The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Gillingham 4

A mediocre performance turned into a disastrous result by a succession of
criminal errors at the back. We all laugh about the “Curse of the Manager of
the Month Award” but sometimes you have to wonder if there’s something in
it. The manager couldn’t take any of the blame for the errors, but he failed
to sort out a ramshackle midfield and somehow contrived to make our left
side vanish from the game with some curious orders late on.

The game will probably be described as a thriller for the neutral and all
that, but the football was pretty shoddy all around. We’re now far and away
the highest scorers in the division, but it’s hard to see how. There’s no
width whatsoever, unless Kuqi goes off on some rampage down the wing, and if
he does that, we look a bit thin in the centre. Magilton, Wright, Miller,
Bart-Williams, Westlake: all are competent central midfielders, but that’s
about all. Oh, how Alan Mahon has made a difference.

Gillingham were pretty ordinary (how many times have we said that about the
opposition this season?) but made the most of their gift-wrapped
opportunities and it was hard to complain about them being two-one up at
half-time. We improved for a long period in the second half, but having got
back to three-all with 15 minutes to go, it should have been ours for the
taking. Instead, we seemed to lose impetus, and continued to panic at the
back every time Gillingham closed us down, which was most of the time.
They’d probably have taken a draw if offered one at almost any time in the
match, and it says everything that their winner came from one of their
players taking the ball into the corner to waste time, and our defence
deciding to let him take it into the penalty area instead.

So, stattos, the boss gets the Manager of the Month Award, we promptly lose
our next game dismally, then what normally happens?

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

DAVIS 6 (3/3): One cracking save; will be disappointed to have picked the
ball out of the net so many times, but he wasn’t given much chance on at
least three of their goals.

WILNIS 5 (2/3), SANTOS 5 (2/3), NAYLOR 4 (3/1), RICHARDS 4 (2/2): Rubbish
across the board, although the full-backs were at least reasonably competent
for the first part of the match. Fab, to be fair, was quite steady and got
forward well in the second half, but seemed to go home five minutes before
the end and gave away their winner. Bam-Bam did his most basic defensive
duties reasonably, but then kept giving the ball away, twice with
catastrophic effects; a real afternoon to forget. Matt started off brightly,
forming a solid partnership with Ian Westlake, but faded right out as he got
pushed up towards the end of the game, leaving Georges horribly exposed as
the entire left half of the defence. The big guy looked shattered well
before the end.

MAGILTON 5 (3/2), BART-WILLIAMS 4 (2/2), WRIGHT 5 (2/3), WESTLAKE 5 (3/2):
If ever there was a need for Jermaininho to have come good and stamped his
authority on the midfield, today would have been a good day, but he never
really rose to the occasion. Still, he looked pretty good in comparison to
Chris B-W, who had a stinker and was justifiably substituted after hardly
finding a colleague all match. Jim huffed and puffed but didn’t really
create much, and Ian, although looking useful in the first half, faded badly
towards the end when Matt seemed to have been sent ahead of him.

KUQI 6 (3/3), COUNAGO 6 (3/3): Disjointed but reasonable performances from
the front two. Both had several great moments, but both were very isolated
and worked quite hard for little reward. Pablo’s general attitude was a
definite improvement, although as usual he was never prepared to go the
extra yard. Shefki’s one of those players who you want to succeed, but far
too much never quite comes off. I guess we’ve seen him enough times now to
make a judgement, but if so, it’s hard to pretend he’s the answer to our
problems. But then again, with the number of goals we’ve scored this season,
and the even more astonishing figure of the number of different goalscorers,
perhaps there’s not a problem anyway.

Subs: MILLER was a definite improvement on the hapless Bart-Williams,
although he played in a very advanced position and left some big gaps behind

The REFEREE was petty, and wound up the crowd with an endless succession of
irritating decisions.

The CROWD were noisy throughout, and deserved better. The Diallo supporters
from Mechelen with their huge “we’ll never forget you” banner were a great
sight to see in the North, and seemed to be having a lot of fun outside the
ground beforehand. A lot more fun than we had going home, anyway.

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