The View From Churchmans

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


Leicester City 2 Ipswich Town 1

Sorry for the delay in the report, we took the (very) long way home from
Leicester and got back at 5pm Thursday. Anyway, hardly the eye opening Great
New Experience of the Premiership, was it? More like a visit to a
third-world venue. We went with a Leicester-resident friend who, on the way
to the ground, said: “I apologise now for the state of the ground, in terms
of quality we have one stand representing each of the four divisions. And
guess which one you get?” Lucky we tend to keep the ball on the deck, we
wouldn’t have been able to see anything through the little slot in front of
us. Anyone think Filbert Street reminded you of Crewe? One side stand
containing 99.9% of the home supporters, two apologies of stands behind the
goals where every other seat must have been a “restricted view”, and a
cattle shed along the other side which was totally given over to the away
supporters (the only difference from Crewe was that it went back 16 rows of
seats rather than just 8).

The most hilarious item of the evening (apart from Titus taking Darren
Eadie’s legs away) was in the (excellent) programme, which contained a sort
of Hello! style item where Robbie Savage Shows Us His Sumptuous
Leicestershire Mansion, His Live-In Blonde Bimbo And His Obligatory
Disgusting Hard-Man Dog. Fantastic. This man is the absolute archetypal
tasteless, overpaid too-much-money-for-his-own-good thick-as-a-plank
footballer. See Robbie and his girlie lounging on their incredibly tasteful
zebra-print sofa! Mmm, nice. You couldn’t make it up. “Robbie’s just fitted
custom-built sports exhaust on his Porsche”, gushed the programme, “Which
make it a lot louder than normal. We hope the neighbours don’t mind!”. I bet
they just loved it when he moved in.

Where were we? Oh yes, being outclassed in probably the first typically
average Premiership game we’ve had. Spurs caught us staring into their
headlights like bemused rabbits, Man Utd found us possessed by demons and
Sunderland were, let’s face it, crap. So this really was the first chance to
see what we could do on an average night against an average team. And we’ve
got a lot of work to do. No way were we outclassed generally, but as in all
the previous games, we’re getting a fraction of the chances in front of goal
we got last year, and we’ve just got to bury them. But for all our effort,
for all our smart passing, we didn’t make Flowers pull off a decent save.

Where’s the problem? Well, nothing’s changed, we’ve got four or five
strikers, no two of which seem to gel together. But we had that last season.
However, this year Magic and Matt just aren’t getting any time on the ball,
and even with Jermaine in to bolster the midfield, the strikers are getting
very little to work with. There’s a huge gap between the midfield, pushed
well back, and the strikers (and it’s a gap in creativity as well as space).
We only seem to bridge the gap when defenders (and I include Jamie C and
Fab) take the ball through themselves. With the midfield playing well back
into our own half, we should seriously be considering another line: 4-3-2-1
or 3-5-1-1 or even 5-3-1-1.

We said it’d take six games to see how we’re going to fare, and I still want
to wait that long, but at the moment, it could go either way.

Leicester match ratings (my Sunderland/Man Utd ratings in brackets)
Richard Wright 7 (6/7): confidence seemed to be growing back, and for much
of the match he had much more presence in the area than the last two games,
but he looked stupid for their second goal, even if it might have been
unlucky, it was hard to see. One world-class save, but we tend to take them
for granted. Perhaps we need Mike Salmon in for a game to make us appreciate
them more.

Fab 7 (8/9): pinned right back by Darren Eadie, he never got the chance to
open his legs and show us his class (copyright Ron Pickering RIP 1875). Made
a couple of lovely tackles though.

Titus 8 (9/8): made more than a couple of nice tackles, looked really classy
again. There’s a real chance we’re seeing the start of something truly great

Scales 6 (-/-): I had high hopes, the best defender in the club (John McG)
was *still* on the bench, and GB’s not daft, so Scales must be something
special. He wasn’t. He was very ordinary. I know John McG’s better on the
right side than in the middle, but if HH was going to be moved to the left,
couldn’t Titus have been put in the middle and John McG moved in? This “big
squad” thing’s OK, but GB’s got to get it right.

HH 8 (8/8): looked quite at home on the left and got more chances to go
tearing off down the wing, but he’s no winger and frankly there ought to be
others doing that. If they were, HH could stay at the back where he’s
needed. Coped well with the big guys (Akinbiyi and Collymore) but was less
sure with Eadie running at him.

Jamie C 8 (6/8):much better, can’t fault the effort, and put more crosses in
than in any of the first three games. Trouble is, we don’t seem to be able
to do anything with the type of crosses he puts in, and we’ve got to
maximise our resources. It would be a shame if Jamie C suffered from a
change of tactics, despite doing everything which was asked of him, but I
wonder whether he’s a square peg in a round hole at the moment.

Matt 6 (6/7): some uncharacteristically poor passes, and he’s not nearly as
comfortable with the tighter game in the Premiership which we might have
thought he’d be. Plays nice intricate stuff with the guys around him, but
well back into our half …and then what?

Magic 7 (7/8): coping a little better than Matt with being closed down so
much (in that he’s now working out how to make some more space) but the guys
ahead are having just as much trouble making similar space, so, like Matt,
he’s too often at a loss what to do.

Jermaine 7 (8/7): solid again, and unlucky to be taken off in an odd
tactical change for Scowie which didn’t work at all. Possibly the best of
the three midfielders so far this season, but none of them are exactly
setting the world on fire.

Stewart 7 (6/9): worked much harder than last week, but his control was poor
and he’s not nearly hungry enough to score; twice passed when he should have
shot, and when through with the keeper to beat, although he did well to get
to it and it was a spectacular headed clearance from the defender, truth is,
it wasn’t going in anyway.

Johnno 6 (8/8): still running tirelessly, but was found out by a more zonal
defensive system which copes with speed more easily. Hardly had a chance all
evening. Hardly got the ball, come to think of it.

(Sub) Scowcroft 6 (7/-): never got in to things. He’s only going to get one
or maybe two crosses to meet in any 45 minutes this year, he’s got to
connect. And we definitely lost a combative edge in midfield when Jermaine
went off.

Ref: 6
Crowd: 5
Burley’s tactics: 6
Eadie: Git

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