The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Cardiff City 1

As a home season ticket holder who hasn’t been able to obtain the domestic pass-outs this season to be able to go to away games, I know I don’t fully appreciate just how bad it’s been for the away diehards this season. But I think I got a flavour of it in this match. To say we were rubbish was an understatement. The away regulars will nod sagely and say “see, we told you how bad it could get”, and I can only offer my respect for their dedication.

Cardiff hardly broke sweat watching us hoof it around aimlessly or run into trouble. They just drew us into playing a long-ball disaster which they had little difficulty in coping with, and until the late introduction of Sumulikoski, we hardly attempted to play any sort of a passing game. The few players who tried to pass it (Garvan and, er …no, just Garvan) rarely found a blue shirt. After the opposition failed to present us with a goal in the first ten minutes, the confidence, cohesion and – dammit – the commitment just drained away. Booed off at half time? You bet they were. Applauded off at full time, as Jim claimed? You bet they weren’t.

What was wrong? Continual tinkering with the formation and tactics every ten minutes was a problem, as usual (Haynes played left centre, right wing, right centre and then left centre again, and that was just in the first 40 minutes). But Jim shouldn’t carry all the blame, unless there’s something wrong in the dressing room. At least six or seven of the outfield players looked like they’d be quite happy to be in the Championship again next season, thanks, and an early May holiday would be preferable to being beaten up by Stoke or Watford in the playoffs. With a couple of individual exceptions, there was simply not enough passion until the last five or ten minutes. Playoffs? On this performance, I’d say it’s more likely we’ll see four defeats now to end the season, and – incredibly – a bottom-half finish.

Overall Town performance:
2/10 – worst home display of the season, easily

Opposition quality:
4/10 – came to get a comfortable draw, and got it

4/10 – far too many quite odd decisions

Match excitement:
3/10 – well, the performance got us all up out of our seats shouting, I suppose

Opposition supporters:
3/10 – only a handful, unsurprisingly

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

BYWATER 6 (3/3) was barely tested, and I guess can only be commended for keeping his concentration.

SIMPSON 5 (3/2) again seemed to be a pointless signing – he was OK, he’ll get his pay cheque, and he’ll be off home in a few weeks time – so what?; BRUCE 8 (5/3) was as good as any of the shambles in the first half, but in the second half, he just went mad, playing as if his career depended on it, covering acres of ground in front of us and simply embarrassing his team-mates with his effort (he still can’t play long balls though); DE VOS 5 (3/2) made several uncharacteristic mistakes, but did at least seem to be trying; and SITO 4 (2/2) was both quiet and error-prone.

QUINN 4 (2/2) got a rare start on the right, where he looks like he should be playing, but just continually ran into trouble – he was later moved to the centre and then to the left, and nothing improved; MILLER 4 (2/2) was OK at the start, at least attempting to move things on, but just vanished as the game went on; GARVAN 6 (3/3) didn’t have his best game, misplacing too many passes, although he seemed to have a bit of heart towards the end; and ROBERTS 4 (2/2), although producing a couple of nice touches, looked slow and out of his depth.

LEE 3 (2/1) had a terrible night – nothing went right, but I can’t honestly say he deserved it to – off the pace, off target and just off form; and HAYNES 5 (2/3) was his usual infuriating self, occasionally brilliant, but in a world of his own for the majority of the match.

Coming off the bench, RHODES 7 (3/4) was a breath of fresh air, and whilst he seemed forgivably slightly overawed, he had an awareness to score which Lee has never looked like showing all season; WRIGHT came on and played as solidly as we know he always will, making his omission seem all the more unnecessary; and whilst SUMULIKOSKI was never going to directly provide the attacking impetus we needed at the end, he started to make things move and could probably claim to be the inspiration for the few minutes’ glimpse of the real Ipswich Town we finally saw.

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