The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Watford 0

Just one win in nine home games now (and it was a lucky one too); this is the only time a sequence as bad as that has happened to Ipswich in the Championship in the last 20 years, and possibly longer. Thank goodness the defensive nightmares against Swansea and Southampton were an aberration, because things have just dried up going forward: just two goals scored in the five games played this month.

There was an odd resigned atmosphere around the ground, more like the one you’d associate with a meaningless last-game-of-the-season afternoon. Maybe it was a combination of our low-expectations and the May-like shirtsleeved weather. Even this far from the end of the season, neither team realistically has anything to play for or worry about, and it showed. Watford were very poor indeed, and gave Town every chance to beat them handsomely, but one opportunity after another was squandered. Jim seems to be hell-bent on continuing his “every-week-an-experiment” policy right to the bitter end; today Alan Quinn started in the centre, and David Norris took up Quinn’s expected place on left midfield, inexplicably. It wasn’t delivering the goods, so Norris gradually got moved back into the centre, where he was far more effective. However, with players getting knocks right, right and centre, Town had all three subs on before the hour mark, and things just ended up as disjointed as ever. I suspect the last six games will just see more of the same; I just hope next season will see something different.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – The excitement (and there was some) was more because Watford let Town attack them. But Town must have had two dozen shots, and only really worked the keeper with about three of them. Worse were the number of occasions where the attack didn’t get as far as a shot.

Opposition quality:
3/10 – Desperately ordinary. But Town need to look in the mirror, because the scary thing is, Watford are only a few places lower.

7/10 – Fine.

Match excitement:
6/10 – It was alright really – it drifted in and out.

Opposition supporters:
8/10 – Lots of ’em, and noisy too.

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

WRIGHT 7 (3/4) made a couple of great stops again, and really couldn’t be faulted on a fairly quiet afternoon.

WRIGHT 6 (3/3) was fine, but went off without playing 70 minutes and therefore didn’t get a clean sheet for me in the Fantasy Football; McAULEY 7 (4/3) was solid again, and didn’t find a fill-in switch to right-back too challenging; CAMPO 6 (3/3) again made the odd mistake, but was generally in control; and THATCHER 6 (3/3) was also fairly comfortable.

DOS SANTOS was barely involved at all, before trotting off early on; MILLER 5 (3/2) was fairly anonymous, but didn’t misplace as many passes as the other night; QUINN 6 (4/2) hustled and bustled, but to little effect; and NORRIS 7 (4/3) started quietly, out of position, but ended up a serious presence in midfield and was my man of the match.

STEAD 6 (4/2) did work really hard throughout, but that (and looking cultured) just isn’t enough – he really needs to deliver more goal threat than this; but COUNAGO 4 (2/2) was yet again the real weak link in the front line, and indeed the whole team, contributing little except whingeing, messing up one attack after another, and just being too easy for an average defence to comfortably deal with.

From the bench, HAYNES 6 (3/3) infuriated and delighted both the crowd and his team-mates in equal measures, as usual. Could a great player still be developed here with some better coaching, or is his footballing brain just irretrievably not up to scratch? I don’t know. GARVAN still seems to be lacking confidence, and certainly didn’t get as involved as much as we’d liked, but his midfield partnership with Norris looked the most promising of the three or four Town tried in this match alone. BALKESTEIN wasn’t troubled unduly.

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