not between games, as is usual, but steadily,
and gradually, during the course of a game. One up with a (fortunate)
goal within five minutes, then 1-2 down after giving away two sloppy
goals, and it was QPR all over again. But I doubt if many people
(certainly not me) realised until afterwards that we were just beginning
a gradual transformation. By half time, we were not only back at 2-2 but
we were probably the better side for the first time in the game. Because
let’s face it, they may have been a bit toothless (without Mendonca?),
but Charlton looked a class above us for the first 30 minutes. The
transformation steadily continued and by the end we were playing with
them. We witnessed a miracle.

Or did we? After much deliberation and post-match discussion, I can now
exclusively reveal the FIVE factors which brought the team back to life:
1. Burley recalled Tony Mowbray.
2. There was a bloke called Tony Mowbray in the side.
3. Mogga was back.
4. Er…
5. That’s it.

Although they must have had worries about match fitness, Mogga and Burley
obviously decided that the only way to get the defence back on an even
keel was for the old guy to come back and hold the hands of two of the
three disasters from Saturday. Better that long-term than to just throw
out the defence, as I’d rather hoped he’d do. To chance Mogga in a game
like Charlton showed how desperate things were.
It’s difficult to know in practical terms why Mogga made such an effect.
But the confidence was back in the other two immediately. He completely
calmed McGreal down from the start, and he slowly put the lid on Venus’
own lack of confidence (which results in huge hoofs at every opportunity)
as the first half went on. He reminded us what it was like to have a
defender who can win everything then calmly play the safe ball out. And
his application to the cause was demonstrated by his reactions after
missing two relatively easy headers, one in each half, and after the
first QPR goal, which he blamed himself for.
The confidence at the back let the midfield get on with their game. As
was so often the case last year, when Magilton asserts himself in the
middle, it’s to Matty’s detriment, but Holland threw himself around the
rest of the park to more than make up for that. And perhaps the only
disappointing part of the performance was the predictable way in which
Scowcroft and Johnson failed to connect at all – plenty of effort from
both, but as ever, they were playing different games and were never going
to get anywhere on their own. But they kept the Charlton defence busy and
stretched enough to allow the midfield (Holland, Stockwell) to do a lot
of the really creative attacking, which is a strategy of sorts.
What now? Two games into a 7-games-in-22-days sequence, and we may be
totally dependent on a guy who’s my age. Eeek. But if Mogga’s presence
over 1, 2 or more games can make Venus realise it’s *not* all over and he
has a crucial role to play, and bring back McGreal’s confidence, that may
be all that’s needed. Now where the hell’s Wayne Brown?

Some ratings:
Wright 6 – a couple of dropped crosses, and a second goal going through
his legs, but he wasn’t rushing around dangerously like Saturday
Wilnis 6 – a bit flaky on the back foot, but got into some good positions
further up, even if the final ball was then erratic (twice very good, but
more often disappointing)
McGreal 7 – that’s more like it; steady, if uninspiring, but hardly put a
foot wrong – the perfect game for a player rebuilding his confidence
Mowbray 8 (MOTM) – OK, perhaps a generous 8, but he put a combined total
of about 20 on the other players’ ratings. Won more headers than the
entire defence has done in total this month
Venus 7 – steady in the tackle, and became confident enough as the match
wore on to look for shorter options instead of panicky hoofs
Clapham 7 – cracking first half, although pinned back deliberately (and
cleverly) by Charlton after the break, otherwise might have got an even
higher mark
Stockwell 7 – intelligently used the space created by the forwards and
kept offering some great options up front, as well as getting back
quickly as ever
Magilton 6 – nice to see Jim back in his Big Boss Role in the middle,
although too often played the less obvious (and more wrong!) ball when
Clapham or Wilnis was charging into space. Kept overhitting passes in the
first half too
Holland 8 – breaking through up front, making last-ditch tackles at the
back, and just hurling himself at everything, if only Matt’s first-touch
control of passes to him was any good, he’d be the best player in the
world (removes blue specs)
Scowcroft 7 – won a lot in the air, it’s true, but all so pointlessly;
there was nobody around to receive the flick-ons, he was just too far
forward and too disconnected from Johnno. But kept the Charlton defence
Johnson 6 – ran tirelessly but was easily matched by Rufus, and hardly
got a look-in all evening. Visibly tired towards the end too.

Anyway, that’ll do. Now bring on Walsall on the rebound from a thrashing
by the only team who’ve been worse than us this month.

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