The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Coventry 1

A better performance in my opinion that some people seemed to think in the
post-match chat. Without Jim as our holding player in midfield, Burley stuck
to the conventional 4-4-2 (Clapham on the left in midfield) but obviously
told the boys to play it through to the front line much more quickly than
usual. The result was some slick play which was a blur when it worked but
fizzled out disappointingly when it didn’t. Johnson and Scowcroft up front
were then delegated to hold it up and play through the likes of Jermaininho
and (particularly) Matt on the overlap. It worked reasonably well.

In the second half, more changes and a weird switch to 4-3-3 with HH and
Titus in the middle and John Scales pushed into central midfield. Now, three
midfielders would seem to be a bit flaky for a passing team at the best of
times, but when one is a centre half and none are Jim or Matt, expect the
centre of the park to be our weakest area. It was. I’d much rather have seen
5-3-2 or 4-4-2 with Scowie brought back into midfield, where he was great
last season. Still, GB gets few chances to experiment, so perhaps it was
worth a try.

As the match wore on, I got more and more irritated with Coventry, who
weren’t dirty but were just a bunch of clumsy, undisciplined oafs. By the
end, I really, really wanted to see them lose, which was all a bit
irrational. But the North Stand’s constant barracking of the useless Bell*my
and the brilliant “One Ginger Whinger” chants in the second half seemed to
make it all worthwhile.

Some ratings:

Branagan 8 – one mistake, but a handful of good stops relieved a worry which
has been in the back of my mind for a long time: have we got any decent
goalkeeping cover? Yes, we have. In fact, I now wouldn’t be any more
concerned about Richard missing a match than I would any other first-team

Wilnis 5 – some Jeckyll and Hyde stuff, in the form of some sublime skill to
beat players coming forward, but a couple of defensive howlers, particularly
being totally fooled by a cleverer player with one thing on his mind:
getting a penalty.

Bramble 6 – in a similar vein, we saw both sides of Titus: why he’s going to
be so good in the future, and why GB doesn’t think he can play him every
week. The goal showed sharpness any of the strikers could learn from. The
runs forward were extraordinary. The volleyed clearances were often
astonishing. And yet… three awfully missed tackles were always going to
result in a booking, and there were a couple of other moments of naivety
too, eagerly seized on by Norwich TV.

Scales 5 – not much to do, in all honesty, but disappointing in the first
half to see him lose concentration on the play itself, particularly when
Clapham passed to/ran into him in front of the area and he’d turned away to
remonstrate with someone else, despite there still being an imminent danger.
Clearly a fish out of water in midfield in the second half.

HH 7 – again, not really stretched, one good run forward but still the odd
misplaced pass.

Reuser 6 – when he did something, it was good, and that certainly includes
many of his dead balls, but didn’t really get involved enough. Don’t know
why he was taken off at half time.

Holland 8 – one of those brilliantly perceptive performances (albeit only
for 45 minutes!) where Matt seemed to read the game so much better than
anyone else around him. Hope the injury wasn’t serious (it didn’t look it,
but they often don’t!).

Wright 8 – quietly excellent again from Jermaininho. Watch how he
continually plays a pass then immediately moves into a backup position to
take it back if the forward move becomes a dead end. Compare to Reuser’s
technique of passing then standing still while he watches to see how his
brilliance pays off.

Clapham 7 – plenty of effort from Jamie, but heavily marked out of the game
by 2 or often 3 Coventry players. Is his reputation preceding him now?

Scowcroft 5 – reminiscent of a telegraph pole at times. Controlled the ball
in less than about 10 feet on only a couple of occasions, and his turning
circle, whilst not in the Ian Marshall “supertanker” class, means he’s
almost never going to beat anyone. And yet, he’s doing something right,
because we were making the chances, and Scowie certainly played a role. It
baffles me. But that’s why I’m not a manager.

Johnson 6 – really, really tried hard. And really, really isn’t getting
anywhere. The run for the goal was great, but let’s face it, when you stick
it through a keeper’s legs accidentally, that’s lucky. The missed header was
*awful*. I feel so sorry for Johnno at the moment, it just isn’t happening.


Croft 6 – really didn’t do much of note. Nothing else to say really.

Stewart 8 – sheer class. Just when we were getting used to Scowie/Johnno
again, and forgetting what Premiership-class front men can do, on comes
Marcus with his Holland-esque reading of the game, his decent close control
and his wonderful ability to find space anywhere. The pass to Johnno for the
goal was glorious.

Ref: disappointing
Linesman in front of Cobbold in second half: barking mad.
Bellamy: Git
Strachan: Whinging Git.
Crowd: 7 – not on top form, but made me laugh.

Shame Man Utd went out, if we’d have met them in the final we (presumably)
could have qualified for Europe even if we’d lost, so now we’re three wins
from the European Tour, rather than just two. But I guess we’re now the
favourites. When was the last time *that* happened?

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