The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 2 Everton 0

Great result, dismal afternoon. I thought we’d turned the corner with a respectable performance (if unlucky scoreline) against Leeds and a reasonable effort against Arsenal. But this was not encouraging.
It started brightly enough, with some decent forays down the right wing, and a couple of reasonable chances. The tactics were obviously to exploit new boy Mark Burchill’s speed, but in practice that meant lots of hopeful punts forward anywhere there was space in the expectation that he’d sprint 40 yards to wherever it landed. And get there before defenders with a 30 yard head start.
Heads began to drop a little early on. Wilnis seemed reticent to come forward (presumably not fully fit, hence the half-time substitution); Venus kept getting dragged into the centre leaving the left side totally exposed; Jim had lost the power of positive thought, Jermaine had lost his touch and Jamie C was just lost. Burchill was setting an example to the rest of the side with the effort he put in, and probably should have had a penalty. Of the rest, perhaps only Matt and Titus seemed to want to get on with things.
A half-time shake-up was inevitable, and the general consensus was that another striker was needed, perhaps going 4-3-3 with Jamie C or Jermaininho being sacrificed. Instead, Wilnis went (I suspect more through lack of fitness) and in a 5-3-2, Jermaininho went to right wingback, Scowie dropped back and Armstrong came on to partner Burchill. Not bad in theory, but the lethargy and lack of creativity all round was infectious, and in a bid to get out of the situation Burley seemed willing to try anything. On came Reuser and then Abidallah as we went four at the back, then 4-2-4, anything really. And it was starting to work, but we got the lucky break anyway. It wasn’t Nyarko’s silly sending-off itself that did it though, it was Everton’s naive response. After having done what everyone else is now doing, and stifling our game by closing us down, they then decided to pack the defence for 15 minutes and hang on to the draw. We were able to start playing a bit, and the goals duly came. So great result, but there’s a lot of work to be done to get back to the glorious form of 2-3 months back.
Some ratings:
Wright 7 – little to do, probably challenged most by a few heartstopping moments caused by his own defence.
Wilnis 6 – precious few touches of class, got quieter as the half went on, then didn’t even make it out for the second half.
McGreal 6 – has certainly played more confidently, and relied too much on trying to catch Jeffers offside rather than doing the proper defensive thing – – got caught out once and perhaps should have been twice more, but was saved one one occasion big-time by a linesman bottling it and hesitantly raising his flag.
Bramble 7 – only a couple of comedy clearances, and a badly judged tackle which got him a deserved booking, but otherwise quite comfortable, and certainly seemed to want to make it happen more than most of the side.
Venus 6 – not troubled much, but far too easily dragged into the centre on numerous occasions, leaving us really exposed on the left. Thankfully Everton didn’t have a right winger and relied on the disappointing Gravesen trying to get out into the space or the bizarrely frightening Xavier belatedly coming forward into it.
Clapham 4 – Awful, just awful. Nothing went right for Jamie, but he didn’t seem to want to make it go right. Permanently out of position, his touch having deserted him, he just got in the way in the first half. The second half wasn’t as bad, but quite frankly, he barely came forward despite having hardly anything to do defensively.
Wright 5 – Shared with Jamie C the honour of being the point where every move seemed to break down in the first half. Did less damage when moved to right wing-back, then right-back, in the second half, but even then looked a bit shaky.
Magilton 5 – Got involved a lot, but Jim’s refusal to pass forward has now got beyond a joke. And I think it has to be Jim that’s blamed, not the defence, for the fact that time and time again, by dropping back from the front line 10 yards, Kevin Campbell found himself in acres of space between our two rather ragged lines. Even uncharacteristically gave the ball away a few times.
Holland 7 – Much better from Matt, who seemed up for it and in possession of at least some imagination. And you just felt that, like against Charlton, it would be Matt if anyone who would say: “Sod the rest of you, I’m going to sort this thing out myself”.
Burchill 7 – Enthusiastic and fairly skilful too, making a lot of some poor balls being fed to him. Didn’t create the chances we were hoping for, and in many ways was more Johnson than Naylor, but certainly not the primadonna we were warned about. I liked him. And for the effort alone, narrowly MotM.
Scowcroft 6 – Showed willing all afternoon, but was hampered by not knowing where anyone was around him; won plenty of balls in the air, but can’t be expected to do it all himself! Control a bit of a letdown as usual though.
Subs: Armstrong 6 – Ran around a bit, and although we played better once he was on, that was probably more down to the revised tactics. Linked up nicely with Burchill against a static defence for his goal.
Reuser hardly touched it, Abidallah only had a few minutes (but looked quite exciting).
Ref: Erratic. Crowd: Quietest of the season by far. A fairer result? Ipswich 0 Everton minus 1.

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