The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Crystal Palace 2

I’m not sure what Joe Royle’s got in mind, but it has to be fairly drastic,
and it has to be fast. Anyone expecting some instant miracle cure was
obviously dreaming, because this was the same old stuff we’ve seen for the
last two months. Most managers usually bring with them some hidden gems
they’ve had at their previous clubs, and although I never thought I’d say
this, if Man City have got anyone languishing on the fringes who Royle
thinks could do us some good (Wiekens and Goater have been suggested in the
papers this weekend), I’m all for it.

I suspect Royle’s decided to play a fairly standard lineup in a fairly
standard formation for three of four games before he really starts to make
any changes, if he has the option of that luxury at all. So we saw a basic
4-4-2 again today, the only development being the wide midfielders (Ambrose
and Clapham) were given a little more room to roam than had been permitted
the other night. The match went in three stages: 30 minutes of Town looking
the livelier, but showing zero intelligence in our tactics; 15 minutes where
we finally realised what might cause a problem to a defence which had spent
half an hour beating us in the air 999 times out of what seemed like 1000;
and 45 minutes of the very worst of the zero-creativity style we’ve worked
so hard to develop of late.

Individually, the majority of the team had reasonable games, although few
seemed to be playing their hearts out for the new boss, which is surprising
and disappointing. Together, they were hopeless though …for most of the
match, anyway. Nobody seemed to be making opportunities, nobody seemed to be
prepared to try something creative, and as has been so often the case, we
looked outnumbered in every area of the pitch simultaneously.

Palace are a desperately ordinary side, which is what makes this really
worrying. We really should have given them a lot more trouble. I just hope
Royle’s got a lot of trouble in store for this lacklustre rabble which I’m
not really proud to call my team at the moment.

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

MARSHALL 6 (3/3): Continues his steady improvement. Made two or three
terrific saves after being left horribly exposed by the defence, and only
once hesitated almost catastrophically. I’m not that convinced the winner
was his mistake: he positioned himself well and it was a bizarre shot that
I’m not at all sure the scorer meant. Kicking improving too.

MAKIN 6 (3/3), GAARDSOE 5 (3/2), BROWN 6 (3/3), HREIDARSSON 6 (4/2): Makin
had a very solid game, and if his substitution was a tactical one, it was
disappointing (especially as it meant Jermaininho going to right-back, but
hey, three managers in a row can’t be wrong, obviously it’s the supporters
who a wrong in thinking this to be just plain stupid). Gaardsoe was an
improvement, although ponderous and, well, somewhat Titus-like in almost
every aspect of his game. Which may or may not be a bad thing. Wayne was
also fairly solid, but once again it was only Hermann who seemed to be
putting his heart and soul into it. However, the four of them collectively
have to take the blame for presenting Palace with unchallenged headers on
goal no less than four times.

AMBROSE 5 (3/2), MAGILTON 5 (3/2), HOLLAND 6 (3/3), CLAPHAM 6 (3/3): Jamie
was a little better than of late, which is good to see, and best of all,
Matt looked more like his old self, although there’s still work to be done.
But Jim was ineffective and very negative (all of them suffered from
sideways-ball disease today, but Jim was the worst). And Darren gradually
faded out as the game wore on, making almost no contribution in the second
half. However, he did look effective for a while in the two-Darrens front
two brought on by Alun’s withdrawal.

Darren BENT 5 (3/2), ARMSTRONG: We were joking before the game that this has
been a long run of fitness for Alun, and it was about time he retired hurt,
and guess what? Off he goes after only a few minutes. Mind you, we’d been so
clueless until that point, with the only strategy being long balls to Alun,
that the guy must have been shattered. The result however was that we got a
rare opportunity to see the two Darrens together without someone stuck in
between them, and for a while, it looked promising. But the supply
disappeared totally in the second half, and both were reduced to chasing
hopeless causes. DB also got caught offside far too many times.

Subs: WRIGHT 4 (2/2) looked really up for it when he came on, but got worse
as the game progressed and reached rock-bottom in terms of effort and
effectiveness once put at full-back. He just seemed totally unable to make
any space at all, constantly hiding behind a defender whenever he and Makin
(or anyone else) came forward. Really disappointing. FINIDI had a ten-minute
run-out and achieved little, but it should be noted that he probably caused
more danger in that time than the two Darrens had managed all half, and when
that happens, you know there’s a problem.

The REFEREE was conned time and time again, almost entirely by Palace
players, and Lord knows how many free kicks he’d have given if Pablo had
been playing. The CROWD 7 (4/3) were better, although there were still
enough quiet periods to elicit a “you’re supposed to be at home” from the
large Palace contingent (whose “Ipswich Ipswich ra ra ra” was, it has to be
said, very funny).

Probably the most boring marks I’ve given this year (all 6’s and 5’s for the
starting lineup), but it was that kind of match. Roll on …well, anything
really.

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