The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Swansea City 2

Fourteen games, and fourteen different midfield starting lineups: and this one may be just about as bad as any we’ve suffered, as Jim flounders around searching for some semblance of solidity. At times you felt there might be a bunch of decent players in there struggling to work out what they were supposed to be doing, but it was fleeting. The fact is, we’ve played worse than this over the past few years, but it’s the sheer lack of progress which everyone is finding so dispiriting.

The midfield was just a mess. Sure, Campo has presence, but (apart from the great long ball for the first goal) he’s not gelling with anyone. We’ve all felt there must be something better than Miller and Garvan, but they lit the place up when they came on, which shows what a mess it had been. The nervousness at the back was partially self-generated, but also caused by what appeared to be a total lack of a game plan ahead of them.

The crumbs of comfort? We created a few chances at the start with some smart interplay, and thanks to the substitutions we had the heart to come back into a game in which – after an hour – we were heading for a deserved beating. But that’s about it. I can’t see any progress in the midfield merry-go-round; the defence is starting to look shaky, as Bam-Bam’s indian summer start to the season comes to its inevitable end; and the attitude of the strikers looks all wrong to me. If it was Joe Royle in charge, we’d be far less forgiving, but perhaps the very long tether which Jim is on, as far as the fans are concerned, is also our biggest problem, because someone needs to sort this out, and if it’s drastic decisions which need to be made, so be it. This is a squad which is massively underperforming.

Overall Town performance:
3/10 – at times, really bleak …and in the main, clueless

Opposition quality:
6/10 – like Barnsley, played some nice passing football and again, seemed just short of a finisher – another team we could learn a lot from

4/10 – brought out the yellow card too early and then felt obliged to carry on waving it

Match excitement:
4/10 – Sure, Town got us going for a couple of short periods, but at the start of the second half some of us were almost willing Swansea to get the ball so we could see some football. If there were 20,000 there as stated, I’m Mick Mills, and things were so dispiriting that you could hear more noise from the schoolkids behind us than from the rest of the ground

Opposition supporters:
6/10 – not as advertised, fortunately

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

WRIGHT 4 (2/2) had another poor game, patting away far too many shots and displaying some of the worst distribution we’ve seen from a Town keeper for years. At the moment, I think I’m less confident in his ability than almost any keeper I can think of since Neil Gregory

VOLZ 6 (3/3) had a fairly unremarkable afternoon, which in context isn’t that bad; NAYLOR 5 (3/2) looked uncharacteristically panic-stricken at times, and was clueless coming forwards when faced with the unpredictable mess in front of him combined with apparent instructions not to hit long balls; McCAULEY 5 (3/2) struggles on manfully on the left-hand side, but was again too easily wrong-footed; and WRIGHT 5 (3/2) was quiet and proved to be part of a successfully-targeted weak spot in our defence at the start of the second half.

WALTERS 4 (2/2) really didn’t look happy throughout the first half, and disappointed when brought into a central striking role later on; CAMPO 5 (2/2) flattered to deceive with the presence he undoubtedly has, because his passing was generally wayward, his positioning poor, and his stamina seemingly unacceptable, as he appeared to start fading well before half-time; NORRIS 6 (3/3) was in and out of the game, and symptomatic of the unclear roles of the midfielders, but he did seem up for the fight a bit; and QUINN 5 (3/2) worked hard as usual, but left little in the way of memorable contributions.

COUNAGO 4 (1/3) was Pablo at his most irritating – you could see from the very start that he was going to have one of his “the-world’s-against-me” afternoons, with the body language all wrong and his recent half-decent team contributions well and truly out of the window – an extra mark for the goals, of course, but otherwise dreadful; and STEAD 5 (2/3) looked lightweight and out of ideas after the first few minutes.

From the bench, GARVAN and MILLER were nothing less than open heart surgery on the central midfield, and had the effect Jim must have hoped for, galvanising the team back from cluelessness. Owen’s contribution was the more obvious, but Tommy offered the unglamorous cover and loose-ball collection which had been so sorely missing. LISBIE was poor again though.

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