The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Swansea City 1

A match which won’t live long in the memory. The pre-match talking point was probably the biggest post-match talking point, namely that eight of the outfield players might well have been in the side today if this summer’s so-called Roy Keane revolution hadn’t happened at all. David Wright, McAuley, Quinn, Walters and Counago were the backbone of Magilton’s teams, and it’s quite possible that Trotter, Peters and Smith might have come through under Jim by now. If Norris was around, Rosenior might have been the only evidence of the chequebook having been so wide open for the past few months. It’s almost as if Keane’s saying “OK, let’s go back to where we were, and start the transformation all over again”.

This was a match which Town could and should have won, against what’ll probably prove to be the most ordinary opposition to visit Portman Road this season. Swansea could pass it a round a bit, but barely threatened, and gave Town every opportunity to play the game the way they wanted to. Sadly, the chance wasn’t taken. There still didn’t seem very much organisation and plan from the home team, and although some of the players seemed up for it, there were far more mistakes than moments of talent. Half the team want to keep the ball moving, and are prepared to occasionally give the ball away (the inevitable consequence of that strategy), but the other half want to stop the game every time they get the ball.

At the back, McAuley continues to be well off the pace, and that’s just what a youngster like Smith doesn’t need, so nervousness predominates. In the middle, playing two fairly wide men means the central pairing have to work as a team alongside one another, but instead, the unfortunate Trotter has been brought in to break up play, and this defensive role gives his partner far too much ground to patrol (as well as irritating the fans, who want to see the midfield spearheading the push forward at home). Up front, well, Walters and Counago; OK, I guess, but we’ve seen it before, they’ve never been much more than average together or individually, and we need something different.

And one more thing: to drop one captain in a season is remarkable, but to drop two captains? That’s downright odd.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – There’s a minor overall improvement, but things have to pick up at a faster rate than this if we’re to avoid getting stuck into a relegation scrap where panic starts to set in.

Opposition quality:
3/10 – Offered no real threat at all.

5/10 – Kept things going OK, but made a couple of dubious decisions in the second half before leaving early, presumably through boredom.

Match excitement:
3/10 – A terrible advert for this level of football, to be honest.

Opposition supporters:
4/10 – You have to respect anyone making that journey, and the giant panda was a giggle, but they were really quiet.

Rather boring player ratings, as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…

BEGOVIC 6 (3/3) barely touched the ball, and you have to wonder if Wrighty, who’s strong point is shot-stopping, would have let that goal in. I’m not sure if we really needed a new keeper, but hey-ho.

ROSENIOR 6 (3/3) worked quite hard all afternoon, and got forward well; McAULEY 4 (2/2) seems to have lost all his confidence, and much as I like the guy, really looks like a player who needs to start all over again somewhere else; SMITH 5 (2/3) is going to be a fine centre-half, but needs to be playing in a much more confident and stable squad if he’s to progress; and WRIGHT 5 (2/3) made a very cautious return, barely venturing into the opponents’ half.

PETERS 5 (3/2) looked quite a threat in the first half, and really got involved, but faded alarmingly after half-time; LEADBITTER 5 (3/2) was disappointingly anonymous; TROTTER 5 (3/2) is getting a hard time from the crowd, but it’s the role he’s been asked to play which is irritating them if they think about it, because he’s not playing any more badly than the rest; and QUINN 6 (3/3) did just what you’d expect from Quinn out wide left – worked quite hard, didn’t set the world on fire, we’ve seen it all before.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) did look like a man trying to lead the line, but didn’t create anything of note; and COUNAGO 5 (3/2), although he did occasionally get into the right place at the right time, was his usual infuriating self, perpetually holding the ball up and bringing any fledgling slick movement to a grinding halt.

From the bench, WICKHAM offered a lot more presence up front than the more experienced pairing, and although he missed his great chance, he at least made the run to create it; MARTIN was quite anonymous; and bringing on COLBACK in injury time almost made it seem like Keane was wasting time settling for a draw.

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