The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 3 Preston NE 0

A satisfying overall performance against a team who epitomised the term
“there for the taking”. Plenty of chances, a scoreline distorted by a
dreadful linesman, but a fair result, on balance.

We started off with what may be Joe’s first-choice lineup (the keeper apart)
but ended the afternoon with a looming injury crisis, such is the
shallowness of the squad. Matt Richards was left on the bench and Wilnis
restored to the team on the wrong side so Diallo could continue to cement
his claim to the right-back position. Tuesday night’s selection should be
interesting then, after Fab was carried off and Dizzy turned in a dreadful
display reminiscent of the ones last season which had us all wondering what
on earth the club had seen in him.

How the game remained scoreless for so long is a mystery. Preston offered
little, but we seemed determined to present them with the ball and a run at
goal at every opportunity. Meanwhile we had even more goal attempts
ourselves, but contrived to waste them all. And it should be noted that the
majority of these were from our more direct route-one moves, something I
don’t think we should be too embarrassed to make the most of with
hard-working ball-winners like Shefki and Dazza up front.

The linesman by the tunnel made three howlers: firstly not spotting that a
Preston goal-line clearance was about a metre over the line; secondly
failing to flag a clear shove on Dazza when through on goal; and finally
missing the fact that Shefki controlled the ball with his hand before
scoring. The fact that these things tended to even themselves out is not an
excuse.

In the second half, various reorganisations meant we could never drive home
the advantage, but nor (fortunately) were we able to settle and get
complacent. Miller, who’d been playing right midfield, went off with a
knock, so Richards came on as the left midfielder, and the other three moved
over one position. This had two effects. The good one was that Westlake
found himself in a more central role, where his forward running turned out
to be excellent. The bad one was that Uncle Jim went wide right and formed
the most comically inept partnership with Dizzy for a few minutes, which
Preston only just managed to contrive not to take advantage of.

Next, Jim went off and we went 4-3-3 with Deano, and finally Fab got injured
and Joe opted to bring Pablo on and go 4-2-4 rather than the only remaining
alternative, which would have been Aidan Collins and a curious 5-2-3.
Anyway, it was all fairly academic by then, the three points were in the
bag. But it won’t be as easy against Sheffield United.

Some ratings:
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)

PRICE 7 (3/4): Pretty competent all round, although not given the sternest
of tests. His clearances under pressure are worryingly poor, but his kicking
from open play is the best from a Town keeper for years, unerringly giving
the strikers a direct chance just outside the other penalty area.

DIALLO 4 (2/2), DE VOS 5 (3/2), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), WILNIS 5 (2/3): Dizzy
couldn’t mark his man, couldn’t make a tackle, and couldn’t do anything
right. One to forget. Naylor overcommitted himself coming forward too many
times, and De Vos has to be pulled up for not covering well enough when this
happened. Fab was pretty anonymous.

MILLER 6 (3/3), MAGILTON 5 (3/2), HORLOCK 7 (4/3), WESTLAKE 8 (4/4): The
midfield played very tight down the middle; you wouldn’t describe Miller or
Westlake as playing wide at any stage. But when Westy got a free reign to
attack down the middle in the second half he looked like a real asset.
Nothing seemed to come off for Jim all afternoon, but Horlock, who seems to
have become “Trevor” round our way for some reason, more than compensated.

KUQI 7 (4/3), BENT 7 (3/4): You wouldn’t describe these two as a pairing,
but individually they created all sorts of problems, and right through the
ninety minutes. Shefki never stopped working hard for a moment, and Dazza’s
ball-winning in the air was almost as impressive as his pace today.

Subs: RICHARDS didn’t let anyone down, but didn’t look too comfortable as a
makeshift midfielder. BOWDITCH seemed lively; COUNAGO seemed to give up
before he’d even started.

The REFEREE kept things moving well, although badly let down by the
aforementioned assistant. The CROWD had an average afternoon.

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