The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 4 Morecambe 0

One of those games where a second-half revival was inevitable, given how
poor we were in the first half, and when that happens your mind often erases
any trace of how you were feeling at half-time. So in the half-time
discussions, me’n’the missus resolved this time *not* to let the handful of
diabolical performances we’d just witnessed go unremarked in the post-match
analysis, as so often is the case.

Come on, this was a non-league team. At home. If eleven Ipswich players had
trotted out, played within themselves, avoided anything rash, and simply
justified their salaries, we’d have won 4-0 without breaking sweat, however
well Morecambe played. About the only danger was that the first goal might
have taken a while to come and we might have seen a bit of nervousness and
apprehension.

But even that didn’t happen: Morecambe gifted us a goal within a couple of
minutes. And then, just to make sure we were given every opportunity to run
up a cricket score, one of their main defenders gets himself sent off.

So why wasn’t it nine- or ten-nil?

Because eleven Ipswich players *didn’t* trot out, play within themselves,
avoid anything rash, and simply justify their salaries. Three or four of
them, for the first half at least, were nothing less than a disgrace to the
shirt, either in attitude or ability. Full marks to Morecambe, who played
some neat – and clean – football, and surely deserve to end up in the League
sooner rather than later. And full marks to those of our players who did
exactly what was required. Honestly, if certain players hadn’t been on the
pitch making arses of themselves, the remaining seven would easily have held
Morecambe on their own. If anyone who went thinks this is a bit harsh, try
to remember what you were thinking at half-time. Certainly the word most
often heard in our part of the ground – apart from “freezing” – was
“pathetic”.

Funnily enough, I think BF Joe might have learned more from this than if the
entire team had gone out and done a dull, “professional” job. Any players
who were crap simply had no excuse against this sort of opposition. And any
players who weren’t even putting in the effort required can head out of the
door just as soon as they like. I’m sure he was taking note.

Still, the score must have looked to the rest of the country like we did a
professional job, and I don’t want to detract from the players who did
everything that was expected of them. So onwards and upwards, hopefully to
Old Trafford in the next round.

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

MARSHALL 6 (3/3): A quiet afternoon, but Andy did what he had to, and seemed
to be showing tentative signs of more confidence. Encouraging.

WILNIS 4 (2/2), HOLLAND 7 (3/4), HREIDARSSON 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 6 (3/3): A
mature and composed performance from Matt Richards, who after an only
slightly hesitant first few minutes, looked like he’d been playing left-back
for us for years. Ironically, he reminded me of Wayne Brown: funny old
world. Great to see though. Matty H and Hermann were both well in control,
did their jobs, stayed out of trouble, and did exactly what needed to be
done. Fab however was a joke, and the half-time mark would have been less
than 4. He seemed to have forgotten even the basics of playing football, and
on that performance wouldn’t have got into the Morecambe side in a month of
Sundays. A less tragic second half wasn’t much compensation. Simply painful
to watch.

AMBROSE 4 (2/2), WRIGHT 7 (3/4), CLAPHAM 7 (3/4): Whatever had caused Fab to
forget how to control the ball, pass to a team-mate or shoot had obviously
got to Dazza too, because this was easily his worst performance in a Town
shirt. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see it, it’s too depressing.
Wright and Clapham however, both given a bit of responsibility, moved the
ball around really well, covered lots of ground, and like the two
experienced guys behind them, did just what needed to be done. It was also
nice to see how much more sweetly the ball moved around midfield without Jim
involved, albeit at the expense of Jim’s creativity.

Marcus BENT 3 (1/2), COUNAGO 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 4 (4/2): I didn’t think I’d see
the day when Bam-Bam gave less than 100% effort, but he didn’t seem to want
to get involved much at all throughout the game. However, this aberration
could easily have gone unnoticed thanks to the towering waste of space
alongside him: if you thought you’d seen a disinterested Marcus Bent before,
you hadn’t seen anything until today. Apart from one (bizarre) incident
where he sprinted 30 yards to try to dispossess an opponent, he showed no
desire to even be on the pitch, never mind make a contribution. Disgraceful.
Pablo was the only striker to do anything in the first half, and although
his shooting boots still seem to have gone AWOL, he certainly didn’t give
the Morecambe defenders a moment’s peace.

The Subs were the most interesting thing of the afternoon: Darren BENT
looked really hungry, and really deserved to be on the scoresheet. REUSER
was given a huge reception, and looked good: he showed several touches which
reminded us why there’s nobody else at the club who can do many of the
things he does, including a spectacularly overambitious but wonderfully
exciting volley. My own favourite was a ball out to Wilnis towards the end
which he deliberately hesitated over – brilliantly – to get round a
defender. And little ABIDALLAH …aah, bless him. It looked like Reuser had
brought the mascot on with him. He was quite impressive though, and if we’re
rebuilding a team which can ping it around like the one of two years ago,
there may well be a place for him.

The REFEREE had little to do, but made the big decision, albeit a rather
disappointing one all round. The CROWD 4 (2/2) might have been able to blame
having their bits frozen off for their silence, were it not for the terrific
support coming from the away fans, who were going to have their big day out
regardless of the score or the weather. We really need a home draw in the
next round against a big, big club to prove to ourselves that we can still
make a noise and play the twelfth man, because at the moment we’re rather
embarrassing…

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