The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Reading 3

I’m not one of those people who think that anyone in the crowd can possibly call things better than the manager, with his intimate knowledge of the team and (I hope) opponents, as well as his experience of managing. But when 17,000 people can see that a decision he’s about to make is the wrong one, well, you have to believe in the Wisdom of Crowds theory. If your team is playing poorly, and has a 2-1 lead going into the last ten minutes, you don’t suddenly turn to backs-against-the-wall defensive tactics and let your opponents throw everything they’ve got at you (if your team is a confident one, things might be different). Hindsight may be a wonderful thing, but people around me started saying as soon as the second goal went in: “Please don’t try and defend this”. He did.

It’s hard to think past the manager’s ineptitude today, but I suppose the 4-4-2 was a minor improvement on the shambles of a formation we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Fortunately Reading were at best ordinary, or Town might have shipped three goals before half-time as they did in the last home game. Individually there are some decent talents there, but the big problem is the failure to make them into a team. The defence is appalling – in the past half season (23 matches), Town have shipped 50 goals, a figure not seen since the club was being thrashed on a weekly basis while plummeting out of the Premiership of 1994/95; there’s no stability to the midfield, which is rightly being seen as the most underperforming part of the team; and the strikers are managing less than a goal every other game between them this season. It’s been a dire autumn, and I can’t see how it might pick up soon.

Overall Town performance:
3/10 – Lacking in any creativity, and just, well, boring.

Opposition quality:
4/10 – Very ordinary, but can’t be denied their three points.

3/10 – Made a series of dreadful elementary mistakes, which at least got the crowd fired up.

Match excitement:
3/10 – Dull, dull, dull. Looked like a Sunday league game at times.

Opposition supporters:
5/10 – About 500, but not much from them until the last few minutes.

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

WRIGHT 4 (2/2) made a decent save in the second half, but his distribution was just the most obvious symptom of his lack of match practice. At least we can be fairly confident he’ll get better, unlike the rest of the team.

EDWARDS 4 (2/2) seemed glued to the defensive third of the pitch, presumably because he had no confidence that he’d receive any defensive cover from JET – he seemed as nervous as I can ever remember too; INGIMARSSON 4 (2/2) and COLLINS 4 (2/2) seemed equally culpable for the ease in which Reading knocked in three goals; and CRESSWELL 5 (3/2) looked eager at times, and made on glorious saving tackle, but delivered some dreadful passes and crosses.

EMMANUEL-THOMAS 4 (2/2) contributed very little of substance, and is comfortably proving to be the season’s biggest disappointment; LEADBITTER 4 (2/2) completely failed to get things moving in the way we needed him to; ANDREWS 4 (2/2) featured only in fits and starts; and CARSON 5 (3/2) covered a fair bit of ground, but like the rest of the midfield, delivered little.

MURPHY 5 (2/3) was made the focus of the team’s long-ball tactics, without looking that great …but at least he delivered a rare striker’s goal; and CHOPRA 5 (3/2) – although not exactly delivering the goods – must at least be congratulated on not giving up in disgust at the lack of service.

Substitutes: MARTIN looked reasonably enthusiastic; BULLARD looked out of touch; and WABARA didn’t have enough time to look like anything.

  1. david titlow

    Very accurate summing up of a dreadful match.

  2. Jim Savage

    Accurate report. There were nowhere near 17,000 at the ground though.

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