The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Nottingham Forest 3

I’m not sure when – or if – Town have previously lost five out of six home matches, but I can’t even find the motivation to look it up at the moment. Perhaps the most damning statistic, however, is that in their last 10 matches, Forest have failed to score an astonishing 8 times …but in the other 2 games, they’ve scored 3 goals – both times against Ipswich’s woeful defence. Never has a side’s supporters been able to sing “can we play you every week?” with such sincerity.

A classic was hardly on the cards, with both clubs having lost 8 of their previous 11 league matches. The Championship doesn’t offer much worse form than this at the moment, and there wasn’t much in the way of confidence or creativity on either side. The Town supporters’ fears about a central defence without Sonko or Collins were well founded, with the division’s most inept strike force able to force critical mistakes out of them almost at will. At the other end, only the enthusiasm of an unexpectedly recalled Andy Drury prevented things from being similarly painful to watch. Almost despite having no real game plan, Town actually created a handful of chances, but the finishing from Emmanuel-Thomas and Murphy was abysmal.

This is one of the most dispiriting periods I can remember in 35 years of watching Town regularly, but like everyone else, I don’t have the answers. This is the third manager in a row who really ought to be competent enough at this level; the support has remained relatively loyal; and there’s money been made available, for the last three years at least. Yet all we have is a club which instead of creating a real character from nothing, is now more likely to take in players (like Bullard, Bowyer and Chopra) who might still have been good enough and suck the life out of them. There’s no point in messing around with Marcus Evans’ money in this transfer window: either we get in an inspiring, larger-than-life centre-back and captain to build the team around, or we just have the end-of-season party now.

Overall Town performance:
3/10 – No shape, no game plan, no structure, no confidence, no leadership and no hope of any improvement on the horizon, from what I can see.

Opposition quality:
3/10 – Yet another desperately ordinary outfit made to look almost competent by Town’s ineptitude.

Referee:
6/10 – Decent enough.

Match excitement:
5/10 – Well, there were four goals and a hatful of missed opportunities from both sides, so quality of football aside, not that bad really.

Opposition supporters:
7/10 – Reasonable turnout, and had a lot of fun at Town’s expense, raising more than a few smiles along the way.

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

LEE-BARRETT 6 (3/3) probably can’t be blamed for the goals, and wasn’t tested much, but I doubt he’ll ever be the inspirational figure it would be so nice to have at the back.

EDWARDS 4 (2/2) was just Carlos being his usual self – he does a job, but it’s really not good enough on the back foot or front; DELANEY 5 (3/2) was one of only two or three players who you felt wanted to be there, and we shouldn’t underestimate that at the moment, but he played his part in a poor defensive display; INGIMARSSON 3 (2/1) was simply awful, and surely cannot ever again be picked ahead of Smith, Ainsley or my Mum; and even CRESSWELL 5 (2/3) seemed listless, although he made a reasonable contribution regardless.

MARTIN 4 (2/2) was all but invisible for the whole time he was on; BOWYER occasionally got stuck in, but you just keep wondering what he’s supposed to be doing; LEADBITTER 4 (2/2) again covered enough of the pitch, without making anything happen; and MURPHY 4 (2/2) didn’t pose any real threat, missing the two chances he was given.

DRURY 6 (4/2) was the pick of the team, simply because he looked like he’d been given a chance and wanted to impress, although sadly he couldn’t create anything of real consequence; and although I was delighted to see EMMANUEL-THOMAS 4 (2/2) get the opportunity to lead the line, he once again looked more clumsy than skilful, and was never remotely the threat we’re all desperately hoping he might become.

Substitutes: CHOPRA 3 (2/1) hovered around the periphery, but rarely have I seen a player so uninvolved in 50 minutes of play; CARSON had more of the ball, but the flair (and confidence) seems to have gone; and ELLINGTON just looked like a forgettable reserve striker.

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