The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Sheffield Utd 1

My goodness, it was cold tonight. Still, with over twenty thousand in the ground and very mediocre opponents, Town really ought to have been able to have taken my mind off my freezing extremities. They didn’t. Not even remotely. Jim said afterwards: “Overall it wasn’t a game for the purists.” I assume by ‘purists’ he means anyone who wants to see even a smattering of half-decent football. We saw two nice crosses and finishing headers, and one great shot from distance which hit the woodwork. And that, I’m afraid, was it.

I had been looking forward to eventually seeing a Sumulikoski/Norris central midfield pairing, but when it came, it was a big disappointment. There was very little imposing presence in our midfield, and Sheffield seemed to pick up every loose ball. But the real problem was that we’d just pass it around going nowhere until a pass went astray and we gave it away. There was nothing going on up front to aim for – I could have been writing this (and frequently did) through much of the Royle era. What we saw tonight was the worst possible outcome from the club’s odd January spending spree, which brought in a bunch of players in positions which didn’t really need addressing, and failed to get anyone where they were really needed. The result was that we’re still lacking up front and on the left of midfield, whilst in central midfield we have so many players to choose from, nobody’s getting a chance to get settled.

One to forget.

Overall Town performance:
4/10 – static up front, unimposing in midfield and disappointing all round.

Opposition quality:
4/10 – ordinary, and very beatable.

6/10 – reasonable.

Match excitement:
2/10 – dull, dull, dull, dull, dull.

Opposition supporters:
5/10 – for anyone to have come down on a cold March night was commendable, but they weren’t that noisy or entertaining.

Player ratings as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…

BYWATER 5 (3/2) is starting to worry me a little; he’s OK, but nothing more. His presence in the area is not that great, and his distribution looks like it could be the worst of any of the last four or five keepers we’ve had. In addition, few of our recent opponents have actually tested him much.

WRIGHT 6 (3/3) did his usual reliable job; NAYLOR 6 (3/3) had a fairly easy time, although he played a few too many poor passes out of defence; DE VOS 7 (4/3) was the only player who really looked like he’d rather have been out on the pitch than at home in the warm; but HARDING 4 (2/2) had a poor game, giving away far too much.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) was uncharacteristically uninvolved – so much for the clamour to see him back on the right; NORRIS 6 (4/2) certainly seemed to put the mileage in, but had very little impact on the game; SUMULIKOSKI 5 (3/2) started with some incisive passing, but drifted out of the match; and HAYNES 5 (2/3) also looked bright for the first few minutes, but after that wasn’t presenting nearly enough of an option.

LEE 4 (2/2) did at least get on the end of one of the precious few decent crosses all night, but otherwise looked well under par; and COUNAGO 3 (2/1) contributed absolutely nothing of interest all night, and should clearly have been subbed off.

As for the subs, GARVAN didn’t really change things much in central midfield – we were still off the pace – and QUINN was surprisingly uninvolved; Haynes will count himself unlucky to have been subbed, when a more sensible move would surely have been to have taken the hapless Pablo off, put Walters in the middle and stick Danny over on the right.

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