The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Fulham 0

Just what the doctor ordered, and more ammunition for those of us who think
the aberration on Sunday night wasn’t an accident. One of the
hardest-working performances of the season all-round, and what’s more, an
excellent game. Whilst we missed four clear chances, and Fulham barely
tested Marshall once, a big Town win would have been unfair on Fulham, who
played their part and really came at us for the last 20 minutes.

A standard 4-4-2 again, but for the first time Burley tried out Holland in
the problem wide right position, Wright and more recently Peralta having
failed to successfully move out there. At least he could be sure Matt
wouldn’t let the side down out of position, but would Wright and Peralta be
able to hold the fort in the centre? Fortunately, they did.

The omission of Stewart was the other surprise – perhaps a little harsh so
soon after his comeback, but he did promise he’d be firing on all cylinders
from the word go when he returned, and he hasn’t been, so perhaps it was
understandable.

The defence was magnificent all night: and I mean all four of them, who were
confident, composed, and very effective. Perhaps the best we’ve been at the
back all year. If I had to pick a highlight from the game, it would be that.

Nine points away from qualifying for Europe…

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

MARSHALL 6 (3/3) was relatively untroubled all evening, having to make just
one decent save, which he did. Some overenthusiastic kicking at times put
the ball straight into his opposite number’s hands.

MAKIN 8 (4/4) played a really solid full-back’s performance, doing
everything he had to efficiently and successfully. Great to see. McGREAL 8
(4/4) missed a glorious chance from a corner, but he should be judged on an
almost faultless defensive display. VENUS 8 (4/4) likewise barely put a foot
wrong. And HREIDARSSON 8 (4/4) combined some glorious forward surges with
some immaculate challenges at the back. He really does prefer to combine
with a midfielder in front of him (Clapham) who he can be confident will
cover for him where necessary.

HOLLAND 8 (4/4) played in an unusual wide position as if he’d been there all
his life, performing a marvellous man-to-man marking job on Goldbaek in the
first half. He seemed to have a lot more headers to make than usual, but was
pretty convincing with them too. Shame about the sliced shot at the start of
the second half which really should have been buried. WRIGHT 7 (4/3) had a
much more encouraging game, really making his presence felt in the centre.
Just one too many sideways passes for my liking, but a much better
performance. PERALTA 6 (3/3) worked hard, but kept on running into trouble
and lost us possession too often. It may take two men to stop him, but to
take advantage of that means releasing the ball before they tackle…
CLAPHAM 6 (4/2) also had a better match, and supported both those behind and
ahead of him well, but his reading of the game is getting very suspect, and
far too often he realises what’s happening too late. Got very few crosses
in.

BENT 6 (4/2) worked his socks off, often sprinting 20 to 30m or more to
hassle their midfield when needed. That said, he had few chances, and blew
the best two (an unopposed header, and a one-on-one) disappointingly.
ARMSTRONG 5 (3/2) got around a bit, but didn’t really trouble the Fulham
defence that much.

Substitutes: STEWART 5 (3/2) offered a few moments of sharpness, but was
just as often caught offside, and certainly didn’t seem to have any
relationship with Bent. Taking off Wright and bringing on REUSER 4 (2/2) was
a moment of madness by Burley, just when we were soaking up the pressure so
well and needed to consolidate. Fortunately we survived.

The CROWD 7 (4/3) were much better, really getting behind the lads (unlike
on Sunday) and played their part without a doubt. The REF was far too picky
on the physical challenges, but otherwise didn’t get in the way of a good
game too much.

Three more wins and a couple of draws should be enough, and there are
certainly possibilities on the fixture list for us to get them.

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