The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Southampton 1

It’s like watching a game of chess really, first teams can’t handle us, then
they work out how to do it, then we work out how to beat those tactics in
return. And that’s exactly how it should be. Certainly another Derby looked
on the cards in the first half, the difference being that with a slightly
different lineup there was no Johnno to carry the can for an overall lack of
imagination and the real culprits became more obvious.

Southampton did the stifle-the-Ipswich-midfield thing, by playing an
adventurous 4-3-3 but from deep, meaning that at times they had seven men in
midfield. But when they broke, it was in strength, and McGreal/Venus don’t
seem to like big blokes (Beattie, Davies) running at them, do they? That
said, the first goal came from more of a lightweight (Pahars) skinning
Crofty, which was really disappointing.

Again, with little space, out midfield struggled to cope. Matty had a
stinker of a first half, and if you don’t think so, you weren’t watching him
carefully. Jim made by far the more glaring and numerous errors, but at
least he was determined (almost to the point of obsessiveness) to try to be
everywhere and to really boss the game. Didn’t work, but like everything
else, it all turned round in the second half.

During the interval the talk was a bit doom and gloom. I remember having a
real rant asking just how much more useless could Scowcroft possibly get? I
also heard talk of “will we *ever* score from a corner?” and even “might as
well go, when was the last time we came from behind?” Oooh, we crossed a few
metaphorical bridges in this game, that’s for sure.

Best suggestion of the interval was that we go to a 4-3-3 with Johnson or
perhaps even that new bloke, although the suggestion came from a nameless
individual who wanted Jim off instead of Jermaininho, who’d contributed bog
all. That would have been a huge mistake; Jim might have been unable to pass
the ball to anyone in blue, but he was getting involved so much that we
could never have filled the gap that would have left.

In the event, Johnno at a stroke became out No.5 choice up front, when GB
went to the aforementioned 4-3-3 (or as Jack perhaps more accurately puts
it, 4-3-1-2), preferring a “well-short-of-sharpness” Armstrong. I’m starting
to feel really sorry for Johnno.

Now we all remembered why Scowie was player of the year last year in this
position behind the front two. Everything changed. And it’s credit to
Jermaininho that he’s been playing so well in support of the attack that
we’d all forgotten how good Scowie can be there when given the chance. Now
there’s a nice selection problem.

Everything started to come together. Sure, it wasn’t as pretty as some of
the demonstration football we’ve played this season. Southampton’s top-class
snuffing-out tactics made sure of that. But it was very, very effective. The
goals weren’t pretty either, but I was so glad for Jim that he made three
assists. And we came from behind. And we scored from a corner. Whatever
next? A few ghosts laid to rest at Old Trafford?

Wright 8 – looked like a lemon when their goal looped over his head, but
should never have been that exposed in the first place. Three cracking saves
(the point blank one which was given as a goal kick, the tip on to the post
and the one with his feet) made the difference between three points and two
or three fewer.

Croft 6 – tried hard, but looked very dodgy at times when attacked. Got
forward well, but far more predictably (for the opposition) than Fab does at
his best, and seldom troubled the defence with a decent cross. Left way, way
out of position on a couple of occasions. Giggs would have crucified him.

McGreal 6 – very unsure when run at by either Pahars (at speed) or Beattie
(with muscle). Didn’t inspire confidence (for once) and hardly got forward
at all.

Venus 6 – see McGreal! Started in the middle but ended up wide in the usual
switch-with-Hermann thing at the end which sees Jamie dropping back too (and
they do look more comfortable with five, it has to be said).

HH 6 – at the risk of getting repetitive, was caught on the back foot more
than we’ve come to expect…

Wright 5 – for the second home match running, really didn’t get involved,
and to be honest, we didn’t miss him much after the half-time changearound.
A real shame.

Holland 6 – No more than 5 for a first-half, about as uninvolved as I’ve
ever seen Matt play. You kept feeling that he’d rather have been back where
Jim was than have this responsibility of getting forward (which he failed to
do either). But the second half was much, much better.

Magilton 7 – Extra point for the effort, Jim seemed determined to get
involved, but just seemed to have lost his bearings (and concentration, and
eventually confidence) in the first half. It came together more after
half-time, and setting up all three goals was well deserved. Could have had
a go at goal twice, but (for once) didn’t seem to have faith in himself.

Clapham 7 – Much better after Derby’s awful display. Had a bit of presence
and kept their defence busy consistently.

Scowcroft 4 in the first half and 8 in the second – played with the panache
and close control of a telegraph pole until teacups were obviously thrown
around the changing room at half time. Then suddenly became the Scowie of
last year. What’s Burley gonna do now?

Stewart 6 – Curiously found it tough to get anything out of the game. But a
few trademark layoffs every now and then reminded us that it’s forbidden to
thing anything negative about Marcus at the moment.


Armstrong (for Wright at half-time) 7 – nice debut, and looked versatile
enough to have the potential to form partnerships. Straight out of the
Bam-Bam mould in many ways, and I wonder if it’s Richard’s future which
Burley is doubtful about, rather than Johnno or Scowie wanting to get away.
No idea whether this guy is going to turn out to be one of the shrewdest
buys GB’s made yet, or a #400,000-a-goal man.

Ref – hardly noticeable, just as it should be. Good man.
Crowd – shocked after three minutes, but got back into it
Jack – 10. Driving all the way home, listening to 5-0-5 and then 6-0-6,
hoping someone would call in and say “Alun Armstrong: living proof that
Bryan Robson is the worst manager in the history of football or what?” And
then Jack did. Made my day.

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