The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 2 QPR 2

A more lively performance from Town, for much of the game anyway, but for
the second week running we can’t complain at coming away with nothing more
than a home draw. QPR have a broadly similar record and position in the
table to Wolves last week, and the result was similar too, yet this time Joe
couldn’t be heard telling all and sundry that he was “ecstatic” with a draw
and that he’d have “gladly taken a point before the start”. Nope, I’ve no
idea why this week was different, either. QPR were a reasonable side, big at
the back but surprisingly hopeless at defending set pieces, and we really
should have put more than one chance away from probably six or seven coming
from corners. Had we not got the late equaliser though, there’d have rightly
been some serious disgruntlement in the stands.

But hey, let’s be thankful for the plus points: a start for Billy Clarke!
OK, it sounds like Joe’s hand was forced by a lack of other strikers to
choose from (four midfielders on the bench was something I can’t remember
having ever seen before), but if it takes an injury situation to get the
youngsters on the pitch, I say who cares? It’s difficult to say whether or
not Clarke’s non-stop movement was the catalyst for getting the team to move
and pass more freely than they’ve done for weeks, but move and pass they
did, and at times in the first half things looked really promising. Well, in
midfield and up front, anyway. The defence was its good old charitable self.

At half-time everyone seemed to agree that we could easily get the goal back
and go on to win the game. Then we came out in the second half without
Clarke. Everything which is wrong with Royle’s management nowadays was
summed up in an instant. As has been happening all season, instead of just
finding a replacement, the entire team had to be completely reshuffled. And
I mean completely – it was the Bam-Bam up front, Matt to left-back thing,
which meant every part of the side was totally changed. The midfield, which
had been looking promising, lost its shape. The defence became panicky.
Sure, we got Naylor’s presence up front, but he was never going to dominate
guys like Shittu, and of course, having Naylor up front gave a licence to
the rest of the team to revert to banging long balls. In summary, we were
pants. I’m going to assume there was an injury- or fitness-related reason
why Clarke didn’t appear (although on current form, it wouldn’t surprise me
if Joe just substituted Clarke because he felt like it). Either way, we
actually needed Jim, when he was added to the fray, to stabilise things. It
was a huge, huge disappointment. Thank heavens for Haynes’ awareness.

In summary then, some average performances (I feel some really dull ratings
coming up) but giving some moments of hope in the first half. Then back to
directionless rubbish in the second half, thanks to someone who’s fast
becoming one of the most eccentric and irritating managers we’ve had in all
my 30 years watching Ipswich.

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

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

PRICE 6 (3/3):
Seemed a bit shaken up by the early incident where Furlong seemed to stamp
on him, but will have been disappointed to have conceded two soft goals in
the end. Very little to do really though.

SITO 6 (3/3), DE VOS 6 (3/3), NAYLOR 6 (3/3), WILNIS 6 (3/3):
Sorry about the ratings, but the guys just did their job; Fab looked
comfortable at left back and as a centre half (which isn’t bad for a right
back), and Bam-Bam put in the effort when thrown up front. But was there
really any need for them to show all this “versatility”?

WILLIAMS 5 (2/3), JUAN 5 (3/2), RICHARDS 6 (3/3), CURRIE 6 (3/3):
Matt looked pretty good again in midfield, but was a bit of a liability at
times as left-back – such a shame. The guy needs to be allowed to get on
with the role which even Joe can see he’s more comfortable in. Darren also
got thrown from one side to the other, but provided some much better dead
balls than of late. I’m worried by Gavin Williams’ temperament – another
booking, and once again, possibly lucky that it was only one.

FORSTER 5 (3/2), CLARKE 6 (4/2):
The 17-year-old (18 this week!) ran his socks off for the cause, and even if
his direct impact on the game wasn’t massive, as I said earlier, his
work-rate and movement seemed to contribute towards some much better stuff
from the rest of the team. A slightly improved showing from Nicky Forster,
but he does need to stop squandering the few chances which do come his way.

Subs – WESTLAKE 5 (3/2) still seems to be a bit off the pace, but there were
signs it may be coming back. MAGILTON played a decent-enough cameo at the
end, bringing a bit of stability when the side had lost its way, and of
course spotted (and played a fine ball to) HAYNES for the equalizer. Danny
had an eventful few minutes which even led Joe to admit that he “might” be
ready for more first-team action. Amen to that.

The REF was a whistle-happy, card-happy idiot. The CROWD were probably just
glad not to have been forced to go Christmas shopping. The PART-TIME
SUPPORTERS missed the equalizer, which was the most amusing part of the
afternoon.

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