The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich 1 WBA 1

Yet again Town failed to kill the game when finding themselves a goal ahead going into added-on time, and the goals conceded this season in the 90th minute and beyond now just about make the difference between the club’s poor position in the table and a play-off place. But even the most blinkered home fan would admit that West Brom were a class above and well worth a draw, and most supporters would happily have accepted a draw at half-time. Still, the late equaliser was a bitter pill.

This was an odd game, with the Baggies controlling most of it, and always looking like they had something in reserve, but possibly flattering to deceive. They missed a few chances, it’s true, but an uninspired Ipswich had the best of all (two one-on-ones, both missed). And it says something when one of the teams which are supposedly a class above the rest of the division can’t finish off a team from the other end of the table who are playing ordinarily even by their standards. Because make no mistake, this was at no time one of the better recent Ipswich performances. The midfield was stodgy, the forwards slow, and the self-belief (in the first half at least) seemingly lacking.

As the match wore on, Town seemed to realise they could get something from the game, and there was an increasingly impressive backs-against-the-wall spirit. But there was rarely any danger of the midfield creating something from nothing, and although I’ve often felt that Jon Walters has been a square peg in a round hole again this season, his contribution was missed. The workrate from one or two of the players was occasionally impressive, and the frantic defending in front of goal was terrific, but there wasn’t too much encouragement to take away from this match.

Overall Town performance:
5/10 – Pretty uninspiring

Opposition quality:
8/10 – Clearly a very good team, but failed consistently to finish things off

4/10 – A series of dreadful decisions – nearly all against Town – in the middle third of the game will be the abiding memory. However, correctly booked Lee-Barrett when some refs might have reached for the red card

Match excitement:
5/10 – It had a fairly memorable Alamo-esque last 15 minutes to it, but was no classic

Opposition supporters:
6/10 – Reasonable turnout for a cold Tuesday night in February, lively in the first half (and at the very end, of course, Boing Boing).

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

LEE-BARRETT 5 (2/3) was a bit rash at times, and also could have been caught out when failing to hold on to a couple of shots.

ROSENIOR 6 (3/3) had a reasonable game; McAULEY 8 (4/4) and DELANEY 8 (4/4) were superb, throwing their hearts and souls into this one, clearing off the line and making last-ditch tackles for the whole 90 minutes; WRIGHT 5 (3/2) was OK, without doing much of note.

PETERS 7 (4/3) was once again asked to play in various positions, and really looked up for anything; NORRIS 7 (4/3) put in more effort than anyone in the first half, and was involved in almost every decent Town move; LEADBITTER 6 (3/3) was a bit overwhelmed at times, but kept things moving; but COLBACK 5 (3/2) was disappointingly anonymous for the whole game.

COUNAGO 5 (3/2) got around a bit, but never seemed to be in the right place, and – as ever – for every time he won the ball, he also gave another away. Barely an effort on goal of note, in common with STEAD 4 (2/2), who just had one of those games where he lumbers around presenting the opposing defence with almost nothing to think about.

From the bench, EDWARDS was quite lively; BALKESTEIN did well (and produced one mazy run forward reminiscent of Comedy Titus at his most unpredictable); and PRISKIN was certainly no worse than Stead had been.

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