The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Helsingborg IF 1 Ipswich Town 3

And just how good was that? I can’t remember a game where everyone had such
a confident feeling beforehand, and I’ve no idea why, but we just did. Nice
town, terrific people, and we simply turned it blue. You can’t help but feel
though that a team which can’t get more than 6,000 to 7,000 supporters out
for a UEFA Cup second round tie doesn’t really have the heart for the fight.
But during the day and at the game itself, the thousands of us were met with
nothing but friendship from the locals, with spontaneous outbursts of “Stand
up, if you hate Norwich” from the Swedes all round the town, met with “We
hate Malmo and we hate Malmo” from the Blue Army to much local merriment and
appreciation.

Virtually the entire Board were wandering around the shopping streets in the
afternoon, including Mr and Mrs Sheepy, who posed for photos with the fans.
Harry’s Bar was packed with blue shirts as early as 1pm, and when we went
back for a second helping at 5pm it was full, so we hit the Bishops Arms,
another heaving blue joint. But it could have been any of a number of pubs
and bars, the atmosphere was fantastic.

As for the match, well, it was another of the Jeckyll and Hyde performances
we see so often, and frustratingly, it’s almost impossible to explain what
caused the turnaround other than something Burley must have said at
half-time. We started with a 5-3-2 (and were rubbish), switched to 4-4-2
(and were still rubbish), swapped Wilnis for Makin (and were still rubbish)
and then for no discernible reason, 15 minutes later suddenly started to
play football. Helsingborg visibly cracked under the pressure, and by the
time the second went in, they’d gone to pieces and it was all over.

Has it really been nothing to do with tactics and everything to do with
motivation and attitude? I find it hard to believe, but the evidence
certainly seemed that way last night. It’s the only way I can explain the
turnaround. Whatever, it was a proud night for the club and the supporters,
who were tremendous representatives for the game and the country, and you
really feel that the club as a whole deserves the big trip to Milan in the
next round. Marvellous.

Some ratings:

SERENI (6) didn’t have his busiest night ever and has a lot to thank the
scorers for after his first real howler for the club. Had to make one good
save, but will be haunted by the goal for a while I reckon!

WILNIS (5) was, I thought, the unfortunate casualty of Burley having to
reorganise on the fly to meet a dedicated Helsingborg tactic of attacking
the inside left channel. He’d done little wrong, and to be fair,
strengthening the midfield instead to cut off the moves at source didn’t
really work anyway. BRAMBLE (8) was unquestionably man of the match for me –
I had no idea how much we’d missed him, and how low our expectations of the
central defence had become in his absence. He was magnificent, and even his
distribution was impressive at times. Acted like captain really, and surely
will be eventually. HREIDARSSON (8) started in the centre of five, but went
to left back when we changed to four at the back. Showed total commitment
throughout, even when his left-side partner Jamie was playing like a plonker
and he had to cover for that too. Great runs forward, and a couple of great
tackles too. VENUS (7) seemed much more composed alongside Bramble and
looked really good. And with dead-ball delivery like that, Reuser is going
to have to find something new to offer the team if he’s to get his place
back soon. CLAPHAM (4) was atrocious in the first half, absolutely
atrocious. Perked up in the second, but with the space Helsingborg started
to give us that wasn’t surprising, and since our main tactic in the second
half was just to run everything down that side (Makin could have gone off
for a fag and nobody would have noticed), Jamie found himself with Hermann,
Marcus, Bam-Bam, Matt and Jim around him all the time. But for the first 45
minutes he couldn’t control the ball, couldn’t cross, showed no anticipation
and had no relationship with Hermann. Very worrying, because we’re really
light on the left at the moment, getting by through numbers alone.

PERALTA (7) was really up for it, and might have had a goal too, which he’d
have deserved. Drifted in and out of the game slightly, and played a little
wider than some of us would have liked, but he’s really settling in – and
gets a trip to Milan now! MAGILTON (7) was one of the players whose
performance improved along with the side (or was it the other way around?
Probably) and it was terrific to see him coming forward, passing forward,
and generally being positive for the first time in months. HOLLAND (6) was
anonymous for the first half, but like Jim, had more of an influence as the
game wore on.

STEWART (7) put in a world-class performance in the second half, ghosting in
for the first in that inimitable way, cheekily snatching the second, and
making wonderful space. And rarely was he back to the goal in the centre
circle making a hash of things! The man is coming back! NAYLOR (7) showed
why we need to keep him and play him, IMHO. Caused far more trouble than
Armstrong does, and although his finishing is still poor in comparison, that
doesn’t matter if Stewie’s firing on all cylinders and Bam-Bam can create
the openings. If only the header had gone in, what a confidence booster.

Subs: MAKIN (6) had very little to do as we piled everything down the other
side. BENT (6) looked useful and must be a great prospect. What a wonderful
place and time to come on: a big match like that with the side running
rampant and having refound its confidence a few minutes before. MILLER
didn’t really see any action.

The LINESMAN in front of the big stand was shocking.

The SUPPORTERS were excellent, despite an open stand and cold night air
dissipating all the noise. Nothing was going to get in the way of a good
time – the performance was just a huge, huge bonus.

The HELSINGBORG GOALIE had a farewell to remember – he certainly didn’t
disgrace himself.

And IPSWICH TOWN FC had a day to remember.

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