The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Preston NE 0

Which team was this we were watching then? Not any Ipswich side I can
recognise of late. Yes, that’s right, a good, old-fashioned, unremarkable
two-nil home win. Wow. Lots to talk about though.

With Kuqi suspended, Joe opted for Counago to partner Dazza but curiously
put no recognised strikers (unless you count Reuser) on the bench. We all
wondered what would happen if one of the front men had to go off
(particularly Counago), but Joe had a Cunning Plan which seems awfully like
the sort of thing you’d come up with if you’d all been on holiday together
for a few days and had a few brainstorming sessions (or revealing chats).
Yes, Bam-Bam had been dropped, it seems, because he’s now the substitute
centre-forward. Hasn’t he been there before? Also dropped was Chris B-W;
presumably Joe’s now a convert to the “Jim or Chris? Either but not both”
school of thought which is popular in the bar discussions around the ground.

The first half was poor, although we ran around a lot, and Preston were
fairly solid. I think both sides had about one shot on target, although that
may be generous. We even got through the first-half injury time without
conceding a goal (just), which was a big step forward.

We started off a little more brightly in the second half, but it was the
substitutions (Bam-Bam, and to a lesser extent Chris B-W) which put us a
class above by the end. We made a decent number of chances and stuck away
two, all the while with an uncharacteristically sound defence behind it all.
Yep, the back four genuinely inspired confidence throughout the side. A
one-off, or a transformation? We shall see.

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

DAVIS 7 (3/4): A blinding save in the second half, which was so quick it may
well not be appreciated for what it was. And some first-class kicking when
under pressure too.

WILNIS 5 (2/3), McGREAL 7 (3/4), SANTOS 7 (3/4), RICHARDS 7 (4/3): I have to
dock Johnny Mac an effort-point for losing his rag (under extreme
provocation from this weeks Tit-in-Silver-Boots), otherwise it was a
towering performance from the central pairing, which must be about the
fifteenth permutation we’ve tried this season, but one of the best. Matt
seemed to be inspired by the solidity alongside him, and the line held
reliably firm for a decent offside trap on many occasions.

MILLER 5 (3/2), WRIGHT 6 (3/3) , MAGILTON 6 (3/3) , WESTLAKE 5 (2/3): A
reasonable performance across the middle, without ever being spectacular,
and all had some appalling attempts on goal (of which Jim’s at the start was
the most cringeworthy). Respect to Westy for his involvement in both goals,
although he was bypassed a bit with Richards being so positive.

COUNAGO 3 (1/2), BENT 7 (4/3): One of the worst performances I can remember
from Pablo, and how he got a run-out after the break, only Joe knows. In
fact, the ten minutes he lasted after half time probably represented his
least-awful part of the match. As he ran to the tunnel at half-time, Mogga
sprinted out to put an arm around him and chat to him as he walked in, and
of course the wags were all saying “he’s probably telling him that the car’s
warmed up and Mrs C has been told to put the kettle on”. But until that
point, if he received the ball twenty times, he’d given it away 18 times and
been fouled the other two. Darren ran his heart out but was regularly up
against a fabulous defender I hadn’t come across before called Claude Davis.
If and when we ever get the transfer chequebook back, yes please.

Coming on for Pablo, NAYLOR had an easy act to follow, it has to be said,
but nevertheless, he was inspired, back up front. It sounds too simple to be
true, but it was almost as if playing at the back for six months has taught
him what defenders want their strikers to do, as time and time again he made
sweeping diagonal runs which gave the players behind him the most obvious of
targets. He always used to come on as sub and give the game a kick up the
backside, and nothing’s changed. BART-WILLIAMS replaced Jim towards the end
at a point when the captain was clearly knackered, and although he didn’t do
anything spectacular, it produced a further major improvement right through
the team, which really started to string together an impressive passing
game. I’m not sure why he had this effect, but perhaps it was because Jim
seems to make everything go through him, even if he’s lagging behind the
play, whereas with Chris, the rest of the team seemed happy to get on and Do
It themselves.

The REFEREE was pretty good, and thank goodness he decided not to book
McGreal and Cresswell for the “afters” which followed a yellow-card tackle
from John …or it would have been red, naturally. It was actually sensible
reffing though. The linesmen let him down a bit though.

The CROWD were quiet again, but I guess there wasn’t quite the excitement
we’ve been used to of late. Still, I’ll settle for a few more of these.

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