The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Coventry 2 Ipswich Town 4

When you get to as few away games as my parental responsibilities restrict
me to nowadays, you want them to be memorable, and at a quarter to four this
afternoon, today looked like it was only going to be memorable as the one
where our play-offs hope finally died. For 45 minutes we had been awful,
with not a single redeeming performance amongst the eleven shirts. In the
tea bar the conversations tended to be: “let’s face it, we now have to score
three times in 45 minutes to keep the season alive, and it just ain’t gonna
happen, is it?” But it did, and it was a memorable afternoon for the right
reasons after all.

Quite what produced this transformation is debatable. Reuser coming on?
Sure, but he didn’t do it all himself. The change to 4-4-2? Possibly, but
we’d drifted that way before half-time anyway without any noticeable change.
Some sort of dressing-down by Royle at half-time? Surely skill and
commitment can’t play so small a part in our team’s performance that the
motivational aspects are the difference between being such a terrible team
and such a good one? Who knows. But we just picked Coventry off at will in
the second half, after offering hardly a single credible goal attempt in the
first. It was nothing short of astonishing.

Whatever the cause was, the effect in the second half was that we simply
took the game to Coventry, and didn’t let them come at us at all. And with a
defence as porous as ours, that’s surely the best policy. Coventry were
quite awful throughout the game, and we shouldn’t have allowed them a sniff
at goal, but we look likely to concede at the moment whenever we let any
team run at us. I addition to pushing forward, the strikers found some
(rare) confidence, and we also got some good fortune. The playoffs will
surely require 73 points, so we’ll need a lot more of that in the last four
games, but I guess anything is possible.

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

MARSHALL 6 (2/4): Yet again, a couple of good saves when needed, and his
distribution was much improved, but on the other hand he still seemed glued
to his line needlessly on occasions.

WILNIS 5 (3/2), NAYLOR 4 (2/2), GAARDSOE 6 (3/3), MAKIN 5 (3/2), RICHARDS 5
(3/2): The defence looked stretched against even the most tentative Coventry
attacks in the first half, with Naylor caught out several times, although he
shouldn’t be made the scapegoat. Richards again looked out of his depth,
despite trying gamely, and didn’t really contribute much in a second half
where – now as a right back – he had little to do defensively.

HOLLAND 6 (3/3), MILLER 4 (2/2), MAGILTON 6 (3/3) : Matt was always
effective in the small space around him, but had far less impact on the
wider match. Miller contributed very little, even when we took over the
match, but Jim managed to have a positive and productive game, which is
unusual with Matt in the midfield.

Marcus BENT 7 (3/4), COUNAGO 6 (3/3): Marcus worked reasonably hard
throughout, and kept the Coventry defence busy even in the first half when
we were getting nowhere. Missed the easiest chance of all, late on! Pablo
was terrific for much of the second half, but anonymous in the first, and I
have a feeling that his performances over the next four games, one way or
the other, are going to have the biggest impact on where we finish.

Sub: REUSER 7 (3/4) suddenly gave us the width and drive we’d been missing
and inspired others to do the same, without doubt. WRIGHT put in a solid
enough display, which was all that was needed, and BOWDITCH just had a cameo
couple of minutes.

Dear Mr Rennie, the REFEREE, had one of his uncontroversial games, enough
said. Our CROWD 7 (3/4) were there in big numbers and were pretty vociferous
and occasionally quite funny (“two-nil, and you ****ed it up”), in sharp
contrast to Coventry’s support, which has been draining away all season and
dwindled to almost nothing in the last twenty minutes. Their problems
probably aren’t as serious as ours, but I know which team I’d rather be a
supporter of tonight.

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