Ipswich Town 3 Barnsley 0
Not sure what to make of this one. We got a far more sensible team selection than Saturday, and for periods of the match we tried to pass the ball around, so a big improvement in Jim’s performance, for sure. Individually, the players’ performances were unremarkable, but they were definitely better than the sum of their parts. The defence still looks worryingly shaky at times (and yet, as was pointed out to me this morning, only three teams have let in fewer goals); the midfield made far too many mistakes (and yet somehow didn’t get overrun); and the attack was stretched out over far too wide an area (although they still managed to create chances through individual effort).
But it has to be admitted, this was one of the most flattering scorelines you’ll ever see: Barnsley are a half-decent, well-marshalled side who showed us how to move the ball around and read the game well; they forced two or three good saves out of Wrighty, and gifted us two goals with some of the finest comedy goalkeeping any of us will ever be privileged to see. But if we just take away two things from the game (a confidence boost from the score, and a lesson learned for Jim about sensible team selection) then we can perhaps put the Palace game behind us.
Overall Town performance:
5/10 – back to where we were a couple of weeks ago, which is a small step forward
7/10 – can someone please explain why they’re where they are in the league?
7/10 – generally decent, although he had little to do; pedantic with a couple of free kicks
6/10 – not thrilling, but memorable for the comedy goalkeeping, and to see a Barnsley substitute who presumably isn’t due to sit his GCSEs until the end of the season
5/10 – about 100 of ‘em tops, but big respect anyway for making the trip
Player ratings as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…
WRIGHT 7 (3/4) avoided any howlers for once, while still producing the two or three good saves he’s been reliably coming up with each game
BRUCE 6 (3/3) didn’t bomb forward like he did on Saturday, but did a job; NAYLOR 6 (3/3) and McCAULEY 6 (3/3) were also fairly solid, although it was disappointing that the long punts upfield still persisted, something I’d have hoped having Campo there might have sorted out; and WRIGHT 6 (3/3) didn’t do anything wrong either.
WALTERS 6 (3/3) didn’t see enough of the ball to make the impact you know he can; CAMPO 5 (3/2) was something of an enigma – on one hand, he got involved and had some presence, but his passing was often wayward to say the least; GARVAN 5 (2/3) took three-quarters of the match to come alive, and didn’t look like he enjoyed playing with Campo; but QUINN 7 (4/3) was more consistently impressive with his workrate, if not the impact on the game.
COUNAGO 4 (2/2) had a strange game, starting off dropping way back into midfield (and contributing quite effectively), then moving forward – perhaps under orders – to where he should be and disappearing from the game for the next hour, and finally getting more involved but continually running into trouble; meanwhile STEAD 5 (2/3) while not imposing himself on proceedings, did manage to be in the right place at the right time again.
From the bench, LISBIE and NORRIS both looked like they had something to prove, but didn’t set the world alight; I suspect Jim thinks the best striking combination we have is Counago behind Lisbie (as he tried on Saturday) but whether the theory is supported by reality is yet to be seen. HAYNES got two minutes to say hello.