Ipswich Town 1 Bolton 3
Ah, the romance and glamour of the FA Cup. Well, perhaps not. If you’re one
of those people who thinks it matters (and we’d all like to think we are), I
respectfully suggest you’re deluding yourself: whereas against Wigan and
West Ham I was screaming at players to get stuck in right to the end, today
I had to look away whenever a player went to ground. Don’t get yourselves
injured in a cup game, lads. It just isn’t worth it.
And of course the only thing worse than getting injuries in a cup game
(promotion-wise) would be a bloomin’ replay. Joe certainly didn’t want one
of those. After an hour, if anyone looked like scoring it probably wasn’t
the Premiership side, so you’d expect more of the same from Ipswich in the
last thirty minutes. Except that might have meant the dreaded draw. So Joe
went goals-or-bust by changing to 4-3-3. The result, within minutes, was
bust. Big style. But that, it would seem, was preferable to a trip to the
However, let’s rewind to the start, and an unorthodox choice of defensive
lineup. With Bam-Bam unfit, Joe decided against a straight replacement
(Aidan Collins), instead going for the less conventional approach of moving
play-anywhere-Fab into the middle and giving Scott Mitchell a first chance
at right-back. He was a player many of us wanted to see, so there were few
complaints. Tommy Miller took his turn at being the rested midfielder. In
addition, Danny Karbasiyoon got another run-out instead of Matt Richards.
Bolton were a fairly ordinary outfit, but in truth they’d come for a one-nil
win and none of their team seemed to be giving his all. Their approach was
definitely one of containment, knowing they’d probably get chances on the
break, and that’s exactly what happened. So although our more enterprising
approach and commitment meant that we shaded the first half, I doubt there
was any concern in the away dressing room at half-time.
Then came the change of tactics; we stretched things out but allowed them to
run at us on the break, and they responded as if that’s just what they’d
wanted us to do. One-two-three, all over. Shame really, but no disgrace. The
real excitement is still to come.
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)
DAVIES 6 (3/3): Competent enough throughout; left wide open for the goals.
MITCHELL 6 (4/2), WILNIS 6 (3/3), DE VOS 7 (3/4), KARBASIYOON 6 (3/3): Well
done to Fab for filling a strange role, against a Premiership attack,
without looking particularly out of place. And neither of the inexperienced
full-backs looked out of their depth either, which was most encouraging.
Mitchell in particular played very coolly, but let his concentration slip in
the second half (and he knew it), presenting Bolton with the first goal and
playing a part in the second. No reason why he can’t progress a la Richards,
if given a chance.
HORLOCK 4 (2/2), MAGILTON 5 (3/2), WESTLAKE 7 (4/3), CURRIE 6 (3/3):
The more experienced players were the weaker links again today, giving the
ball away far too frequently. We missed Miller’s ball-winning, although
there was a full-on performance from Westy, who probably shades it as my
MotM (and apologies for not giving him sufficient credit on New Year’s Day).
When Kev or Jim got the ball, it was all a bit too predictable.
KUQI 7 (4/3), BENT 5 (3/2): I don’t think many of Bolton’s cosmopolitan
lineup had come up against the like of Shefki too often, and his charging
around caught them by surprise a bit. Later relegated to a wide role, where,
as ever, he drifted out of the game. Dazza disappointed yet again, despite
showing some electrifying pace on a couple of occasions. Sadly the Bolton
defenders were usually one step ahead.
Subs: COUNAGO was as one-dimensional as ever (back to the goal, turn, fall
over) but created our goal by holding it well and laying it back to MILLER,
who injected a bit of liveliness into the midfield proceedings, but alas,
too late. RICHARDS got a late run-out.
The REFEREE had a quiet afternoon, and the CROWD seemed a little unmotivated
too, although the constant baiting of the execrable DIOUF was excellent
(“Spit in a minute, he’s gonna spit in a minute”). Bolton claim he’s being
“singled out for unfair treatment”. Can’t be unfair enough in my opinion.