The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 5 Bolton W 3

What a night.
Where to start? The Bolton list is buzzing this morning with abuse flying
everywhere, particularly towards the referee, as you might expect. Ten
yellows, two reds for Bolton. No cards for Ipswich. Three penalties conceded
by Bolton. None by Ipswich. So has the chant “X-X to the football team” ever
been more appropriate? I don’t know. Bolton weren’t anything like as dirty
as that suggests. But they were their own worst enemies. There was
justification in every single card. They were up for it and showed it time
and time again by going for tackles they could never win. We were up for it
and just argued with each other instead.

The only thing the referee really got wrong was that to be consistent,
before the second penalty, Magic Jim and one of their defenders should both
have gone off for handbags. But the ref understood the tension and decided
that one balanced out the other and took no action. In retrospect, common

A mad, mad game. Both teams were completely overcome with nerves, and were
just unable to play football. Almost every decent effort went in. We
discussed Man of the Match afterwards, and decided that Jim’s goals were the
only thing that could decide it. Apart from that, almost all 22 (later 20)
players had poor games. But who cares about football quality when it’s as
exciting as that? And who cares when one player – Jim – was so fired up that
he just wouldn’t let it lie? An unbelievable performance.

Some ratings: Wright 10 Croft 10 Brown 10 Mowbray 10 Venus 10 Clapham 10
Magilton 10 Holland 10 Scowcroft 10 Stewart 10 Johnson 10

I’ll think about that. Just watched the video too. Can’t believe how blatant
all the penalties were. One or even two looked dodgy on the night. No way –
the ref had no choice. And that third time – the crucial one in extra time?
What was the Bolton defender thinking of? The ball has gone safe, and he
just picks up Johnno and dumps him on the floor. So Comedy Manu was on the
pitch after all.

Which reminds me, credit to Burley for once for having the common sense to
read the potential explosiveness of the game beforehand. He’d obviously
instilled in the players to stay out of the tackles and potential
flashpoints. He was never going to stop Jim and Veno giving it the verbals,
but I’m sure the calmness generally in the face of a team who were
completely losing it was down to GB. And it turned out to be inspired to
leave Comedy Manu on the bench. I’m no fan of Manu, but I thought at the
beginning it was a daft decision – we’ve seen the disaster which is a
Brown-Mowbray-Venus back three once before (nobody wants to play on the
right) so reluctantly, Comedy Manu would have been my choice. But he
wouldn’t have made half-time. And the back three *was* a disaster, but
somehow their disorganisation only resulted in one goal.

It’s easy to forget now, but between the 60th and 88th minutes both sides
were dreadful – we had most of the play but did *anyone* think we were going
to score? We hardly looked like it. All the sweeter then, when Jim
transcended words with his goal at the end.

Some more considered ratings (I feel like a party-pooper now):

Wright 6 – a couple of dreadful mistakes. Only one decent save all night.
Croft 6 Brown 5 Mowbray 8 Venus 5 Clapham 7 – not really Wayne’s fault, he’s
not a right-sided player. I’d rather have seen four at the back. Venus
wasted so much. Keeping order seemed a bit much for Tony but he got through.
Magilton 8 Holland 6 – Matt was well out of it but regained more of a role
when moved to play in front of the mix-up which was the defence. What can
anyone say about Jim? Not a dominant game, but he was just the man for the
moment. He seemed to score by being more up for it than I can ever remember
an Ipswich player being, ever.
Scowcroft 7 Stewart 6 Johnson 7
Scowie battled hard to little effect. Stewart lost his role again – the one
he found when Johnno went off on Sunday. Johnno stretched the defence as
usual but broke up too many attacks with his poor control.

Reuser didn’t actually do much (they didn’t give us the space he needs) but
somehow he brought the game to life a bit. Naylor was utterly the man for
the job. Carnage all around, he seemed the one player with his head on
straight at the end, when possession was everything. Full marks.

Will anyone who was there ever forget last night?

One Comment:
  1. James

    how can you only give Magilton 8 for that performance.

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