Ipswich Town 2 Derby Co 0
A solid, well-deserved victory – our third two-nil at home this season, and it’s probably no coincidence that these have been three of the most satisfying performances too. The team all seemed up for it, and although Derby were poor (was Wrighty’s easy save at the end the only one he had to make?), we didn’t do anything silly, as is so often the case against unimpressive opposition. There was a lot of very slow build-up play, and although we found it tough to create openings at the front, we were very patient. A boring summary, I know, but there was no getting away from the fact that this was workmanlike and professional.
Overall Town performance:
7/10 – Totally in control
4/10 – They ought to be a lot better than this (although it would seem they have been of late)
6/10 – Had a very easy afternoon until he decided he was too cold and headed off for an early bath
6/10 – Didn’t raise my spirits quite enough to make me forget how freezing it was, but at the moment I’d happily trade a few thrills for such a controlled display
5/10 – Seemed bored by the match, dejected by their team’s display and disappointed by the increasingly laid-back Portman Road atmosphere
Player ratings as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…
WRIGHT 7 (4/3) had nothing to do in terms of shot-stopping, but his aerial handling – when called on – was very impressive
WRIGHT 7 (4/3) looked more comfortable back on the right, and it was good to see him there again too – no surprise that one of the goals came from him getting to the byline; NAYLOR 6 (3/3) and BRUCE 6 (3/3) dealt with everything nicely, and we didn’t seem to miss McCauley at all except for his set-piece attacking presence; but I wasn’t so sure about THATCHER 5 (3/2), who was beaten a few times, something worrying for an out-and-out full-back who attempts so little coming forward.
NORRIS 7 (4/3) worked his socks off, and is perhaps starting to show us at last why he came with such a good reputation from the people who watch him week-in week-out; SHUMULIKOSKI 6 (3/3) looked solid and continues to work well with GARVAN 6 (3/3), who didn’t have one of his commanding performances, but barely put a foot wrong. However, the guy we all came to see, of course, was AMBROSE 7 (3/4) who looks every bit as classy as the kid who we all remember. Somehow he looked like a player who’s come back from a long spell out of the game or something like that, and needs to regain some confidence, but you can see the talent is clearly there if it can somehow be brought back to life.
WALTERS 6 (3/3) is – as we all know – not quite as effective aerially in a more static central position, and frequently wandered out wide, but although he looked more threatening there, it did leave us looking a bit thin in the centre; COUNAGO 6 (3/3) scurried around a lot and scored the fox-in-the-box goal we’ve been needing a striker to score frequently, but he’ll never be that player, and we’re not playing to his strengths at the moment.
From the bench, STEAD didn’t really improve on Pablo’s strike rate; MILLER and LISBIE didn’t have the time to do anything.