The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0

I should have written this report as soon as I got home, because it was a game which will live short in the memory, and one which I’ve just about forgotten already.

Plymouth rode their luck, but we were our own worst enemy. Over two dozen attempts on goal, sure, but only one or two required heroics from their keeper or defenders, and the rest of our opportunities were just wasted. So it was that most unusual of games: one which we dominated but didn’t really deserve to win. Alan Quinn was the latest in the series of players to be thrown into the wide left role which nobody seems to be cut out for (or want). Several players had a lot to prove, including the place-threatened Miller and Garvan. All worked quite hard, without setting the place on fire. However, I should put in a word for the central midfielders, who are getting a bit of stick in a few places. We created a lot of chances in this game, and let’s face it, the strikers were poor and the wing play nonexistent. The source of all the happenings up front was a central midfield dominance. Ungainly it may have been at times, but it underpinned the entire performance. Miller might be playing a quiet role, and Garvan’s awkward control might distract from his genuine quality, but these two deserve more credit. So it’s still all a bit of a muddle, with no real obvious answers. If Jim can straighten it all out (with or without the involvement of new signings) in the next two or three games, then I still think we’re in with a shout at the top.

Now, you might be thinking “fair enough assessment Chris, but I think you made a mistake there, it wasn’t Alan Quinn who was “thrown into the wide left role which nobody seems to be cut out for (or want)”, it was David Norris, wasn’t it?” And you’d be correct. That’s because the paragraph above is taken word-for-word from my report of a home match which took place one year ago, almost to the day: Ipswich Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0. And if that doesn’t prove Town have come almost nowhere in 12 months, despite all the money, then I don’t know what does. Because Plymouth certainly haven’t moved on in that period – they’ve just sold their two best players, one of them to, er Ipswich.

I’m really sorry if you want some more devastating insight, I haven’t got anything else to say. Except that one of the top scorers in the lower leagues is a certain Billy Clarke, and the only thing which got everyone talking in the stands all afternoon was the news that Jordan Rhodes had thumped in a 29-minute hat-trick. I’d much rather have been watching them.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – yeah, we dominated, Plymouth had 8 men behind the ball at all times and didn’t want anything other than the nil-nil, but there was just no inspiration

Opposition quality:
5/10 – dull, dull, dull, but they did what they came to do

6/10 – not the mad card-waver we were warned about, and only seriously wound us all up a couple of times, which is quite good really

Match excitement:
3/10 – simply nothing to talk about

Opposition supporters:
5/10 – it was cold, it’s a long way to come, and we shouldn’t knock the fact they were there, but that was about it

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

WRIGHT 6 (3/3) should have brought a book to read

BRUCE 5 (2/3) wasn’t stretched at all, but didn’t make the most of the opportunity to come forward; McAULEY 6 (3/3) and BALKESTEIN 6 (3/3) were quite competent but didn’t exactly have to work hard; WRIGHT 6 (3/3) pressed on quite well.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) was ininspiring – it’s so rare when he gets the ball nowadays that you think anything’s going to happen; MILLER 5 (3/2) scurried around, and got into forward positions a few times, but didn’t create much; GARVAN 6 (4/2) was the most imposing player on the park again, but almost nothing came off for him all afternoon, and he ended up playing way too deep; and NORRIS 4 (2/2) just summed up all that was wrong with the team’s performance, just looking generally unenthusiastic, unremarkable, and cold.

COUNAGO 5 (3/2) was clearly completely in the pocket of the Plymouth defence and wouldn’t have got a decent opportunity if we’d still been playing now, so why he wasn’t subbed off I just do not know; and STEAD 5 (3/2) as usual looked a more intelligent player than his ability allows him to be – when he hit the woodwork you felt it was going to be the highlight of his (and the team’s) afternoon, rather than a “score in a minute” moment.

From the bench, LISBIE looked enthusiastic and HAYNES provided a few brief moments of hope which never amounted to much.

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