Ipswich Town 2 Wolves 1
Ooh, it’s good to be back. Probably the best home performance I’ve seen
since Sunderland last April, a match which also produced a scoreline which
wasn’t nearly as convincing as we deserved. Although we fell away in the
last half-hour, we pinged it around like champions for most of the first
half, and the all-round commitment left nothing to complain about. Only
Shirley’s inability to deflect even the easiest of the endless succession of
centres into the gaping Wolves net stopped it being umpteen-one well before
Although we didn’t see the return of the three-up-front necessitated
previously by Jim’s absence, the speed of Dazza and Shirley’s endless
running combined with the extra midfielder proved even more incisive.
Lescott’s probably the best defender in the division, and although he’s been
out for a long time, Dazza gave him the most torrid reintroduction.
But it was our midfield which really shone. All four worked their socks off.
In particular, by covering acres of space behind and ahead of Jim, Horlock
seemed to allow Jim’s strengths to shine through in a way which never
happened when he was teamed up with Chris Bart-Williams last year.
Only the full-backs looked dodgy, but perhaps understandably as one of
them’s a centre-half and the other is playing on completely the wrong side.
Fortunately by the time an distinctly average-looking Wolves team worked out
that they could skin Fab at will, there were only ten minutes to go. Of
course, that gave us the normal nail-biting end to the game which should
never have been allowed to happen, but we’re used to that, aren’t we?
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)
DAVIS 6 (3/3): Did his bit – which wasn’t much – without too much fuss or
DIALLO 6 (3/3), DE VOS 7 (4/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), WILNIS 5 (3/2): A solid
performance across the defence, especially in the centre where almost all
Wolves’ attacks were focused, thankfully.
MILLER 9 (5/4), MAGILTON 7 (3/4), HORLOCK 7 (4/3), WESTLAKE 8 (4/4):
Outstanding commitment across the park, particularly from Tommy, who was
digging out great tackles right to the final whistle. And a great penalty
too. Jim created a lot, and always seemed to find his new central midfield
partner always in the right place, whether it was forty metres ahead of him
or ten behind. All four of them missed really good chances, but I won’t mark
midfielders down for that.
KUQI 6 (4/2), BENT 8 (4/4): On the other hand, as the centre-forward, I just
have to mark Shefki down for failing to connect with chance after chance.
Sure, he often did tremendously well to get into position to meet the
centres, but never seemed to be able to contort himself to connect with
them. Great running from the strikers throughout though. Darren got credited
with what was surely an own-goal, but I guess the club were hoping for a
hat-trick to put another half-million on the transfer fee – ker-ching! – and
were doing anything they could to help. If Alan Curbishley was watching, I
guess he’ll be on the phone again first thing in the morning. Terrific
performance – hope it’s not his last one for us.
Subs: DINNING came on for the last 20 minutes before Jim got over-tired. I’d
rather have seen Jim get tired, frankly. Looked as clueless as he did in the
Forest game, when at least he had the excuse of not having met the rest of
the team. I asked a Wolves-supporting mate afterwards why their supporters
were giving him some stick, and was told: “We wasted