The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Coventry 0

Easy win against a side who didn’t live up to their recent form. Hartson put himself about a bit but there was nothing else to worry us really; Hartson’s strike partner Bothroyd (who a relative in the Coventry entertainment scene tells me is the most arrogant person he’s ever had the (mis)fortune to meet) was exceptionally useless. In fact, although the game was far from the slaughter we saw against, say, Spurs, we might regret not sticking another couple away, as our goal difference is perilously close to that of Leeds.
It was a compulsive display from the midfield. Again, the difference is Jermaininho being on form: when he is, the effect is even greater than the extra he contributes, because the whole team start to play the pass and run game he’s so good at. Jim gets the chance to move around more, and Matt has the confidence to play his own game, which as we all know is sheer class.
Terrific to see Branagan step in at short notice, and play a fine game despite so little match practice. Contrast this to Jamie C, whose dreadful display we’d have to put down to that same lack of match practice.
My only real worry was that neither of our strikers had a shot on target (well, nothing I can recall of note anyway), and they’ve got to do better than that.
The ref was way too picky, and the result was that we gave away the most free-kicks of any game this season (Coventry did too), yet in no way was it dirty. Two inexplicable bookings (especially the Coventry one late on) too.
And was it the first time we’ve scored in the first half at Portman Road in 2001? About blinkin’ time, if so.
Some ratings:
Branagan 8: Called on to make 2 or 3 good stops, and did so in style. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Makin 6: Solid, if unspectacular. With Jermaininho regularly peeling off into the centre, had very little support to interact with.
McGreal 8: Another rock-solid display, from our most under-rated player.
Hreidarsson 6: Not quite as involved as usual, and didn’t link well with Reuser or Clapham. Give him the whole side George, and put the wide midfielder the other side with Makin.
Bramble 7: Super performance, with few mistakes. Didn’t get off on any decent trademark runs, but one fabulous crunching tackle.
Magilton 7: Definitely back, moving around well (even getting up front on occasions) and produced one or two very perceptive passes.
Holland 9: I thought this was one of Matty’s best displays of the season, highlighted by a moment when he was instrumental in winning the ball down in the corner of North/Cobbold, then sprinted the entire length of the pitch to get on the other end of the move. Fabulous.
Wright 8: Back to his best – if he can consistently play like this, we can go into Europe with confidence. Great goal (even if it might have been assisted by a deflection!). Remember Jermaininho scoring a long-range one like that at Crewe last year? Seems like another lifetime.
Armstrong 7: Now really playing the Scowie role, becoming dominant in the air against much bigger defenders. But he’s got the ability on the deck too. When he came, Alun said he was far from fit and it would take a while to show what he can do. Maybe it’s starting to come? If so, he could be a much better buy than many of the sceptics amongst us thought. I hope so. Needs to carve out a few more chances for himself though.
Stewart 7: A little better than the last few games, although playing far to much the creator role, coming out very wide at times. One or two lovely touches, but too many instances of poor communication with the midfield.
Reuser 6: Took his goal well (thank goodness Matty missed it first) but didn’t show quite the commitment which Burley obviously demanded of him if he’s to stay in the team. Needs to be careful; players who are going to just stand around until they’re called upon to do their thing, need to ensure their thing is something exceptional, perhaps more so than this.
Substitutes: Clapham 5: includes an extra mark for the 30-yarder which nearly made it, but otherwise, quite hopeless. A real shame. Naylor: good to see Bam Bam back, if only for 3microseconds
Ref 4: spoiled a fairly clean game by producing some free-kick stats the game didn’t warrant.
Crowd 8: great, great end-of-term atmosphere (the complete set of give-us-a-waves, including Sheepy and Mogga, who’d have thought we’d have been relaxed enough to do that with three games to go?) with some good Bellamy-baiting too. Just a warm-up for waving cheerio to the Massives in a fortnight’s time of course. It does seem early to have our last Saturday afternoon of the season though!
Bellamy: oh, definitely worth as much as we’ve paid for nine or ten of our team combined. Definitely.

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