The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Sheffield Utd 0

On a day when for many of us, the rugby result meant that there was nothing
Ipswich could do to spoil things, the team went and did us proud regardless.
And in a way there was something quite reminiscent of the way in which the
England XV always seem to adapt their game to the opposition and conditions,
because against hard opposition and in some gloomy drizzle, we proved we
could mix it.

The quality of the football was fairly ordinary throughout, but there was
clearly some real tension between the two sets of players which stopped the
game becoming a forgettable one. In the end, the decisions the referee did
and didn’t give were probably critical, and both sides can have cause for
complaint, but in the conditions, he was probably to be commended for
letting a lot go.

On the plus side, we showed some real commitment in patches, and indeed, for
the ten minutes after half-time the midfield were as fired up as I can
remember seeing them for a long time. On the minus side, whilst we worried
them going forward with our speed and the spread of the play, there was
little cohesion or understanding and we only ever really looked dangerous
when we got a break. The second-half goals were good pieces of opportunism
though. All in all, an atypical performance but exactly what was needed on
the day. A slightly flattering scoreline, but we’ll take plenty more like
this, thanks.

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

DAVIS 7 (3/4): Two superb saves, one in each half, and some immaculate
distribution. Can’t ask for much more, really.

WILNIS 7 (4/3), SANTOS 7 (4/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 5 (3/2): Sometimes
our defence seems awfully thin but we’re getting away with it more often
than not. There was a lot of last-ditch stuff this afternoon, but it was
done immaculately. Georges in particular was immense, and really seemed to
have Sheffield rattled. Shame about some poor distribution, otherwise
excellent. Bam-Bam read the game well throughout, and Fab really worked his
socks off. Perhaps only Matt showed genuine defensive frailties too often: I
think he could be in real trouble if he was really attacked hard and
consistently by a good winger.

MAGILTON 7 (4/3), BART-WILLIAMS 8 (4/4), WRIGHT 7 (4/3), WESTLAKE 6 (3/3):
Chris followed up a dreadful last home game with a quite majestic one,
sitting really deep just in front of the defence but mopping up everything
which came his way. Matty Holland would have been proud of a performance
like this. Westy is starting to pop up in the right place at the right time
with encouraging frequency, and his goal was superb. Jim and Jermaininho
played interchangeable roles covering the centre and right of midfield, and
generally got away with it, without confusing each other or their colleagues
too much. I’m not sure quite why they were so up for it after half-time, but
it was great to watch, only disappointing when their vocal urging on of
colleagues became over-criticism of Matt Richards, which he didn’t need.

KUQI 5 (3/2), BENT 6 (4/2): Both worked hard without really delivering much,
but there was even less sign of a partnership than there has been between
Shefki and Pablo. Some tireless running from Darren, but he missed the best
chance which came his way, a one-on-one.

Subs: MILLER got a couple of minutes.

The REFEREE had a tough job, what with the conditions, some industrial-sized
quantities of “gamesmanship” from Sheffield, and the ever-whining Warnock
climbing our of the dugout and out of his pram. He irritated both sides with
some unnecessary yellow cards, and let a lot go, including penalty claims
from both sides. But generally OK, and probably wound up the opposition more
than us.

The CROWD were pretty good, although I have to say the Sheffield supporters
were the most vocal we’ve had all season, and did their team proud. Jim
found them easy to wind up though!

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