The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 3 Reading 1

The “simply not good enough” of the last home game seems a lot longer than
ten days ago now. Given that Leicester went mad at Portman Road and we’ve
yet to see Pompey, it perhaps wasn’t surprising that Reading – the
third-placed side – were just about the classiest opponents we’ve seen here
this season. It’s no fluke they’re where they are: their movement was
excellent, their speed often unanswerable, and even with ten men they often
seemed to have a man over. Or more.

But with goals at just the right times, and a committed performance all
around, we saw them off. Despite (or possibly because of) the quality of the
opposition, we were worth the win. If only we could produce this sort of
form against the likes of Stoke and Grimsby, we’d be challenging for the top
spots. For now, I don’t want to dwell on who we’ve got on Saturday, or what
the likely outcome’s going to be.

With Makin available, BFJ might easily have relieved Bam-Bam of his new
defensive duties, but instead the ex-Sunderland man (copyright TWTD) got to
try another position, left-back in a 4-4-2. All this meant Matt (oh how we
need another two of you) could go back in a midfield which was strung across
in a straight line in an attempt to prevent Matt and Jim from getting in
each other’s way. Again.

Generally, it all worked well, especially the possession game. Although the
forwards were poor, they kept Reading’s defence busy enough to allow the
midfielders to come through (no surprises then as to the source of the
goals). The defence was very narrow, with the central boys needing a lot of
support, which let Reading have free range down the flanks. But theirs is
not a crossing game, and that turned out to be to our advantage. We should
have had two penalties too, but it all added up to a great evening’s
entertainment.

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

MARSHALL 7 (3/4): Pretty good. My initial reaction to the goal was that he’d
done his best after the defence had failed to pick up either of the Reading
attackers. But watching the video, I have to say he might have held on to
the shot. However, by that stage he’d already made two superb saves. All in
all, a good night for Andy.

WILNIS 8 (4/4), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), GAARDSOE 6 (3/3), MAKIN 8 (4/4): The
full-backs both had a lot of covering to do alongside a very shaky central
pairing, which was neither communicating well nor able to deal with the
pacy, direct running of the Reading forwards. To be fair, Bam-Bam grew in
confidence and I’m sure with a bit more experience may have found a new
home, but I just wish we weren’t having to experiment like this at such a
crucial time. Full marks to both Wilnis and Makin for some tremendous
covering play, and good reading of the game too.

REUSER 6 (3/3), HOLLAND 7 (4/3), MAGILTON 6 (3/3), WRIGHT 6 (4/2): You could
be forgiven for thinking someone else was occupying Reuser’s shirt tonight.
On the one hand, he put in fewer balls into the area in 90 minutes than he’s
been doing as a late substitution; on the other hand, he was tracking back
and making tackles all match long. Most odd. Matt played like the boss,
which was great to see again. Jim and Jermaininho were busy throughout, if
unspectacular.

Marcus BENT 5 (3/2), COUNAGO 4 (2/2): Marcus worked at a reasonable pace all
game long, which is rare, but although he occupied the Reading defence, he
never threatened the goal seriously, and surely that’s something a big
centre-forward simply has to do? With a good partner working off him, he
might have achieved more, but Pablo was on a different planet for most of
the game, not just to Marcus but to the rest of the team too. A couple of
mazy runs, but in the end, even less threatening to the Reading goal than
Marcus.

Sub: Darren BENT came on for Counago, and was a lot more direct and
threatening, although also with little end-product. But at least he gave the
midfield something to aim at.

The REFEREE was irritating, several times giving free kicks when advantage
should have been played. He bottled out of giving the penalty when Reuser
was clearly bundled over, and ignored his linesman for the handball one. At
least he took advice when it came to the sending-off. The CROWD 6 (3/3) were
OK, although far from noisy enough to impress (let alone silence) the
Reading contingent. But the roar at the end was heartfelt – a must-win game,
and a win it was. This season could still go to the wire.

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