The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Cardiff City 2

Well, it would appear that the few minutes after half-time on Wednesday night were the exception, not the sign that things were looking up. Three matches in seven days, that’s well over 270 minutes of football, and I can’t say we’ve played well for more than about 20 of them. This can’t be allowed to continue, surely: whatever people say about the individual players, they’re good enough that this squad should be doing much, much better. When they come up against a half-decent team like Cardiff who have a game plan and look like a team, they’re getting shown up on almost every occasion.

There were ominous signs in the first five seconds of the game, when we almost gave the ball away from the kick-off, with the players concerned not seeming to know what they were supposed to do, and not expecting the opposition to push forward and try to get the ball. That summed up the things to come in a nutshell.

To be fair, we weren’t that bad in the first half, or indeed in the second half. We’ve played worse, even this season. But we just didn’t seem to have a presence in midfield, a cutting edge up front, or any real plan to counteract Cardiff playing so high up the pitch other than some hopeful punts for Pablo or the far-too-lightweight Stead. At the back we made too many silly errors, and paid the price. I don’t think Jim deserves some of the moronic abuse he’s getting from the pond life, but it is all a bit dispiriting.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – Players drifting in and out of the game, a lack of confidence and too many errors. Not good.

Opposition quality:
6/10 – They seemed to know what they were doing, although it’s hard to warm to any team with Jay Bothroyd in it

Referee:
3/10 – Incredibly officious: didn’t seem to want to see any players touching each other

Match excitement:
3/10 – Cold, wet, generally dull and very, very frustrating

Opposition supporters:
6/10 – Decent turnout, but nothing much to say

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

WRIGHT 7 (3/4) gave another confident performance, without being worked that hard, and can’t really be faulted for the goals.

VOLZ 5 (2/3) was again OK but didn’t seem to make any real contribution. NAYLOR 4 (3/1) had just about the worst afternoon I can ever remember him having for us in defence, making one mistake after another. It was painful to watch. McAULEY 6 (3/3) was much better and is really settling in now; all he needs is a decent partner who can allow him to play on the right and he may then be able to get stuck in to sorting this mess out. THATCHER 6 (3/3) was having possibly his best game for us, and when he became one of our few players to put his foot in during the first half, he won the ball and we went on to score. Then there was the unlucky booking, underlining the ref’s petty display, and finally a red after he’d been turned by one of their players and stuck out a foot. So I have to deduct a point for that. Disappointing.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) was relatively anonymous once again, and I don’t care how good he was last year or how much he’s supposed to be worth, I don’t see why he has to be the first name on the teamsheet at the moment. NORRIS 6 (3/3) didn’t have Garvan’s presence, but worked hard and was really starting to come into the game in the middle part; however, he faded badly once things had to be reorganised when we were down to ten men. SHUMULIKOSKI 5 (3/2) put the effort in as usual, but the combination of him and Little Norrit just isn’t giving us control of the midfield. AMBROSE 5 (2/3) started off brightly but faded into obscurity and would have been a much more obvious substitution than the luckless Pablo.

STEAD 5 (2/3) clearly doesn’t have what it takes, and although he managed to get himself into the right place to take his goal well, he just doesn’t have the strength or the aerial ability to play the role we need him to play. COUNAGO 6 (3/3) once again worked hard enough, but didn’t get the breaks and was dragged around too much.

From the bench, GARVAN came on for Shumi to try to get things moving up front, and he was having an impact. But then came the red card and a massive reorganisation, which saw BALKESTEIN and HAYNES brought on. As a full-back, Pim looked stretched against a lively Routledge, and I worry what he’d be like in the middle, but I really think he needs to get a go there next week. Danny can’t be faulted for his effort, and although he didn’t make anything happen, I wish the rest of the team had put in half as much running.

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