The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 2

Well, anyone just reading a 100-word Ceefax report must be thinking this was another Sheffield United – the similarities with that game from 18 months ago seem enormous – but in reality it wasn’t anything like that. I checked the report. We were great
that day after going behind in terms of goals and players. Today we were patchy in the first half and a shambles in the second. But – and this is a big but – somehow we managed to turn disaster into triumph with a couple of inspirational moments at the
end and the complicity of a Plymouth side who seemed determined not to walk off with the points.

To be fair, Joe played his part by making the necessary personnel management decisions promptly at half time. When you’re behind and a man down, you need 100% commitment and we had some wasters on the pitch and a benchful of players who you knew were far
more likely to die for the cause. The right changes were made and the results followed, even they took a long time coming. We showed some real bouncebackability.

Plymouth looked a useful outfit, and were generally neater and tidier with their play throughout. Even without being gifted a second goal, they might have won; Friio missed an absolute sitter. But they didn’t, and there’s no doubt the gods are smiling on
us at the moment. We’re going to have to play a lot better to maintain this incredible home record against the division’s form team on Tuesday. We probably will.

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

DAVIS 6 (3/3): Watched three or four decent long-range shots go just past his post; let’s assume he had them covered. Otherwise, like the Plymouth keeper, had little to do except pick the ball out of the net. The number of shots on target can barely have
exceeded the number of goals going in.

DIALLO 5 (3/2), DE VOS 5 (3/2), NAYLOR 6 (4/2), WILNIS: One of the poorest defensive performances of the season, it would seem. Plymouth focused on one of our weak spots, the left-back position, to good effect, and also broke through the offside trap
efficiently. De Vos uncharacteristically seemed panicky in the second half, and he wasn’t alone. Bam-Bam covered a lot of space and was the first to seem to rise to the challenge after Fab’s sending-off, but he made more mistakes than usual and his
distribution was generally clueless. Dizzy worked hard, and looked good going forward, but once Plymouth turned their attentions to him in the second half, he looked very vulnerable. And what to say about Fab? Stupid is the only word I can think of.
Stupid to get himself booked for dissent (I’m assuming it wasn’t for diving; he wasn’t badly fouled, if he was fouled at all) and even more stupid for making a horrible tackle. If that was a straight red, and I think it was, Matt Richards could have his
place back, unchallenged, for quite a while.

MILLER 5 (2/3), MAGILTON 7 (3/4), DINNING 3 (2/1), HORLOCK 6 (3/3): Jim’s influence became clear when he went off after an hour, because we hadn’t got any ideas after that. Benty saw so little of the ball in the second half that you wonder if anyone ever
passes to him other than Jim. Miller and Horlock, whose better performances have (not coincidentally) coincided with the team’s this season, never really got to grips with having to carry Dinning and contend with five Plymouth midfielders, and both were
quiet. But at least they made some contribution, unlike the hopeless Dinning, who we surely will have seen the last of now. Listless for the first twenty minutes, when subsequently we lost a man and really needed everyone to get stuck in, he just seemed
to become even more disinterested. Taking him off at half-time must have been one of the easier decisions Joe’s had to make this year.

COUNAGO 4 (2/2), BENT 8 (4/4): Talking of not standing up and being counted, Pablo just made you want to go down on the pitch and give him a good slapping. He contributed less in 45 minutes than Shefki did in the first 60 seconds of the second half. Time
and time again, Benty would take away defenders, look over his shoulder into the space created to see if someone had made the most of it, and there was nobody to be seen. Darren deserved better for a tireless performance in the first half, when at times
he looked a class above almost everything else on the pitch. In the second half he saw little of the ball though; it was a real mess behind him, and most of the stuff he had to chase was little more than a succession of hurried clearances. But he came
back to play a crucial part in the amazing last ten minutes.

Subs: RICHARDS 6 (3/3) was uncomfortable with the nervousness across the defence in general, but he upped the overall commitment level for the second half, allowing Horlock to play a proper midfield role again instead of Dinning. WESTLAKE got thirty
minutes and again, looked more up for it than what had gone before. And what can you say about KUQI 9 (5/4)? He gave 100% when we needed it most, and although he didn’t set the world on fire for the most part, any player who scores two (cracking) goals
late on can’t be given less than 4 out of 5 for results. Whilst I’d opt for Shefki’s effort over Pablo’s attitude every time, I’ll admit Pablo’s fan club have got a point when they say “he may not look like he wants to die for the cause, but who cares if
he pops up to score a goal when it matters?” Well, today Shefki got the results too, while Pablo made no impact at all. No contest.

The REFEREE annoyed the crowd more than was probably fair. I don

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