The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 0 Gillingham 1

Most top-level teams would probably look ahead to a fixture against
Gillingham and prefix their comments with “With all due respect to
Gillingham…” – which as we all know really means “With no respect at all
to Gillingham…” Well, things have now sunk low enough that we really do
have to respect teams like Gillingham. It was a day where Portsmouth’s away
thrashing of the team which comfortably got a draw with us four days earlier
showed that we’ve sunk from top five at the top level to second-rate at the
second level.

Like so many recent games, it could actually have gone either way. for
Mogga, this has been the case in three out of four matches, and he’s won
one, drawn one and lost one of them, so life’s not been terribly unfair. But
there are few new ideas, Matt seems to be losing the will to live, and large
sections of the crowd aren’t far behind. The North Stand’s “Stand up if you
hate Joe Royle” chant will have surprised most people, I’m sure, but it
shows the level of frustration we’re all feeling with having fallen so far,
so fast. We just want to lash out at anything. I don’t like the idea of Joe
Royle myself, but what makes me uneasy is that I really don’t know why. I
guess it’s because if we wanted a manager who’s been there, done it in
style, then gone stale (and we’re hoping will come good again), we might as
well have stuck with Burley. However, I suspect a lot of the crowd’s
feelings are as much due to a “history” with Man City/Joe Royle which
doesn’t really amount to much.

Mogga abandoned his wild (but interestingly effective)
“three-players-with-free-roles” approach for a much more conventional
formation of the 4-3-3 kind. But the backs were still nervous, the midfield
lacking in creativity and the forward line willing but lacking in much of a
cutting edge. Gillingham were able to cope with strength, effort and
discipline alone, and then got the result thanks to a marvellous display by
their young keeper (got any spare?).

Two changes at half-time showed Mogga knows time is running out to prove
himself, and he must have wished that’s how he’d started the game, but you
can’t predict how well (or badly) any of our players are going to perform
these days, you just have to put them out and hope. And that’s not really
good enough.

Some ratings:
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)

MARSHALL 5 (3/2): Still seemed hesitant, but pulled off a couple of cracking
saves and was left high and dry for the goal. Distribution unimpressive, but
at least he was good enough to make the crowd drop the ironic cheering.

MAKIN 6 (3/3), McGREAL 4 (2/2), BROWN 6 (3/3), HREIDARSSON 7 (4/3): McGreal
is the most nervous and hesitant of the lot now, the crowd is really getting
to him and you wouldn’t expect that from such an experienced player. Brown
was more solid, although wasted too many balls, and Makin too could do much
better on the distribution front. If he was taken off as a tactical
substitution, it was a stupid decision, because – guess what – it meant
Wright had to fill in, and need I go on? Hermann once again seemed more up
for it than anyone else in blue.

WRIGHT 6 (3/3), HOLLAND 5 (2/3), CLAPHAM 4 (2/2): Matt again seemed slightly
distant, and Jermaine worked hard without much support to run the midfield.
Matt just hasn’t been the same player since the manager’s dismissal, and I
hope when things settle down, he will too. We need his leadership, and we
need his tenacity. At the moment both are missing. Jamie was just pants.

AMBROSE 7 (4/3), COUNAGO 5 (3/2), ARMSTRONG 6 (4/2): Darren worked hard and
made some good runs. Super Al made some even better ones into acres of
space, but it’s the Jamie Scowcroft thing all over again (he was being
played in exactly the same wide position): great space, but the guy’s got no
delivery in him at all, and is wasted there. Pablo scurried around a lot but
had one of his more whingeing days against a solid defence who wouldn’t let
him pass. And he got caught offside unnecessarily too many times for my

Subs: MILLER 6 (3/3) and DARREN BENT 5 (3/2) certainly livened things up a
bit, but ultimately didn’t increase the number of chances we got. Whilst we
needed to push forward more, and Miller was able to help that, we missed the
more defensive role Wright had been playing, with the result that a supply
channel was missing. WESTLAKE 5 (3/2) came on and played wide down the
right, looked useful, and was as enthusiastic as you’d expect. It’s good to
see we’ve now got almost half a team of very young players if the new
manager (and the Chairman) decides that we’re going to rebuild from the
bottom up.

The REFEREE was OK, which is good, I guess! The CROWD 6 (2/4) were lethargic
except for the start of the second half when the team had its best spell,
but their main contribution – if it has an effect – may be the feelings
expressed about the club’s off-field activities.

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