The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Nottingham Forest 1

Despite the last couple of matches having offered a respite from the nightmare run of defeats, after this toothless display it does rather look like those two matches were a blip, rather than a change of fortunes. With the Leicester win having been in bizarre conditions and the Coventry draw having been largely against ten men, it would be understandable if that turns out to be the case. The effort from the Town side was reasonable – although not exceptional – but the quality and creativity looked as far off as ever. Keane’s selections and tactics continue to be inconsistent (and often inexplicable), and seem to be designed to drill any imagination out of the side. This really can’t go on: Town now need 22 points from 22 matches to stand a decent chance of avoiding relegation, and where that sort of form is going to come from, I just don’t know.

Playing four central midfielders and no wingers from the start was a gamble on controlling the middle of the park at the expense of providing anything from the flanks. It didn’t come off: Forest (who were unexceptional throughout) competed with ease without making any such tactical sacrifice. As usual, Town’s strikeforce rarely provided any obvious opportunities when the players on the ball behind them looked up, but it’s hardly that surprising when you consider there seems to be a different pairing up front every week. The defence was reasonably solid, although with Keane’s preference for players who don’t have the speed to come past the halfway line, that’s unsurprising. Again, the problem there is that it puts more demands on the midfield to be creative.

Keane’s 18 months in charge have been a dreadful time for Ipswich, that’s without doubt. I’m still on the fence as to whether it would be wise to change management mid-season though, something this club simply does not do. But how much longer do we have to put up with one mediocre performance after another?

Overall Town performance:
4/10 – Oh for a midfielder who can make a defence-splitting pass, and a striker who can get on the end of it.

Opposition quality:
5/10 – Quite unremarkable; you can see why they only win away when they’re gifted it.

6/10 – Irritated both sets of supporters, never that bad a sign.

Match excitement:
4/10 – Precious few highlights at either end.

Opposition supporters:
7/10 – Good turnout, and made a decent noise at times.

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

FULOP 6 (3/3) flapped a couple of times, but was generally reliable.

BROWN 6 (3/3) is one of the bright spots of the season for me, and didn’t let himself down today, even at right-back; McAULEY 6 (3/3) put in a couple of superb first-half tackles but it was worrying to see him go off so soon after his layoff; DELANEY 4 (2/2) was a little out of sorts, although desperately unlucky to score the OG; and KENNEDY 6 (3/3) had a dependable match without taking any risks.

NORRIS 5 (3/2) put in the effort, but just couldn’t get involved; LEADBITTER 4 (2/2) also seemed to care about things, but got increasingly (and unforgivably) frustrated, eventually letting the side down completely; LIVERMORE 4 (2/2) was invisible for much of the time; and COLBACK 4 (2/2) provided no real creativity or inspiration.

WICKHAM 5 (2/3) showed fleetingly that he has the potential to beat anyone, but seems to be lacking in confidence, choosing to lay off (usually badly) whenever possible rather than shoot; and FALLON 5 (3/2) played his limited role pretty decently, but an old-fashioned target man looks out of place in such an unimaginative side.

PETERS 6 (3/3) provided the only real lift of the match with his non-stop running, and was almost totally responsible for what hope the second half provided; EDWARDS too gave the side’s turgid performance a minor boost; but SCOTLAND looked stodgy and unexciting.

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