The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Doncaster Rovers 2

Well, I doubt if anyone at half time saw that second half coming. The first 45 minutes were pretty dismal, and Doncaster could easily have had three, with only the post and a goal-line clearance saving Town from an embarrassment. But the second 45 was comfortably the most exciting and encouraging half we’ve seen in a league match at Portman Road in the last year or so. It reminded us that football can be fun – and even thrilling – and although Jewell may not have got the team playing with smiles on their faces yet, there were certainly a few of those in the crowd at the end.

There were no radical changes in the lineup for the new manager’s first home game. Carlos Edwards at right back was something different, but it could just as easily have been Jaime Peters there. Leadbitter was brought back without having to drop Colin Healy by moving Norris out wide, but that’s hardly a new position for the captain either. And to be honest, for the first half, there was very little perceivable change in the team’s performance, or frustrating lack of creativity. There were a few boos at the interval, and there’d been a lot of crowd frustration throughout the half. Town had been poor, there’s no other word for it. However, a break finally came just moments into the second period, and the game (and the home support) burst into life. It wasn’t a magical instant transformation into a new, confident Ipswich, but the team were clearly starting to believe in themselves, and just as importantly, the crowd were too. Despite Doncaster looking really dangerous on occasions right to the end, Town were never frantically hanging on to the three points. It was a genuine step forward without any radical surgery.

Overall Town performance:
7/10 – Dire first half, but really encouraging second half.

Opposition quality:
6/10 – Decent enough throughout, and although overwhelmed as the game went on, they’d spent much of the first half well on top.

4/10 – Never really in control, and made some really irritating decisions.

Match excitement:
7/10 – We came out with a real buzz, but we’d been moaning into our pints of Adnams at half time.

Opposition supporters:
3/10 – Pretty small turnout, and we hardly heard a peep from them.

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

FULOP 5 (3/2) had a fairly unremarkable afternoon, but there must be question-marks over his involvement (or lack of it) in both goals.

EDWARDS 7 (3/4) took a while to get involved and realise that he could come forward, but was getting quite impressive towards the end; McAULEY 8 (4/4) had a magnificent afternoon, with some heroic blocks in both halves; DELANEY 6 (3/3) was fairly comfortable, although his seemingly endless succession of overhead clearances aren’t always going to come off; and O’DEA 6 (3/3) blew a bit hot and cold, but was reasonably solid.

NORRIS 7 (4/3) ran his socks off, and looked in encouraging form; HEALY 6 (3/3) continues to surprise, keeping the ball moving well and putting himself about a bit; LEADBITTER 4 (2/2) was quiet, and continues to be a shadow of the player he was in patches last season; and although MARTIN 5 (3/2) seemed enthusastic and eager to impress, almost nothing came off for him all afternoon.

WICKHAM 7 (4/3) put in another encouraging display, despite having few chances to show his real strength in beating defenders running onto through balls; with the goal he really needed, and (we hope) a chance to get a decent run in the team, we may see some more of his undoubted potential realised before the season is out. PRISKIN 5 (3/2) seems to excite a section of the crowd with his runs, but his awful finishing and schoolboy offsides were (once again) not really good enough at this level.

And it’s great to report that nobody was substituted just for the sake of it, something we’d almost come to take for granted over the past two years.

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