The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Stoke City 1

A decent game between two teams who both currently look like they deserve to be in the top six at the end of the season. Such as been our home form that we’re disappointed with a home draw now, even against opponents above us in the table. But to be honest, Stoke’s strengths include the sort of physical presence we always struggle against; couple that with their truly impressive workrate which shut most of our impact players right out of the game, and you have to conclude a draw was probably about right. Although I don’t particularly care for Stoke’s, er, robust style of play, either team could have got a winner, which speaks volumes for the way they continued to take the match to us.

Town started brightly and got better, peaking with the goal halfway through the first half, and continuing for another ten to fifteen minutes, by which time we were playing some really good football. We should have got a second in that period, without doubt. But Stoke continued to be positive, and their equaliser knocked us back. They slowly got a hold of our most promising attacking options (largely Danny Haynes), and we came out after half time looking quite devoid of ideas. The crowd encouraged Town back into the game, but it was the effort more than any inspiration which allowed us to shade the last quarter of the match.

Once again, the opposition seemed more intelligently marshalled, and whilst we played some nice stuff at times, we looked a little na├»ve as well. Playing two right-sided players down the left side looked as wasteful as ever, and so the only truly bright spot of the afternoon was the way Danny Haynes is now looking so much more confident. As has been the case in several recent seasons, there’s nothing to be scared of above us in the table. Automatic promotion is there for the taking for any of about ten teams, but if it’s to be us, we’re going to need to re-balance the squad and the manager’s going to need to take a little more action during the game.

Overall Town performance:
6/10 – decent commitment, but too many weak spots which went unremedied

Opposition quality:
8/10 – didn’t like them, but I bet we don’t face anyone better in the remaining nine home matches

Referee:
4/10 – dear dear, not good; kept things flowing, but wound up both sets of supporters with some mystifying decisions

Match excitement:
7/10 – pretty decent, with some much better noise from the home fans than before Christmas

Opposition supporters:
7/10 – average numbers, but as noisy as any for quite a while

Player ratings as ever 1 to 5 for each of effort/achievement…

ALEXANDER 7 (3/4) pulled off a stupendous save in each half, but on the debit side shouldn’t have let the goal in and had some bad mixups with the defence towards the end.

WRIGHT 7 (4/3); BRUCE 7 (4/3); DE VOS 7 (4/3) and SITO 7 (4/3) were all kept busy – and on the back foot – for most of the game, but looked solid for the most part.

WALTERS 5 (3/2) was as willing as ever, but just doesn’t seem to be able to make an impact on the game on the wrong wing; MILLER 5 (2/3) was subdued and needs to do more than just provide backup for the others; GARVAN 6 (3/3) was constantly involved but without creating the opportunities which we really need him to. HAYNES 7 (3/4) was man of the match; he did have some quiet periods, but really sparkled for much of the game, and has really found some confidence – it’s a shame that there was little going on in the centre, so any crossing usually turned out to be futile.

LEE 4 (2/2) was all too easily marked out of the game, was occasionally sloppy and seemed to have no alternatives to offer; and while COUNAGO 4 (3/1) at least seemed to make his markers work a bit harder with his movement, I can’t recall a game this season where he’s contributed less.

LEGWINSKI got a few minutes to show he’s a bit match-rusty. CLARKE got even less time to do anything (but to be honest, got as close to making a difference as the other two strikers had, combined).

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