The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Millwall 1

Ipswich Town 1 Millwall 1

It was always shaping up to be a strange afternoon: almost everyone I
normally see at the game seemed to have something else on, but whether they
were shopping, delivering beds, playing golf in a blizzard or even running a
half marathon, they all probably had a more enjoyable time than I did. This
was terrible. An awful Town performance, utterly freezing conditions, and
only the inevitable terrace wit which rises to the surface in such
situations as compensation.

Millwall were desperately ordinary, but at least had a bit of spirit. Town,
almost to man, gave the impression they didn’t want to be there. OK, so the
plummeting temperatures and swirling snow meant that was probably the truth
of the matter, but we deserve better. For five or ten minutes, we looked
like we were going to take Millwall to the cleaners, and even managed a goal
for our efforts, but after that, the fluency, the commitment and the
togetherness which had started to return to the side since New Year was
nowhere to be seen.

Needless to say, Joe can’t absolve himself of responsibility, playing Matt
Richards wide on the right, where he’d already proven himself to be a
let-down, and once again antagonising the terraces by playing one up front.
What’s worse, the one up front was a clearly unfit Alan Lee, which meant we
were toothless in attack. Danny Haynes eventually got a run out, but only
just before Alan was about to be withdrawn, and he’s no more of a lone
striker than an unfit Lee.

The attackers weren’t the problem though. Throughout the game, the defence
made things seem more difficult than they needed to be, and the midfield
were simply in a muddle, perhaps because of (or despite) the fact there were
so many of them. When Matt went walkabout over to the left hand side (why?
Does he forget where he’s supposed to be playing?) we sometimes had four –
yes four – players going down that wing, leaving Fab marooned and lonely the
other side. Unbalanced? You bet. There’s some great talent at this club, but
when you’re glad to see Jim being brought on to give them a kick up the
backside (and I was glad), then there’s something really wrong.
“Transitional season” or not, I’m sure a more inspirational (and inspired)
manager and a decent captain could make something of the raw material here.
Although perhaps on today’s performance, that’s just the start of what we
need.

Match Ratings:
Excitement – 1/5
Town Performance – 2/5

Player Ratings (1-5 for what they put in, 1-5 for what we got out):

SUPPLE 6 (3/3):
Very little to do, and at least livened things up by racing to the other end
of the pitch for the corner at the end. Wasn’t far off getting his head to
it either.

WILNIS 7 (3/4), DE VOS 6 (4/2), NAYLOR 5 (3/2), BARRON 5 (3/2):
Fab was the pick of the bunch just by sticking to what he had to do, namely
be a right-back. With no team-mates ahead of him for much of the game, he
probably didn’t have much choice. Jason worked hard, but the defence
generally made life difficult for itself.

RICHARDS 4 (2/2), JUAN 4 (2/2), GARVAN 5 (3/2), WESTLAKE 5 (2/3),
CURRIE 6 (3/3):
Yes, I know we have lots of left-sided players, but they don’t have to tread
on each others’ toes. Westy seemed to be more involved than some games of
late, but his timing seems to have deserted him since coming back from
injury, and he knows it, which results in far too much hesitancy. Matt
didn’t seem to know where he was supposed to be or what he was doing, and
Owen and Jimmy were far too much on the back foot. Dazza was better if only
because he seemed more up for it; at times he was the only player in blue
trying to gee up his listless colleagues, and his crossing was more reliable
than normal. Shame there was rarely anyone to get on the end of it.

LEE 5 (2/3):
A shadow of what we’ve seen, but I’m sure it was down to fitness, or lack of
it. Only won the ball and controlled it in the way we like to see on a
couple of occasions, and barely had a goal attempt.

Subs – MAGILTON had more presence when he came on than anyone else on the
pitch, but he doesn’t really have the ability to turn a game any more.
HAYNES scared Millwall with his pace on a couple of occasions, but is no
target man. I’m not sure what SITO was supposed to offer which Barron
seemingly couldn’t, but he did OK.

The REF was pretty good; he let a lot go, which favoured Millwall, who were
a little unpleasant, but he kept the lid on proceedings. The CROWD was a
decent size, and lively at times (although not that many times). The
Millwall fans were crude, but often amusing. I’m much warmer now at home,
thanks.

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