The View From Churchmans

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

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 2 WBA 3

The performances are different, but the scores still end up roughly the
same. I think five of the last eight visitors to the Portman Road Charity
Shop have helped themselves to three or more goals, but at least this one
was one of our better displays, although that made it even more irritating
to have lost. In the first half, the whole was more the sum of the parts:
there were few outstanding individual performances, and the midfield was
largely absent, but somehow we put together some bright moves which
generally had West Brom rattled. We were fair value for a one-goal lead
against what may be the division’s strongest side, and we even managed to
survive first-half injury time when we so often concede soft goals.

The problem was, once more, a failure to step up a gear or even maintain the
pace in the second half, and that was always going to spell disaster against
a team which is renowned for getting better as games go on. West Brom came
out with new ideas (most notably bringing on Koumas to try to turn the
midfield domination into real results) and came right back into the game,
whereas we lost our spark going forward, and the equaliser came as little
surprise. To subsequently let in another was disappointing though, and after
that anything could have happened at either end. Shefki had been brought on
to add a bit of enthusiasm and application going forward, and that
contributed to our equaliser, but we always looked fragile at the back and
presented West Brom with the winner, despite Horsfield being clearly offside
when the ball went through to Hughes.

It looks like the first three places in the table are wrapped up now, so
it’s three from seven for the playoffs, and I doubt many neutrals would put
money on us, looking at the table. In reality, we have to win probably seven
out of nine games to make the Premiership (including the playoffs!) and
we’re not consistent enough for that. And in our hearts, do we really think
many of the players should be there? The vast bulk of the squad now consists
of players whose time is yet to come, and players who don’t really deserve
to be any higher than they are now. But if the First Division can serve up
more games as exciting as this one, I’m quite happy where we are.

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

DAVIS 7 (3/4): Another good performance from Kelvin, who’s slowly getting on
top of things and is only a small helping of consistency away from being a
keeper we can build around for the next few seasons. A couple of cracking
saves, some decent distribution, and …oh, sorry, I can’t go on, every time
I think of goalkeepers at the moment I have this image of Andy Marshall in
the FA Cup Final.

WILNIS 6 (3/3), ELLIOTT 6 (3/3), SANTOS 6 (4/2), RICHARDS 7 (4/3):
Individually the defenders were OK, but as a unit they looked woefully thin
again. Georges seemed really up for it, although his distribution (from his
head as much as his feet) was as wild as ever, but as the game wore on and
he got fed up with seeing no midfield in front of him and having to give it
away, he changed his plan to just dumping it in Row Z. And you couldn’t
blame him. Elliott is doing exactly what he’s been asked to do: provide a
reliable, steady head in the centre, and it’s clear that Davis at least
appreciates the organisation he’s bringing. Fab was adequate, I guess; Matt
R looked a lot more interested in things, and had yet another good game.

MAGILTON 4 (2/2), WRIGHT 4 (2/2), MILLER 5 (2/3), WESTLAKE 6 (3/3):
I think the kindest thing that can be said about Jim is that he’s having to
pace himself to make it through ninety minutes, because the way he just
ambles around and makes the others do all the work (then berates them loudly
for not being superhuman) is irritating more and more supporters. Today was
another one of those days when most of his passing was unconstructive too,
and only a few decent tackles redeemed the display. Still, it would have
been nice to have seen some decent tackles from Jermaine, who was pulling
out of challenges all afternoon (once more). He played a couple of glorious
balls when he suddenly got the confidence, but they were rare moments. I
don’t know what’s been wrong with him for most of this season, because he
can be so much better, and whilst I wouldn’t miss half of our team at the
moment, I still think a half-decent midfield can be built around him. Tommy
Miller was equally hesitant to get involved, but created a goal out of
nothing. Only Westy really seemed to have the bit between his teeth in the
midfield.

BOWDITCH 6 (3/3), BENT 6 (3/3): Both of the lads got little change from the
best defence in the division, but created some decent half-chances and
worked fairly hard throughout.

Subs: KUQI got amongst them, and was a worthwhile substitution. REUSER
looked keen but is simply well off the pace, and seems a bit of a misfit
somehow. Left Matt R completely exposed, but that was only to be expected.

The REFEREE was dreadfully inconsistent, failing to yellow-card the two
worst tackles of the afternoon (one from each side) but penalising a far
less obvious offence. As for not sending off Lee Hughes, you feel that as
with Robbie Savage, referees feel they have to show a special leniency or
the guy would be red-carded every week. But why not? He’s an animal.

The CROWD were terrific, with both sets of supporters giving their all. No
“you’re supposed to be at home” from the Baggies’ fans all afternoon, and
rightly so.

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