The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 5 Millwall 0

You could put a fair case to say this game should have been nil-nil. You can
also, with some justification, say it should have been ten-nil. Were we a
class above, for absolutely dominating the match? Or did we put on one of
our most frustrating, wasteful and tactically inept performances for years?
Or both?

Let’s put things into context. We were playing a team two divisions below
us, at home, who had no incentive to attack at any point in the 90 minutes,
and who were down to ten men and then nine. We should have totally
dominated. It should have been simply Ipswich attack, Millwall clearance
anywhere, Ipswich attack, Millwall clearance anywhere, and so on. It should
have been. And that’s exactly what it was.

Read this one. Goal attempts: Ipswich 42, Millwall 1.

So why was it such a horror show? Simple. Five chances converted out of 42.
That’s why. There were times in the game, especially in the first 75 minutes
(chances converted: nil) where any neutral (and more than a few Town
supporters) would have said: “Ipswich deserve to go out for being so
pathetic in front of goal”. It was absolutely hopeless. How could we be so
bad where it counts? This was Johnno’s big chance to show he could do the
job we want him to. Instead he blazed the ball anywhere except the right
direction. I’m not having any of Kevin Beattie’s “Ipswich were terrific and
totally dominated on the night” rubbish. Of course we dominated. When the
opposition are outnumbered by two men and refuse to come out of their own
area (and who can blame them), of course we’re going to dominate. We were
able to push it around 75% of the pitch for as long as we liked without fear
of challenge. But after that we were clueless.

Getting drawn against a lower division team makes the Worthington Cup a very
good thing, because it gives the manager a chance to try out one or two
fringe players alongside first-choice ones, rather than reserve games which
are probably rather more flattering to them. So in that sense, long term, it
was a good night. We got through, and we had a chance to see Johnson and
Reuser back in the team. In the main, they were bloody awful though. At
least that was confirmed.

Some ratings:

Wright 8: They say if a keeper has a long period out of a game, it’s doubly
difficult to perform when called on. So when you spend 91 minutes without
having a save to make, then you’re called on to pull off a cracker, that’s

Wilnis 4: A stinker. What happened? No surprise Burley took him off at half
time. Slow, hesitant, and seemed to have lost any ability to pass the ball.
Very strange indeed.

McGreal 7: On a night like this, we can only rate defenders on their
attacking play, because there wasn’t any defending to do. Put in two or
three of those trademark, excellent angled balls into the area, one of which
was so good that even Johnson managed to put it away.

Bramble 8: Did exactly what was asked of him all night, with hardly an
error, and came forward to make the difference with a very well-taken goal
at the end.

HH 5: Mysteriously out of sorts in his distribution, not his strongest point
normally, but unacceptably poor in this game. I really don’t like HH on the
left in a back four, he seems so much more at home in the middle. Burley
knows this and is obviously hoping to switch to a back four with Karic on
the left and McGreal on the right. It could work.

Holland 7: Looked well at home in the first half. Those puzzled by Matt’s
lack of impact so far this season may well wonder if it’s only at this level
of opposition where he can really make an impact, because in the first half
in particular, this was the Matt of the last two or three years. I still
think he can make the step up.

Magilton 7: Jim has struggled with the lack of space in the Premiership, but
with time and more space in this match, especially as the game wore on, he
was able to boss things around again. Still prone to hitting the 50-yarder
to the far side even when a 20-yarder to the near side would put a player in
just as good a situation. Disappointing penalty, he’s now missed two in a
row so it’s back to the drawing board.

Reuser 6: Utterly ineffective for 45 minutes, he was very lucky that Wilnis
was even worse (just), otherwise he might have been the one to come off at
half-time, and then he wouldn’t have had the chance to redeem himself in the
second half. I assume Burley tore a strip off him at half-time, because in
the second half he seemed much more prepared to chase the game and get
involved, and probably merited at least a 7. Towards the end when things
didn’t go his was he was displaying distinctly Petta-like stroppiness

Scowcroft 6: Worryingly off the pace, James showed very little sharpness.
Admittedly, he had to contend with the confusion of Johnson zooming all
around him unpredictably (and usually popping up in the worst possible
place), but we’d expect Scowie to dominate second division defenders, and he

Johnson 5: …and that includes an extra point for actually sticking a
couple away. Johnno had about 12 good chances. Credit to him for making a
few of them himself, but two out of twelve is simply not good enough. If we
played him in the Premiership from now until Christmas he’d be lucky to get
12 good chances in total, and if he only stuck two of them away we’d be in
trouble. Just seems to have no idea of how to put the ball away any more.


Jermaine Wright 8: Looked the classiest player on the pitch, even in an
unfamiliar right-back role for 75 minutes. Everyone knew we’d get more joy
from passing and running the ball into the area, rather than slinging it in
high, but Jermaine was probably the only player who actually did something
about it.

Naylor 6: Couldn’t get into things at all. Missed a sitter and is a way off

Karic 6: A bit hit-and-miss, rather too eager to please, but some of his
crosses and centres looked promising. Too unusual a game and too short an
appearance to make any real judgement.

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