The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Manchester City 1

With the chance to put City down, nothing realistically to play for ourselves, and the North Stand’s End of an Era (TM), last night could have been one of the biggest end-of-term parties ever. But I thought it was all a little bit nervy and not even as much fun as the Coventry match. Maybe it was because the football was poor, maybe because City brought such a large and loud following …I’m not sure. Still, a great evening.
With two aerial ball winners up front, Town played a lot of the game six feet higher than usual. It was pretty effective, but Jermaininho was a bit quiet and Reuser was mentally off on holiday already, so much of the creative department was a disappointment. There seemed to be some disagreement about City’s commitment: some people around me seemed to think they were as up for it as you’d expect, but to me their body language said “sod this, I’ll be off somewhere else next season anyway, so who cares?” Even Danny Tiatto rarely threatened to and anyone’s career, for once.
I was disappointed by not being overcome on the night with the desire to see City go down, but once they’d scored I became quite desperate to see us finish them off after all. I don’t know why, but perhaps the same feeling came over the players.
All in all, great fun.
Some ratings:
Wright 5: couple of reasonable saves, but dropped every other shot or cross he had to deal with, and given that Carlo Nash didn’t have the same problem, we must assume the Fairy Liquid was on Richard’s gloves rather than the ball.
Makin 8: very solid and composed, and has a fantastic turn of speed on him which I’m not sure we’d really seen until now.
McGreal 6: quiet, and occasionally hesitant; got forward twice but finished dreadfully.
Bramble 8: ah, Comedy Titus. Should it be a 4 or an 11? I never know. But what the heck, he made no mistakes of any serious consequence, and provided loads of entertainment. As good value as ever.
Hreidarrsson 7: got around a bit but – as previously – never hit it off with Reuser ahead of him, which is an area we have to improve on.
Wright 6: quiet night for Jermaininho, some nice touches and two fair efforts on goal, but was in Jim’s shadow a bit.
Magilton 7: got forward a few times to good effect, and kept the crowd’s groans at his back passes to a minimum, but dome of his through balls were wildly ambitious and on several occasions succumbed to the “why play a short ball when there’s a 75-yarder which would put us in no better a position?” syndrome.
Holland 9: magnificent. He’s here, he’s there, he’s every*******where, he might be perhaps more of a new Brian Talbot than John Wark, but one thing’s for sure, Matty’s already one of the best midfielders the club has ever had. Last night he covered the whole pitch: he made saving tackles at the back, he was on the end of through balls whilst Armstrong and Scowcroft were still wondering what was going on, and his midfield presence was awesome. Whilst Marcus may correctly have got player of the season, Matt’s the player we’d most miss.
Reuser 5: …and in comparison, here’s a player who obviously thinks Matt’s going to do the Effort Thing for him. Reuser was a completely lazy sod last night, jogging around and not deciding to finally try to win a ball until about the 80th minute. Of course, his dead balls can be awesome, and I know that exceptional skill is often the difference between success and failure, but we can’t afford to have only 10.5 players.
Armstrong 7: his presence is growing, and having said the other week that he seems to do the Scowie thing as well as than the man himself now, I was interested to see them side by side. And it’s true, I think Alun does have the same presence – as well as a sharper touch. Next season will see whether he can make the final step up from the Naylor-Scowcroft-Johnson level to the Stewart one.
Scowcroft 6: great first half, and good to see Scowie back up with some forward responsibility, but never produced that little bit of magic a top class striker needs. Faded in the second half though.
Subs: Clapham 5: if Jamie’s disappointing showing of late is down to lack of match practice, we may have problems, because missing games now comes with the territory at this level – we’ll be rotating the squad a lot from now on, and probably only 5 or 6 of the players can expect to play every game. So we need players who can sit out a few then come back in as strong as ever. Jamie hasn’t really shown he can do that. I hope this isn’t the case.
Naylor 6: got around a bit
Ref 7: might have been a bit more liberal with yellow cards towards City at the end, and it certainly wasn’t Richard who needed to change his shirt – what WERE City wearing? I was a sort of space-suit/motorway maintenance worker hybrid. Perhaps they were off to clean the Space Shuttle afterwards.
North Stand 8: Blue Moon, you wasted your best song too soon. But “Down with the North Stand, you’re going down with the North Stand” made up for everything. As did hastily changing “Down in a minute, you’re going down in a minute” when the board got held up at the end to “Down in three minutes, you’re going down in three minutes”… Great stuff. And yes it was weird having Rob Chandler (accidentally?) leave his mike on whilst sitting in the crowd in the second half: twice someone started a song and it came over the tannoy and got everyone joining in in half the normal time.
Tiatto: thank you for not killing anyone, thug. We won’t miss you.
Royle: …on the other hand, we will miss the undisputed King of Comedy.

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