The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 2 Leicester City 0

Two wins in two, and the scores might suggest we’ve sprung back to life, but
it’s probably a little more gradual than that: the Newcastle – Villa –
Tottenham – Leicester matches represent a steady progression, with all of
them being in the zone where a few (un)lucky breaks the other way could
still have turned the result on its head. But progression it is, and there
definitely looks to be a little more confidence in the side. And let’s face
it, if Bolton can move from top to 15th in three months, there’s no reason
why – in the four months remaining – we can’t move from bottom to, er, well,
15th. Or something.

An adventurous 4-4-2 today, with George dumping on Matt from a huge height
in terms of responsibility. In the centre Matt was given as a partner Sixto,
who deserves his chance but is still finding his way to some extent, and
outside he found himself with *both* of the “creative” (i.e not exactly
hard-working) wide players. Matt could well have frequently ended up all
alone in the middle as the other three wandered off ahead, with no
Jermaininho or Jim to help. And that against a side notorious for swamping
the midfield. Fortunately Leicester have changed – they play two up front
now, and Savage goes all over the place but mainly quite wide – and Matt
responded superbly to the task with what I felt could have been his best
performance of the season.

Up front, a big (in terms of size) partnership of Alun Armstrong and Marcus
Bent was given a try, presumably as the best options given that we had two
wingers playing. Both looked useful on occasions, but there were zero signs
of any sort of partnership.

The first half was dire, both sides looking like the struggling teams they
are. I remember cheering a wayward shot in the 40th minute, trying to
remember if that was the first we’d had. Reuser was particularly anonymous,
and Titus almost went to pieces after making a couple of mistakes, but
Leicester could hardly put anything worthwhile together: Scowie looked like
their best player, and we’ve seen him play a lot better than that.

In the second half, Town started to move much more sweetly, and Reuser in
particular came alive, playing some super one-touch and first-time balls,
and, in the end, creating both goals. He could also have had two himself.
The defence (well, Titus) settled down, and coped reasonably given the
somewhat daunting task of facing up to Deane, Akinbiyi and Scowcroft, a
forward line which I suspect doesn’t come much bigger. Or clumsier. In the
end, we were well worth the points (for a while I thought we’d go on to get
3 or 4) but the improvement will have to continue if we’re to find another
25 or more points. However, the midfield are starting to create more, and I
really think that if Marcus (Stewart) can return on top form, we’ll be
alright.

Some ratings:
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)

SERENI 5 (3/2) – did nothing to stop my real fears that (like Wrighty) he’s
a great shot-stopper but otherwise an additional worry for the defence which
they could do without. Sure, he’s a great character, and we all love him,
but compare how effortlessly Ian Walker at the other end commanded his area
and took everything cleanly in the air, while Matteo hesitated coming off
his line, flapped at a couple, and generally didn’t seem to be playing in
the same team as Veno and Titus. I’m not convinced.

MAKIN 6 (3/3) had a solid game, although was as guilty as the rest of the
defence of giving the ball away needlessly in dangerous positions on more
than one occasion. BRAMBLE 6 (4/2) made a couple of early errors and let
them get to him, requiring some urgent verbals from Veno, but it was really
encouraging to see him overcome this and start to put in an increasingly
confident performance as the game went on. VENUS 6 (3/3) put in another
solid display, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that the defence restricted a
monstrous (if ungainly) Leicester attack to just three goal attempts, so
credit where it’s due. HREIDARSSON 7 (4/3) was well up for it again, and
regularly steamed down the overlap position like his life depended on it.
Shame about the final ball when he did get the chance though.

FINIDI 6 (2/4) is looking better than before (which may not be saying much)
and if we don’t expect anything superhuman from him (which I for one may
have been guilty of) then perhaps we may appreciate him more. Got some nice
crosses in and did most of our exciting stuff in the first half. Unlucky to
be substituted, but we did need someone else to put their foot on the ball
with half an hour to go (not that Jermaininho turned out to be the answer).
HOLLAND 8 (4/4) was everywhere, and really drove things on from start to
finish. Some crunching tackles, and a joy to watch. PERALTA 6 (3/3) was
reasonable, although didn’t make his presence felt as much as some of us had
hoped he’d be able to. Restrained himself well from overambitious runs with
the ball though, and the move with Reuser for his goal was glorious. REUSER
7 (3/4) came alive in the second half, and linked well with Peralta on a
number of occasions. Deserved a goal, and nearly got one. Just a bit more
effort for the whole of 90 minutes Martijn and you really can be the hero
everyone wants you to be.

BENT 6 (2/4) looks useful with his weight and speed, but I watched him
closely in the second half particularly, and too often he was bottling out
of challenges, making half-hearted (and therefore confusing) runs, and
failing to chase back when things had gone wrong. However, he certainly
worried the Leicester defence, which was good to see, and wanted to have a
go, which has been a scarce commodity this year. ARMSTRONG 5 (3/2) was
quieter, and I think we might have expected more with both Finidi and Reuser
available as a supply line, but he rarely gave them a really decent target.

Subs: WRIGHT 4 (2/2) was brought on to shore up the midfield, but played
negatively and was put far too wide by Burley (as a direct Finidi
replacement, just more withdrawn). Disappointing. NAYLOR put himself about a
bit but didn’t produce much in his ten minutes. MAGILTON got five minutes at
the end.

LEICESTER 4 (3/1) were poor, Scowie will be lucky if this doesn’t prove to
be a dreadful career move. ROBBIE SAVAGE is an utter, utter git. He did
nothing to redeem himself in the eyes of Town fans with a couple of cynical
challenges, and why he’s not playing for Leeds I simply do not know.
Perhaps, for a while, with Savage and Wise, Peter Taylor was hoping to
create a total-and-utter-bastard lineup to rival the Alan Smith/ Ian Harte/
Jonathan Woodgate/ Lee Bowyer horror show at Elland Road. But Leicester will
never match that, so Savage should go now to where he’d be more at home.
Sheer scum.

The REF was OK. The CROWD 4 (2/2) were quiet and obviously a bit hungover
though…

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