The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Norwich City 1

Well, the scoreline may have only been one goal better than Wednesday night, but the performance was in a totally different class. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the problem which has characterised the whole season – our inability to actually stick the ball in the net – we would have won this four-, five- or six-one, and we’d have deserved it too. Norwich were awful, and we played as well as we’ve done for ages. The combination resulted in 90 minutes of one-way traffic, with only a few rare scares.

What was the difference from four days ago? Certainly Pablo (and later Jonny Walters) provided a lot more movement and commitment up front, and Shefki (when he was on) provided far more effective physical presence. But it was the midfield which really upped its game, with Alan Quinn putting in easily his best performance in a Town shirt to date, Tommy Miller contributing much more, and Danny Haynes scaring the life out of a sluggish Norwich defence when he concentrated.

Holding on to a 2-1 lead for an hour in a local derby sounds like heart-stopping stuff, but in truth, we rarely looked like we were going to waste it. Twenty-five thousand of us went home very happy, and although the playoffs surely require three performances we’re unlikely to be able to string together, we were at least reminded that there’s potentially a good team here, if only the manager can coax this sort of commitment out of them on a regular basis.

Overall Town performance:
8/10 – non-stop commitment, marred only by profligate finishing

Opposition quality:
3/10 – only three or four of their team showed up

6/10 – just managed to keep the lid on things

Match excitement:
8/10 – good end-to-end stuff

Opposition supporters:
5/10 – plenty of them, but rather unentertaining this year

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

BYWATER 4 (2/2) had almost nothing to do again, but this time mucked up the one save he had to make, and his distribution was weak too

SIMPSON 5 (3/2) was the shakiest of the defenders; BRUCE 6 (3/3) had a comfortable time before limping off; DE VOS 7 (4/3) led by example, as he has so many times at home this season; and WRIGHT 8 (4/4) had a fine game at full-back but an even better one at centre-half when required, making one crucial and brilliant tackle

HAYNES 6 (2/4) again seemed to let his concentration wander too often, but when he went for it he sailed past the Norwich defence with ease – if he doesn’t get the time to think and panic, he’s unstoppable; MILLER 7 (4/3) worked really hard and kept things moving, and could have contributed more if he had a better understanding with Pablo; GARVAN 7 (3/4) showed much more presence and worked well with both the players either side of him; and QUINN 8 (4/4) ran his socks off, both as a wide man and often cutting into the centre effectively

COUNAGO 8 (4/4) was my man of the match, showing great commitment throughout, turning defenders time and time again, and often let down by not having anyone to lay the ball off to – a goal would have been well deserved, but most of the chances fell to others; KUQI was equally committed, but was also off the pace in comparison – despite this, Norwich had no idea how to deal with him whatsoever – an extraordinary presence which it must be hard to know how to harness

From the bench, WALTERS 6 (3/3) reminded us how much we’ve been missing him, with one or two great runs, although overall he did look a little like a player just coming back from a serious layoff; SITO did a reasonable job, and at least managed not to get provoked; and SUMULIKOSKI got a quick cameo.

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