The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 0 PSV Eindhoven 2

Disappointing game. Extreme lack of atmosphere in the ground for 15,000 people even allowing for the fact it was a pre-season friendly. I hope it wasn’t the “open end” of the ground which did it, as we’ll have to put up with that for a while.
George obviously wanted to put out pretty much a first-choice side and get them to play competitively, but the response from the players was disappointing. In the first half, only the defence looked reasonably assured. But PSV never really did more than coasted.
As the second half wore on, Town heads really started to drop (which if nothing else indicated the game meant something to them). PSV scored two good goals. Would a taller keeper than Branagan (like Wright) have got the second (marvellous) chip/shot? Who knows.
George will be disappointed with the attitude and incoherency of the side, the fact that a couple of key players were off the pace, and that a couple of others given a real opportunity didn’t shine at all.
I didn’t expect us to win, but I expected a much better team performance. Disappointing display, disappointing match in general.
Player ratings and performances:
8 Bramble
7 Hreidarsson
6 Branagan, Wright, Armstrong
5 Makin, McGreal, Reuser, Holland, Stewart
4 Clapham

BRANAGAN didn’t look bad. After five or six years with a keeper who’d never leave his area, it was heart-stopping (but great) to see one who does! In fact, he stopped two cast-iron opportunities by getting out. He needs to react and decide very quickly though, because he’s not that fast.
MAKIN was caught out a few times in the first half, and was probably the weakest link in a fairly solid looking defence for 45 minutes. Towards the end as we fell behind he really lost his cool though, screaming his head off at team-mates and making some wild challenges. Worrying. BRAMBLE looked the one player who’s moved on a bit. He’s put some weight on in the right places and whilst not yet the Sol Campbell build, is a lot more imposing. Some great tackling. McGREAL had a fine first half as the quiet bass player to Titus’s flamboyant lead guitar, but made a couple of serious errors in the second half and looked very uncertain. HREIDARSSON got forward well and should be generally happy with his performance.
HOLLAND never really got into things, but had a lot to do with the two wide midfielders contributing very little. WRIGHT played a similar role, and possibly slightly better, but the two of them never really stamped much authority on the midfield. REUSER was as much a luxury player as ever; we need his dead ball skills but he’s really got to do much, much more. CLAPHAM was anonymous and the biggest disappointment of all, although goodness knows what he was doing on the right for most of the game.
ARMSTRONG played his usual solid but unspectacular game. I don’t think he’s ever going to get out of the Naylor/Scowcroft school of strikers though: hard-working but without the flair to do something special to a match. STEWART on the other hand can do just that, but certainly didn’t in this game. In fact, he looked just like he did when he first joined us and at the start of last season, almost as if he’d rather be somewhere else. For ten minutes he really led the line, as a centre forward, and it looked really impressive. But he was left more and more off the pace as the game wore on.
NAYLOR came on as an interchangeable sub for Armstrong, and true to form, nothing changed. DARREN BENT replaced Clapham, and really covered some ground. All credit to him, in the predictable words of George, for not cracking up after immediately making a howler of a back pass which forced Branagan to make an illegal save: his head didn’t drop at all, and he really tried hard for the rest of the game. And looked quite promising.

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