The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Preston NE 0

Just savour that zero above: a clean sheet at home in the league. It’s taken
over half a season, but we done it.

Right, having got that over with, what else is there to talk about? Back to
the 3-5-2, although with both wide guys getting back well, I guess it’s more
like what we’d consider a 5-3-2. It was another in what’s been a succession
of poor opponents at Portman Road over the last month, although in this case
it was as much due to Preston barely having enough fit or available players
to put out a team. But we brushed them aside without breaking into a sweat
(metaphorically in the case of most of the team, literally in the case of
Marcus Bent) and that’s exactly what we have to do consistently if we’re to
fight our way back to the top.

The way things are going, never mind scraping into the playoffs with 80
points, any team which can get that many will probably win the division!
We’ll have to play better than this against the likes of Sheffield United,
of course, but we can’t play our best every week, and if the ordinary
performances can still yield comfortable wins like this, there’s still hope
that we can put together the run we’re all hoping for.

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

MARSHALL 5 (3/2): Another quiet afternoon, with a couple of cringeworthy
flaps but it might just be that the worst is in the past.

WILNIS 6 (3/3), HOLLAND 8 (4/4), GAARDSOE 6 (3/3), MAKIN 5 (3/2),
HREIDARSSON 6 (3/3): Another more effective performance from Fab, making
some good space and even engaging in a small amount of showboating. But
still wasting too many chances of getting a telling centre in. Matt played
probably his best game yet in the defensive role, which he’s growing into
steadily and really encouragingly. Only his distribution at times needs
improvement, but his reading of the game was excellent. Thomas had a solid,
if unremarkable, game. Chris trod a fine path between tenacity and
recklessness with some of his tackling, which he needs to be careful about,
but otherwise quite steady. And Hermann tore up and down the flanks as
usual, showing more skill than anyone of his size (or natural position)
really should be able to, but ultimately failing to deliver any really
telling balls into the centre, which was a real shame.

WRIGHT 6 (3/3), MILLER 5 (3/2), MAGILTON 8 (4/4): I’m not sure about a
three-man midfield where one player (Wright) is just in front of the defence
whilst another (Magilton) is just behind the attackers (rather than three
across the park) – they found it difficult to know where their colleagues
were going to be, and Miller was all over the place positionally, which
isn’t a good thing. However, Jermaininho worked hard in an unglamorous role,
and didn’t deserve the increasing amount of moaning he’s getting from some
sections of the crowd. Tommy didn’t have a good game: he rarely got into
decent positions, and his touch seemed to have deserted him at times. Jim,
on the other hand, was magnificent, creating almost everything of note and
showing some wonderful touches. Best of all, he wasted very little through

Marcus BENT 5 (2/3), COUNAGO 6 (4/2): I hated Latin at school, but
fortunately sat next to the classical scholar of the form, whose work I
could copy with ease. My school report for the subject, of which I’m rather
proud, said: “Achieves consistently acceptable results with the minimum of
effort”. And no prizes for guessing why I was reminded of that again this
afternoon. It’s difficult to argue about Marcus’s inclusion in the side when
he pops up with a goal far more games than not, but give me the bloke
alongside him any day. Nobody’s fooled by his protestations about having a
deceiving style, which masks how much effort he’s putting in really. A
classic example towards the end of the game showed this to be untrue: he
miscontrolled a ball and it ran on past him. Did he chase after it? Did he
bugger. He stopped (as if he’d ever started), turned to the player who’d
passed it to him and acknowledged his mistake with a wave. Meanwhile, Darren
Ambrose, who’d been yards behind him, sprinted past to make something of the
loose ball, which Marcus had been much closer to. Ugh. Pablo worked hard
again, but to the many people who questioned his substitution in the second
half, it has to be pointed out that even the lethargic Marcus Bent had made
some decent goal efforts (and scored), whereas Pablo, for all his neat
turns, had just a couple of off-target no-hoper efforts.

The Subs certainly had an impact: Darren BENT showed his namesake how to run
on to a through ball and score (a little effort is what’s needed, Marcus)
and AMBROSE, whilst not exactly setting the game alight, put in two killer
balls for Darren B, which was probably more than the wide guys managed in a
full game.

The REFEREE was a bit picky, but consistent and certainly played advantage
fully. And three cheers: the CROWD 7 (4/3) may have finally started to pick
up (or at least the North Stand Lower has). In particular, the block to the
Cobbold-side of the centre block seemed to be making a lot of noise, and the
centre block subsequently joined in; whilst nobody could claim the good old
days were back, it was certainly the best effort for a long while. Keen
listeners could even have detected that rarest of chants, a “one Matty
Holland”, at one stage.

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