The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 3 Port Vale 0

Perhaps not as sweeping an improvement as the scoreline suggests, not that
we weren’t good value …but for a successive season Port Vale played
straight into our hands with exactly the type of tactics our play is geared
up to score against. It’s a shame to see us struggle against hateful
play-killers like Tranmere then brush aside footballing sides like Port
Vale, but I remember several people saying the same thing last year.
It was 5-3-2 for the first half, with Wayne Brown recalled and (bizarrely)
Mark Venus moved over to fill in for McGreal, playing on completely the
wrong side for a left footer. This meant we saw the sight again and again of
Venus coming forward and unable to play any through-balls ahead (some would
say good job too) unless he firstly turned inwards across the park almost 90
degrees. A bit like Clapham’s crosses, come to think of it. Funny in a way,
but dangerously stupid. In the second half Burley swapped Venus and Brown
for a few minutes, which wasn’t ever going to be much better, then swapped
Venus and Mowbray, but in every arrangement they were getting in each
other’s way. Not good. The obvious move to four-at-the-back didn’t happen
until twenty minutes from time with Venus the fall guy.

Meanwhile, at the other end, “Magic” Johnson (so called because he conjures
up randomly good performances when least expected) was really getting
amongst them – perhaps he could sense that with Marcus Stewart alongside
looking very slow (and unfit), this was his big chance to shine in direct,
side-by-side comparison. It certainly worked. Whereas Johnson has been
nothing short of a liability in half a dozen games this year, Stewart was
the real liability this time – finishing attacks by being caught offside
time and time again.

With Clapham cutting in a lot, and Croft seemingly obsessed by Rougier’s
reputation and refusing to come forward, Town’s best attacks all came
through the middle (until the very end). The first goal was down to a good
run into the box by Clapham, which eventually resulted in Scowie bundling
the ball over the line (the keeper parried it from 2 feet away but it
immediately hit a Vale defender and went back over the line). The second
goal was a rare flashback to the days when Johnno was confident (tell me
he’s going to come good just in time someone) as he dribbled across the
front of the 6-yard box and the keeper before slotting home, and the third
goal was the combination of a magnificent through ball *on the deck* by
Martijn Reuser and a great, great run by Matty.

Scowie went up front with Wright on for Stewart midway through the second
half, but the more exciting change was two minutes later when we went 4-4-2
and Reuser came on for Venus. The Dutch bloke don’t ‘arf fancy ‘isself, but
he’s got enough skill to get away with it. He set up three or four glorious
chances, only one of which was put away, but we’re going to have to take a
chance on 4-4-2 from the start surely in the next two games and give him a
run-out.

Some ratings:

Wright 7 – looked confident. Not quite the communication with Brown which he
has with the old guys.

Croft 6 Venus 6 Mowbray 7 Brown 7 Clapham 7 – Awful distribution from Venus
and Brown, and once again Mowbray (whose distribution is unspeakable) was
also made to play the occasional long ball, which is unforgivable after all
this time. Communication between the three was poor too, but then they were
being played all over the place. They won everything in the air though, all
three of them. Clapham was looking dangerous running forward – he needs to,
because in a switch to 4-4-2 (or 4-3-3) I wonder if his place could be on
the line? I hope not.

Magilton 8 Holland 7 Scowcroft 8 – Jim had one of his ‘run the show’ days
although obviously under orders to keep it more simple *and for goodness
sake resist the urge to shoot* his performance wasn’t necessarily as
noticeable as it was effective. Scowie’s looking better than recent weeks.

Stewart 5 Johnson 8 – You could really only fault Johnson on his trademark
‘start a run, then just as the team-mate plays the through ball, stop the
run again’ technique. Otherwise he got stuck in, didn’t dive, looked very
lively, and really seemed up for it. Marcus on the other hand offered very
little, and seemed way off the pace. Surely he’s unfit?

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