The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 6 Burnley 1

A fluke? Or is it all starting to come together? I’d like to think it’s more
of the latter. The team looked like a really solid unit tonight, and perhaps
the only fluke was that the first half was one of those times when
everything seems to go in. Goodness knows we’ve had enough of them when
nothing seems to go in (we’ve had plenty of halves in the past where we’ve
created more chances than the first 45 minutes of this match, yet failed to
score, never mind put five away).

After the Leicester massacre last season where only one goal went in at our
end, it’s nice to have had the option of titling this report “View from the
Stand where nearly all the goals went in”. And there were some good ones
too, particularly Pablo’s pair.

I can’t remember in over 30 years of watching the Town seeing us 5-0 (yes,
that’s “five”) up at half-time, although over to the list stattos for
comments on that one. It was almost inevitable that the second half wouldn’t
follow suit – they never do – but despite playing it much more cagily, we
still produced a lot more chances, only this time they didn’t fall for us.
And in the words of King George, “all credit to the Burnley lads” for the
way they got themselves together after the first-half nightmare.

So was there any major difference between this game and others recently
where we’ve not got as conclusive a result? Not really, although there’s
certainly a progression in the way we’re playing. And mention should be made
of Burnley’s injury crisis. I think there was more confidence in the side,
and perhaps the difference was in the individual performances of a couple of
players who really haven’t done their best this year. Let’s do it again on
Saturday and see.

It must be a few years since we were the division’s top scorers, too.

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

DAVIS 6 (3/3): Didn’t have to do anything spectacular, but that’s not his
fault, and distribution was, once again, pretty good.

WILNIS 6 (3/3), SANTOS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), RICHARDS 5 (3/2): A quiet
day at the office for most of the defence, especially Fab, who hardly had
anything to do. Bam-Bam made a couple of errors, especially with his
distribution, and Matt still looks weak when being run at.

MAHON 6 (3/3), BART-WILLIAMS 6 (3/3), MAGILTON 4 (2/2), WRIGHT 7 (4/3): A
much more solid performance from the midfield than their dreadful display in
the last home game, characterised by Jermaininho’s non-stop running. You
know he’s had a good game when all the detractor boys around me start making
sarcastic comments about whether it was the real Jermaine or not. Chris
probably has more of an effect on the game than his relatively unspectacular
performances would indicate, although tonight was not one of those games
where Jim seemed able to take advantage of his presence. In fact, Jim looked
finished after about half an hour, and BFJ was obliged to take him off
before the end, a move which might be one of the most significant of the
evening: until now, he’s been reluctant to take the skipper off even if he
looks like he needs it. And the way he completely lost his temper before
half-time, albeit after a nasty tackle, was not something we need. Many refs
would have sent him off for his prolonged over-reaction, which even the
booking didn’t stop.

KUQI 7 (4/3), COUNAGO 8 (4/4): Shefti doesn’t half cover some ground for a
big bloke. You can’t fault his effort. His covering at the back is
extraordinary at times. Doesn’t have the killer touch in front of goal, and
certainly doesn’t (yet) seem to me to have a really good understanding with
Pablo, but you can’t help but like the guy. Talking of which… Pablo was
great. There. I’ve said it. My therapy has begun. But nobody can tell me
this was the same Pablo we’ve been seeing since last Christmas. No throwing
himself to the ground every time he got near enough to smell a defender. No
whingeing to the ref. He tormented the Burnley defence all game, just like
we always hoped he could, and whilst he didn’t put in the frantic effort
which Shefti did, he paced himself well. And took his two goals excellently.
It was a great performance and I’m glad to be able to say so.

Subs: Gerard NASH came on for Santos, who we’re told wasn’t fit in the first
place, and looked encouragingly solid in the centre. WESTLAKE came on for
Jim and really got stuck in. Deserved a late goal too.

The REFEREE had little to do, and to his credit, did little. If only all
were like that.

The CROWD were astonishingly quiet in the first half, but perhaps they were
simply astonished. Perked up in the second half when things weren’t going
our way quite as much!

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