The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Charlton 0

One of the best games I can remember for a long time, despite tricky
conditions. Two good footballing sides who play as teams, one under the
pressure of being expected to win, the other knowing they were good enough
to soak it up. In the end, with 30 goal attempts to 7, Town’s relentless
onslaught deserved to tell, but Charlton could have stolen at least a draw.
And credit to them, they were one of the better teams we’ve faced, and were
clean too.

Unlike most recent games, this one didn’t follow the pattern of Town looking
brilliant and getting a goal to show, then it all falling to bits after an
hour resulting in a backs-against-the-wall last 20 minutes. Indeed, it was
perhaps *because* we didn’t score that the game held together so well right
through the match for once. That and some really excellent support around
the hour mark which kept the team going.

The defence were sound, but it was the midfield which stole the show. All
four of them had magnificent games, and special credit to Jermaininho, who
seemed to be everywhere. And Matt and Jim, under a lot of pressure, really
got their double-act together, which is missing far too often. The only
let-down were the strikers, both of who kept showing awful control from
decent through balls, and who seemed to be playing in different matches most
of the time, so any knock-ons or flicks Scowie got were wasted. For Scowie
not to have a single decent attempt on goal was disappointing to say the
least, and it was an ordinary performance from Marcus.

But we should concentrate on the all-round glorious team performance. I
still can’t quite believe we’re going to keep this up. But who knows? I’m
just loving every minute of this.

Wright 7: only four on-target goal attempts to deal with, but commendably
sticky hands in some greasy conditions, and dealt well with a couple of
difficult kicks from strong back passes. But not the hardest test Richard
will get this year (let’s face it, he could be up against Italy this week)
Wilnis 6: steady, perhaps not used as much as he might have been, but never
really recovered from a clumsy (but not malicious) tackle from Stuart

McGreal 6: for the third home game in a row, another quiet afternoon for
John, few chances to get forward much but efficient at the back. On a couple
of occasions had to take on a breaking forward on the halfway line and
looked much less at home than back in the area

Venus 6: again, confident, played at left back (with HH in the middle)
during the first half, perhaps because GB was worried that we might need
more speed in the middle, but it didn’t really turn out to be so and the two
swapped back to the normal positions at half time. Plenty of the old long
and hopeful punts when in the wide position, but with Scowie on it was

HH 7: very composed in both positions, got forward well and tracked back
quickly (which was a relief). Was a fraction away from connecting twice from
corners, and eventually got to one only to see it loop over. Must be feeling
left out the way all the other defenders have been scoring this season.

Wright 9: utter class. Always, always there when the others wanted him,
continually sprinting round behind the player on the ball to offer the easy
fall-back option, usually at the heart of the neat triangles everyone loves,
and made some lovely breaks into space too. Only a couple of speculative
punts into Churchmans let him down.

Magilton 8: didn’t get much space against a competitive midfield, but
covered a lot more ground than usual and there were definite signs of better
gelling with Matt. Hardly put a pass wrong.

Holland 8: glorious performance, capped by a goal which was sheer
determination, almost as if he was fed up with all the mucking about and
decided someone had to take matters into their own hands.

Clapham 8: played very wide but got some telling balls in from the byline as
well as the usual cut-back-n-cross style. Missed a good chance at the end,
but so did most of the team, truth be told.

Stewart 6: found it awkward working with Scowie, going forward in straight
lines rather than the diagonal run-the-defence-around style he’s developed
with Psycho. Decided to play his own game, which wasted what Scowie had to
offer. Poor control led to the ultimate breakdown of many attacks, which was

Scowcroft 5: ploughed his own furrow and that’s not really his game. Won a
few good balls, but still seems a little lethargic.

Subs: Titus gave us the usual heartstopping moments, giving the ball away
far too carelessly (but always winning it back, astonishingly). Poor
delivery into the box but one fantastic run into the box sending Charlton
defenders flying on all sides. Great entertainment but a lot more work
needed before he’s the finished product! Psycho didn’t do much but was it
coincidence we got the goals after he came on? Perhaps it gave the others
just that fraction more room.

Referee: 6 – no controversies, but a couple of irritating little decisions
called wrongly, and couldn’t get a grip on the Scowie – fouling or fouled?
question which has perplexed so many other refs.

Crowd: 9 – pretty good, then just when the lads need it, in the period when
they traditionally go to sleep (the team that is), really lifted the
atmosphere. And a final bonus mark for the chorus of “Does your girlfriend
know you’re here?” from the North Stand to Jensen at the end.

Charlton: definitely one of the better teams we’ve faced so far. Although
the point they came for would have been an injustice, it’s always a shame to
see a decent side like that lose! Nice to see the two footballing sides who
have come up doing so well and the media darlings from Manchester looking so
second-rate in comparison.

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