The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 4 Watford 1

An unremarkable performance with a nice (but not extraordinary) scoreline,
but a match which will be remembered for a long time thanks to Deano’s
opportunism. Who knows, he might go on to great things and there’ll be
75,000 Town fans who’ll claim to have been there and have seen his
home-debut hat-trick. But we really were there, weren’t we kids?

Those of us who want to see all the youngsters given a start can go into
full “I told you so” overdrive. But I’m sure Joe will counter with the old
argument that if you don’t ease them in gently, they’ll never make this sort
of impact eventually. That said, you could draw a diagonal line across our
lineup today, with one side being the young players and the other side being
the old stagers …and guess which side made it all happen? I’m not saying
this was a particularly awesome performance – it wasn’t – but there was some
really encouraging stuff on display. And not just Deano’s headline grabbing
turn, but Matt, Westy and the rest of the under-21s.

It was a very conventional 4-4-2 with Jermaininho out wide on the right,
Tommy Miller in the centre and the two youngsters with the pace up front.
Matt Elliot made his first home start with Johnny Mac returning to make up
what must be the oldest central pairing we’ve had since Veno and Mogga’s
Indian summer. Things flowed fairly well, and the defence was steady, but
the midfield was rarely penetrating enough and it was the movement and
opportunism of the front two which eventually turned out to be the
difference between the teams. We won’t change the world (or even get to the
Premiership) with performances like this, but there were signs there today
that a decent team lurks within the chaos and inconsistency we’ve put up
with this year. A decent team which could take us through many years to
come, if the management has the courage to move on.

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

DAVIS 7 (3/4): Confident in testing conditions, and although rarely made to
work hard by Watford, couldn’t really have done much more.

WILNIS 5 (3/2), ELLIOT 7 (3/4), McGREAL 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 8 (4/4): Elliot
played exactly as you’d expect: a classy, experienced player employed to do
a solid, risk-free job. I don’t remember feeling as confident in an Ipswich
centre-half this season. Fab as ever looked fairly committed but didn’t
contribute much of interest; we’re used to every cross being hit straight
into the nearest defender but he actually did that with a shot today. Matt
continued the improvement of late, and really seems the part at the moment.
He hardly put a foot wrong, and his clearances under pressure are quite

WRIGHT 4 (2/2), MILLER 5 (3/2), MAGILTON 7 (4/3) , WESTLAKE 7 (4/3): Given
the pattern of the rest of the team, I’d have expected Jim to have had a
stinker today, but he was probably the pick of the midfield, constantly
making terrific space and rarely playing daft balls. Jermaine, on the other
hand, was atrocious. Negative, uninspired, and often lacking in commitment,
he needs to do a lot better than this.

BOWDITCH 9 (4/5), BENT 6 (3/3): The mark for Deano seems generous (I can
only remember giving 9/10 a couple of times before), but he did put in a 4
out of 5 level of commitment, and can you ask more of a striker than a
hat-trick? So 5/5 for achievement. Two (if not three) of the goals came from
defensive mistakes or hesitancy, but I can’t imagine Shefki or Pablo having
been in the right place at the right time. He won’t score a hat-trick every
week, but surely he’ll be in the starting lineup for the rest of the season
now he’s shown what can happen?

Subs: KUQI came on and ran around a bit, but far more excitingly, Scott
MITCHELL came on and looked like yet another real piece of class for the
future. Lovely first touch, loads of good movement, and bags of potential. I
thought he was a defender, but he came on for Jim and looked quite at home
in the midfield.

The REFEREE was hardly noticeable, so top marks.

The CROWD were OK, and had a lot of fun with the dodgiest goalkeeping
performance we’ve seen for a long, long time.

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