The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Newcastle Utd 4

Well, if we didn’t know after the West Brom and Middlesbrough games how far away we are from the Premiership, we certainly do now. But despite the absurdly over-the-top outrage from many supporters after the game, did we seriously expect much else? Five of us went down to the match together, all predicted an away win, and the youngest two even called the score correctly, as it turned out.

How Newcastle managed to get themselves relegated last year I don’t know, but even without several “stars” who jumped ship, they displayed the characteristic which differentiates a Premiership team from one at this level: a blend of strength on the ball with great technical ability. It reminded me of the Chelsea match last season more than any other, with the better team just biding its time and picking off the opposition when the chance presented itself. Whilst the score reflected the difference in class, Ipswich put up a better display than several we’ve seen this season. To start saying this is some sort of a new low for Town is just absurd. A performance like this against one of the (other) lesser teams in the division might have got a quite different result.

That said, we all knew what Newcastle would be like, and to try to play a conventional strategy against them seemed naive in the least. They were always going to be stronger, more skilful and more intelligent, so Town needed to do something different, like try to run them off the park. Unfortunately nobody looked even likely to get round the back until Jaime Peters’ arrival, and even then, from a full-back position he was unlikely to ever be advanced enough to cause real problems. It’s way too early to start calling for Roy Keane’s head; those that are should re-read some of the low points of the Royle and Magilton years on this site to remind themselves how clueless Town have been on occasions even in recent memory. But Keane does need to start showing that he understands the game as well as we all assume he does.

Overall Town performance:
4/10 – As with the last home game against Forest, toothless up front, the midfield showed only occasional touches of promise, and the defence was far too easily beaten by strength and by clever movement

Opposition quality:
8/10 – May as well be given the automatic promotion spot now

7/10 – Few complaints from either side, I should think

Match excitement:
6/10 – Despite Town not having a single decent shot on target, it was a fairly lively affair

Opposition supporters:
9/10 – Not as many as I’d imagined, but they were respectful, noisy and occasionally amusing (although it was terrific to hear the North Stand silence them in the second half with the “You only sacked Bobby Robson” chant)

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

WRIGHT 6 (2/4) doesn’t look too confident, but could probably only be really disappointed with one of the four goals, and he pulled off two world-class saves to avoid it being a rout

ROSENIOR 5 (2/3) showed a decent turn of pace, but has to take his share of the blame for Newcastle players being able to pop up all over the area unmarked; BRUCE again didn’t seem like a leader, but put in a couple of good tackles; BALKESTEIN 4 (2/2) was shown up for the average Championship centre-half which he is; but DELANEY 3 (2/1) went back to being the weakest link in a weak back four. Surely David Wright can’t spend his Saturdays in the stands much longer?

EDWARDS 4 (2/2) simply didn’t have enough impact on the match; LEADBITTER 5 (3/2) worked hard, but was outclassed by tougher and smarter opponents; TROTTER 6 (3/3) did a pretty decent job sweeping up in front of the defence, a position which he seems well suited for, and was one of the few Town players to match the physical presence of the Newcastle players; COLBACK 4 (2/2) seemed way too lightweight and generally out of his depth; and once again WALTERS 5 (3/2) made me wonder whether he’s ever again going to make things happen up front.

PRISKIN 4 (2/2) offered almost nothing.

From the bench, the inexperienced SMITH 5 (3/2) might have been an embarrassment thrown in against this sort of opposition, but it was to his credit that he wasn’t; COUNAGO created nothing, wasted everything and his only positive contribution was to get his fanboys in the crowd a bit animated; but at least PETERS showed some flashes of flair, and although he was only on for the last part of the game, and in far too withdrawn a position, he probably shades my Ipswich player of the match award.

One Comment:
  1. Hi Chris – it’s dire to read at the moment but as a far flung town fan I appreciate your honest reporting. Thanks

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