The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 1

Lesser hacks would describe this as a workmanlike performance (one of
those phrases, like “despatched with aplomb”, which are only ever used
in a footballing context), but as Jean-Luc Godard said, “To me
style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style,
like the outside and the inside of the human body. Both go together,
they can’t be separated.” We got the result, and things are moving in
the right direction, but we shouldn’t let a home win against a
bottom-three team go to our heads, especially as the “we’ve only got
12 players to pick from” card has been played.

Plymouth were probably better than we might have expected, but their
strengths were probably organisation in defence and midfield, and they
rarely threatened. Surprisingly then, it wasn’t the boring game it
might have been. There were some hard-working performances on the Town
side, although our attack was as disappointing as Plymouth’s, and it
was no surprise that all the goalscorers were midfielders or
defenders. Belle de Jour for me was probably Matt Richards, although
BFJ said afterwards that “the full-backs were comfortably our best
players” which made me momentarily splutter into me post-match cuppa.

One thing everyone would probably agree on is that Matt Richards as a
wide left midfielder and Jimmy Juan in the centre make a more balanced
side than we’ve seen for most of this season, although the service to
the strikers was as uninspired as in previous games. You almost expect
Sam Parkin to offer few options, but it’s disappointing when Forster
doesn’t help either. Despite the solidity of the midfield, there was a
lack of movement which became apparent when Westy returned later on
and really livened up proceedings. There has to be a way to play him
and Matt in the same midfield. With one or two intervening reserve
games for Westy to get himself 100% fit before the next first-team
fixture, we’ll soon have gone from anyone-with-shorts-gets-a-game to
having a midfield selection dilemma, even with “Trev” Horlock
suspended.

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 3/5
Town Performance – 3/5

Godardesque Player Ratings (1-5 for style, 1-5 for content):

PRICE 6 (3/3):
Very little to do – the couple of decent saves Lewis had to make
looked easy because (by design or good fortune) he was right behind
the shot. Although their free-kick made him look daft, it was a
cracker.

SITO 7 (3/4), DE VOS 5 (2/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), McEVELEY 6 (3/3):
Joe was certainly right that the full-backs had good games, although
Sito’s relationship with the midfield is very hesitant. Neither were put
under that much pressure, to be fair, but they coped well with the
opposition and got forward a lot, despite the contributions up front
being mixed. Bam-Bam, as ever, made sure he was always in the right
place at the right time: his reading of the game is getting as good as
almost any Town player of the past ten years or more.

CURRIE 5 (3/2), JUAN 7 (4/3), HORLOCK 5 (2/3), RICHARDS 7 (4/3):
Much, much better than the shambles in the middle at the last home
game. Darren was far too quiet for my liking, but this was more than
compensated-for by industrious performances from Matt and Jimmy J. One
of the problems this season (whether caused by injury or indecision)
has been the lack of a settled midfield, and whilst it’s nice to be
able to try different things, a settled core must surely be the
primary aim. Choosing four from Jim, Westy, Deano Mac, Jaime Peters,
Owen Garvan and the 4 starters today isn’t easy, but it surely has
to be done. At the moment, I’d like to see Westy, Matt, Darren and one
other squeezed in, and Jimmy’s staked a claim to that last place.

FORSTER 5 (3/2), PARKIN 4 (2/2):
I really, really wanted to see a full 90 minutes for Sam, with the
crowd behind him and no excuses. I didn’t honestly think we’d ever get
the opportunity. But we did, so we could make a fair judgement. And
the result? Hopeless. We haven’t seen a lump up front like this since
Ian Marshall, and at least he was half-decent in the air. Sure, Sam
was (slightly) better than he has been, and that’s led to a whole host
of blue-tinted-spec-wearers to start dancing in the streets, but come
on guys – he was still terrible. No movement, no control, no
positional sense: I can’t find a redeeming aspect to his game, and I’m
not a detractor boy: I really, really want him to do well, and he’s
obviously a nice guy. Joe must see something in his game which we
don’t, but for the life of me I can’t see what it might be. His
patronising post match comment of “Sam Parkin, bless him”, spoke
volumes. More worrying still was the lack of involvement shown by
Nicky Forster, because he’s looked much more the part in most of his
appearances until yesterday.

Subs – BOWDITCH came on for Forster, and was a lot livelier, and less
frequently offside, although created an equally dismal number of
opportunities. WESTLAKE replaced Richards, made some great runs and
reminded us what we’ve missed recently.

The REF was, quite simply, appalling. You know the ones who let things
go and get praised for doing so? This one let things go, the players
(especially the Plymouth ones) took the piss, and quite quickly it all
got completely out of hand. There’s only so much you can wave on
without appearing not to understand un Regle du Jeu. The extended
applause from the faithful when we eventually got a free-kick was one
of the more amusing incidents of the afternoon.

The CROWD were pretty good, and there’s no way anyone can complain
about the support given to the team or Sam Parkin in particular, with
even the old Finidi song getting an airing (“he only scores away, he’s
gonna score today”). We all went home happy, I guess, which is the
main thing. Only a couple of points off the playoffs, and then it’ll
be time for Milou en Mai all over again.

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