The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Cardiff City 0

At last – this is exactly the sort of performance this Ipswich squad should be capable of, and everyone who watched the match tonight must have gone away wondering why it’s taken so long for Town to produce such a competent and confident ninety minutes’ display. Whilst not world-beating, this was comfortably play-off quality, and makes you wonder why the fight is still at the wrong end of the table.

Cardiff weren’t great, it has to be said, but Town have struggled against far poorer sides. For the first quarter, it was totally one-way traffic: Murphy in the Ipswich goal only had his first serious touch in the 13th minute. The game was being run magnificently by Owen Garvan, and by the time Cardiff finally closed him down, Town were full of confidence. It’s odd that things should gel in the absence of Grant Leadbitter, who most people would agree has been one of the better players this season, but Garvan’s totally different style of play made a big difference, and he was helped considerably by having a hard-working player either side of him. Now Keane has to make this the norm.

Overall Town performance:
8/10 – Strong in all areas of the pitch, and there was an air of confidence for most of the match too

Opposition quality
5/10 – Very disjointed, and not as good as the league position suggests, so it must have been an off-day. I can’t recall them having a single corner, and the number of miskicked clearances was astonishing

5/10 – Odd. Two yellow-card challenges (one for each side) went unpunished in the first half, and a red-card assault in the second half got just a yellow. This might not have been so bad if the cards hadn’t started to come out for relatively trivial offences later

Match excitement:
7/10 – Plenty to admire, and plenty to talk about – very enjoyable

Opposition supporters:
4/10 – A very low turnout, although they made a bit of noise, albeit shouting at their own team, mainly

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

MURPHY 6 (3/3) had a quiet evening; I’m not quite convinced that his relationship with the centre-halves is that great yet, but they’ll all be pleased with another clean sheet

The defence was better as a unit than the individual performances might suggest, perhaps for once because all four players were in their preferred positions; WRIGHT 6 (3/3) didn’t set the world on fire, but never looked particularly troubled, and it was good to see him on the right side; McAULEY 6 (3/3) and DELANEY 6 (3/3) are showing signs of reliability as a partnership which might even be taken for granted; and where has O’CONNOR 7 (4/3) been? He looks terrific.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) was relatively uninvolved again, and indeed, Wickham put in a good case towards the end of the game for being a possibly more exciting alternative for that position; NORRIS 6 (3/3) kept his head down and provided good support for GARVAN 8 (4/4), who dominated proceedings for large parts of the match with some excellent distribution; and COLBACK 7 (4/3) was tireless in both attack and defence.

HEALY 5 (3/2) drew defenders around, without looking that sharp when it mattered; MURPHY 7 (3/4) had a much better game, and could easily have had a hat-trick.

From the bench, COUNAGO was Counago; in one classic piece of infuriating Pablo football, he seemed to have wasted an opportunity by spending too long on the ball, then excellently salvaged things by getting the ball out wide to Walters, made some space for the ball to come back, then promptly missed the header. WICKHAM may not have had much in the way of goal attempts, but he had a real presence and played a huge part in Town successfully keeping the ball and denying Cardiff the chance to fight back at the end. Very impressive.

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