The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 5

It’s hard to know what to say. In some ways, for the fans at least, I think it could be argued that this was the worst result in the club’s history. If that sounds far-fetched, was (for example) losing 0-9 at Old Trafford, with the club clearly way out of its depth, any worse than this? At least it was a good day out, like the Chelsea cup game earlier this season. Seriously, find me a result which you’d rather forget more than this – the worst ever derby-day defeat …and at home too.

It’s the hope which gets you, isn’t it? For some reason, most supporters probably thought Town could win this. I doubt Paul Lambert even entertained the idea for a moment. He knew exactly what would give his side the points: start off by taking the game to the opposition, then slowly sit back and rely more on catching them on the break. Against a defence which has been notoriously susceptible to breakaways recently, that might well give his side a nice 0-1 victory. If Norwich could score an early goal too, and force the home team into pressing forward, things could be even better.

And so it came to pass, with Town gifting their local rivals two unbelievably soft goals, then progressively exposing a defence which was as fragile as glass once its midfield cover was left up the pitch. Norwich probably couldn’t believe their luck (and they had a fair bit of that). In terms of possession, shots and any other statistical measure, this was not four goals-worth of victory to either side. But in terms of simple footballing management and leadership, it was an absolute masterclass from the visitors. In comparison, Town looked like a schoolboys’ team with a PE teacher for a coach. Paul Jewell’s reign is young enough that many fans will blame this on the Keane legacy: certainly the players let the fans down terribly. If Town are to put this behind them and challenge for anything next season, however, they’re not just in need of a decent leader and a clever striker …they’ll need a lot smarter organisation.

The only other thing I can say is that I hope this hurt the players even a fraction of the amount it hurt the fans. In most cases, I doubt it will.

Overall Town performance:
4/10 – Not nearly as bad as the scoreline suggests, believe it or not. But toothless up front – again – and calamitous when exposed at the back – again.

Opposition quality:
7/10 – Pretty decent, played to their strengths, and had a great game plan which came off better than they could have dreamed.

Referee:
8/10 – Kept the lid on things well, although might have been surprised by the lack of passion from the players, particularly those in blue.

Match excitement:
7/10 – Great atmosphere at the start, dejection by the end, but never got boring …albeit for the wrong reasons.

Opposition supporters:
9/10 – This pains me more than almost anything, but they were the noisiest all season (and not just because of their numbers), and had more varied chants and songs than any visiting support all year. Just being honest.

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

LEE-BARRETT 4 (3/1) can’t really be blamed for the latter goals, where he found himself facing two or even three relatively unchallenged strikers, but the first goal was a howler, and well …it ws five goals. At home.

EDWARDS 6 (3/3) was actually pretty decent, working hard throughout and actually taking the game to the opposition without getting caught out too often; McAULEY 5 (3/2) had a disappointing match by recent standards, especially considering how easy it proved to be to take the ball off Holt on the few times he threatened; DELANEY 4 (2/2) looked really shaky when attacked directly; and O’DEA 4 (2/2) showed a bit of passion but really didn’t make anything out of being the only player from either side on his wing in the second half. This defence has now conceded 15 goals in the last 6 home matches, something we haven’t seen at Portman Road since we were being trounced in the Premiership under John Lyall in 1994. Yet it looks like the club is desperately trying hard to hold on to three of the four of them. I hope Paul Jewell knows something we don’t.

CARSON 5 (3/2) had little impact on the game, against a mobile and often packed defence; LEADBITTER 6 (3/3) had another involved performance, and kept the ball moving but without any real impact; BULLARD 7 (3/4) was classy and probably as committed as anyone in the side, and deserved his fantastic goal; NORRIS 4 (2/2) was almost absent for most of the match, and if one of Town’s problems was a lack of leadership and inspiration, that’s where the finger has to be pointed; WICKHAM 5 (3/2) was asked to play left wing, right wing and in the centre, and although he had presence, there was always far too much for him to cope with.

SCOTLAND 3 (2/1) was just awful. He couldn’t control the ball, he couldn’t hold up the ball, and he couldn’t fashion a chance. There’s simply nothing positive to say about this performance, when so much depended on him. Awful.

DRURY 5 (3/2) seemed to work fairly hard, but like Leadbitter, while there was plenty of bluster, there wasn’t much in the way of results.

One Comment:
  1. Jim Savage

    Agreed but from where I sat you flattered Leadbitter. As usual he ran non-stop, but surely a player of his experience could be a little more tactically aware and use the ball creatively now and again. His shooting looks impressive, and the people around me applaud it, but it is hardly ever on target. Coupled with the abject performance of Norris and the inexperience of Carson, we really had no midfield and therefore no cover for a weak defence and no support for a hopeless attack.

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