The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Hull City 0

Odd to leave the ground after a victory feeling rather deflated, while listening to the losers having a bit of a party. But good luck to Hull: in a season where their playoff opponents will be a horrible team (Watford), a “how on earth did they get there?” team (Palace) and a team with a disgraceful negative goal difference (Bristol), they’re by far the best of an undeserving bunch. Mind you, Palace in the Premiership would make Derby seem like world-beaters, and might provide hours of hilarity for the rest of the country.

As for Town, well, it was a fine performance which only underlined what an awfully wasted opportunity this season has been. However, it’s no good turning over all the top teams at Portman Road (or at least the ones who play football) if you’re going to surrender so abjectly away to most of the sides down the bottom (Colchester, Leicester, Coventry, etc). A deflated feeling was probably all we deserved from the season in the end.

Overall Town performance:
7/10 – constant commitment from the defence and the midfield

Opposition quality:
6/10 – they look pretty good, and ought to do well in the playoffs

5/10 – didn’t do us any favours on the big decisions

Match excitement:
8/10 – didn’t really let up, although a big let-down at the end

Opposition supporters:
9/10 – lots of them, exuberant, noisy and fun too

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

BYWATER 6 (3/3) wasn’t given a difficult afternoon, but still seems not to want to work with the defence in front of him

SIMPSON 7 (4/3) wasn’t given a lot of help but looked as good as in any game for us yet; BRUCE 8 (4/4) was once again right in the thick of things; DE VOS 6 (3/3) made a few errors and was a little subdued in what he alone knew would be his final game for us; and WRIGHT 7 (3/4) looked once more like the best full-back we’ve had here for quite a few years.

WALTERS 6 (3/3) was uncharacteristically quiet for large parts of the game, although less so when brought into the middle; MILLER 8 (4/4) had another hard-working and effective match; GARVAN 7 (3/4) also had a good one, helping to run things commandingly; and QUINN 7 (4/3) also did well, getting into more goalscoring positions than Walters the other side for once.

COUNAGO 4 (2/2) was back to his irritating worst, failing to get on the same wavelength as anyone alongside or behind him, constantly leaving his team-mates in two minds as to what he was going to do next; KUQI 4 (2/2) was equally disappointing, not looking anything like the presence he did in his cameo against Norwich. They had a few decent efforts individually, but this is not the future.

From the bench, HAYNES gave us some different options, although he uncharacteristically hung back quite a lot for a while; LEE got off to a dream start, and looked more of a reliable target than Shefki had; and SUMULIKOSKI got a few minutes to help calm things down.

I wonder how many of the squad today will still be around next time we’re at Portman Road? Best wishes to Jason De Vos, who’s had a committed few years at the club and who has earned a lot of respect. It’s sad we didn’t get to see Fab play again, and disappointing that Monica just vanished this year after such a good season. Simpson will be off (I’m not sure why he ever came), and it certainly won’t bother me if we don’t see Bywater again. I doubt Shefki’s return was anything other than an odd aberration, and I don’t think Lee features heavily in Jim’s thinking. At least we probably only have a couple of players (Garvan and Haynes) who might be transfer targets in the summer, and I suspect both of those have flaws in their game which are too great for the Premiership. But we’ll be surprised at what happens in the close season. We always are.

Right, I’m off to see Ebbsfleet at Wembley next week, then it’s going to be a long, long three or four months without live footy. I hope the European Championships will fill the void adequately!

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