The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Burnley 1

The current poor home league run now stands at just one win in eight, but Burnley were one of the best sides to have visited Portman Road this season, and after the Southampton debacle, this was certainly an improvement for the home supporters (the away fans presumably watch a completely different team). Town lined up in a curious 4-3-1-2 formation to allow Dos Santos to play in a free role just behind the front two, a position which I suspect Counago ought to have been tried in a long time ago, but never has been. This left Tommy Miller almost alone in central midfield against three Burnley players, and the result was that time and time again, coming out of defence, the ball was played long, high and hopefully towards two strikers whose aerial ability and close control leaves something to be desired.

But the freedom this gave Dos Santos did enable him to show on a number of occasions that he was a class above anyone else on the pitch, with a lightning turn of pace on the ball. Sadly, Town didn’t really know what to do with him, and despite moving to a more conventional 4-4-2 later in the game, he was never really involved as much as his potential demanded he should have been.

When Town played the ball around firmly on the ground (most notably once Garvan was on), things looked genuinely exciting. Three one-on-ones with the keeper (Dos Santos, Civelli and Lisbie) were all wasted though, and with them any chance of three points. An improved performance then, but still one more reminiscent of a team finding its feet at the start of a season than a well-oiled, settled outfit. Burnley deserve to be in the playoff mix, whereas Town now need to win 7 out of 7 to stand a chance of joining them.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – Some flashes of excellence, too many periods of aimlessness.

Opposition quality:
7/10 – Strong, hard-working and impressive.

5/10 – A number of questionable decisions, although nothing critical.

Match excitement:
7/10 – A good, open game with few dull periods.

Opposition supporters:
7/10 – A couple of hundred made the long trip, and were noisy throughout.

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

WRIGHT 6 (3/3) was involved in a couple of mixups, but made some good stops too.

WRIGHT 5 (3/2) was reasonably solid, and got forward well, but did seem a bit out of sorts at times; McAULEY 7 (4/3) had an impressive match, looking strong and seeming to enjoy playing alongside the intelligent CAMPO 7 (3/4), who made the odd mistake, but read the game beautifully; however, THATCHER 4 (2/2) was a big disappointment, despite more forward forays than usual, looking shaky when being directly attacked.

NORRIS 5 (3/2) wasn ‘t involved nearly enough, and offered disappointingly little; MILLER 5 (3/2) didn’t seem to enjoy his exposed position in the centre of things, and wasted far too many passes; and CIVELLI 6 (3/3), although he put in two or three wonderful crosses, was bypassed a little and got drawn in far too much late on. Suffered what looked like a fairly serious injury too, although seemed OK enough to give a thumbs-up to the crowd as he left on the groovy new motorised stretcher buggy.

DOS SANTOS 7 (3/4), when he got the ball and ran, looked sensational. However, he simply didn’t get it often enough – with that much skill, he should have been the focal point of the attacks. Given that Town seem to have plenty of midfielders but no inspiring strikers at the moment, I’d like to see him lead the attack from the front on Saturday.

LISBIE 5 (3/2) played his part, but once again struggled to create space; one goal in the eight home matches he’s started this season just isn’t good enough; and STEAD 5 (3/2) looked even less like scoring.

From the bench, COUNAGO was just pointless, QUINN didn’t add anything much, and GARVAN at first didn’t look like he was going to either, but then he started to get things moving with the sort of crisp passing which Miller had failed to provide.

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