The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 3 Derby Co 2

One of the best games of the season, if not the best, in terms of
sheer footballing excitement. Excellent performance from the boys too,
against a slick Derby side who came with an attacking plan to beat us
(which deserved better, even if the best team on the day won). We had
more decent chances on goal than in the Forest game, incredibly: there
were five in the first half which either hit the woodwork, were
cleared off the line or someone got within inches of converting. And
you really wouldn’t have put money on the only goalscorer being Jim!
[Q: When was Jim’s last home goal?]

For the first fifteen minutes or so, we were poor though. Derby’s plan
to attack both fullbacks looked worryingly effective, especially on
our left, where Unsworth was static and was given no support from
Currie in a manner which can only be described as Reuser-esque. On the
back foot, we’re not a happy bunch.

Things changed dramatically as the half wore on. Kuqi, who had been
uncharacteristically quiet until then, suddenly sprang to life.
Westlake was pushed out wide to sort out the massive holes
being left by the lethargic Currie. We took the game back to Derby,
and on a lucky day would have had four or five by half-time (although
Derby, equally, might have had a few). The equaliser was magnificent:
a typical charging-rhinocerous run from Kuqi down the wing, a fine
pass to Dazza, and an unselfish layoff to a grateful Jim, who slotted
home from Miller-esque range.

In the second half we continued as we left off, with relentless
pressure which was a pleasure to watch. Derby attacked too,
and it brought back memories of the last couple of seasons: goals
could (and more should) have gone in at both ends. Given the number of
chances we’d missed, it would have been criminal if we’d thrown the
game away, but in the end there was only a late save from Davies
between the two teams.

Now we just have to win all six remaining games and it’s automatic
promotion, whatever happens elsewhere. Ah, just work it out for
yourself.

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

DAVIES 6 (3/3): Tough one to call – great save from a second-half
free-kick, and a match-saving one at the end, but to be beaten by two
looping headers in one game must have been a bit disappointing.

WILNIS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), DE VOS 4 (2/2), UNSWORTH 4 (2/2):
Unsteady performances across the back, with Jason looking particularly
shaky at times. He could have done without having to frantically cover
for David Unsworth on more than one occasion though; what Unsworth was
doing so far out of position, without any obvious cover, I don’t know.

MILLER 8 (4/4), MAGILTON 7 (3/4), WESTLAKE 8 (4/4), CURRIE 5 (2/3):
Although there were a few holes to fill from time to time, it was a
really hard-working performance from the midfield. Only Darren looked
to be a weak link, although he was more effective when allowed to roam
around. This put a big strain on the others in terms of the space they
had to cover, and Tommy in particular should be singled out for
playing so strongly in an unglamorous role. Darren was a worry for me
though: a few beautifully flighted chips do not make up for the
complete imbalance he brought to the midfield.

KUQI 8 (4/4), BENT 8 (4/4): Both the strikers were back to their best,
with only the finishing letting them down. Dazza’s commitment was
never in doubt, and he knew he had the beating of the centre-backs.
His confidence is definitely back. Shefki took a while to get into the
game, but in the second half his effort was unbelievable – almost
heroic at times.

Subs: HORLOCK was brought on for Jim when he started to flag a bit,
but looked decidedly dodgy.

The REFEREE was poor, giving a series of dreadful decisions with both
sides able to feel equally aggrieved. The CROWD was very healthy,
boosted by a huge (and vociferous) turnout from Derby, who made most
of the noise in the first half, but things picked up as the game went
on. C’mon lads, let’s play like this to the end of the season.

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