The View From Churchmans

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


Ipswich Town 1 Cardiff City 1

A nervous, edgy and generally uninspiring performance, of which the best
thing that can be said is that it turned out OK in the end. Another display
(or two) like this won’t be good enough to get us to the play-off final, but
then again, we won’t play like that in the semis, don’tcha just know it. So
let’s have a really good night out and celebrate, because yet again folks
…we’re in the playoffs!

No surprises in the lineup, Shefki in rather than Deano, but the slippy
conditions were probably more to the big man’s liking. Same old story
though: the defence can always be relied on to present one opportunity after
another to the opposition, the strikers will work their socks off and get on
the end of anything (if there is anything), and the make-or-break is an
unpredictable midfield. Today, just when we didn’t need it, most of the
midfield didn’t turn up.

There’s very little to say about most of the game. Apart from the agonising
wait for the other results at the end, the talking point was, of course, the
substitutions. Even by the standards of his recent dreadful home
performances, Jim was having a poor game, but when Reuser came out of the
dugout even those of us who were screaming for Jim’s number to come up never
really thought it would happen. Neither, it would seem, did Jim. So when it
did, he went mental, flinging down the captain’s armband and storming off to
the dressing-room. His disbelief was down to some sense of
self-righteousness, whereas Shefki’s equally strident response to being
taken off was more down to a more practical view of his contribution.

I expected Joe to say after the game that Jim’s petulance showed his
devotion to the cause and all that crap, but surprisingly he said “Jim had a
complete sense of humour failure”, which was interesting. It’s not the sort
of thing we’ve become used to over the last ten years.

And another thing: was it just me, or did anyone else think we were just
playing for a draw in the last ten minutes? There was simply no urgency at
all there. And yet surely we were only a goal for Crystal Palace away from
being shunted out of the playoffs? Sure, as it happened, West Ham got one
instead, and we went up a place in the last few minutes rather than down
one, but I can’t believe we were relying on things staying the same
elsewhere. Most odd.

Anyway, onwards …and maybe upwards.

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

DAVIS 7 (3/4): A couple of great saves which kept us in the game, plus some
fair distribution and pretty competent handling; couldn’t ask for much more

WILNIS 5 (3/2), ELLIOTT 6 (3/3), McGREAL 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 7 (4/3): Fab kept
slipping over, but on a more fundamentally worrying level, was left in no
man’s land time and time again; his positioning has never been great, but
against certain teams it’s a real liability. Whilst the majority of teams
seem to concentrate on our less-experienced left side, the real damage seems
to be caused by the occasional forays down our right. Who’d have thought
halfway through the season we’d be so much more confident in Matt Richards?
In the centre, Johnny Mac and Matt Elliott have formed the best partnership
of the many we’ve had this season, although that’s not saying much. Too many
crosses are still finding unmarked players, and when one of our players does
get there first, the clearance is rarely positive. But we should be grateful
for small mercies.

MILLER 4 (2/2), WRIGHT 5 (3/2), MAGILTON 4 (2/2), WESTLAKE 8 (4/4): Westy
showed why the fans rated him player of the season with a non-stop display
again that looked like our only real threat from midfield. Jamma was a big
disappointment, although looked quite comfortable with the captain’s armband
after finding it lying around on the grass. Jim was substituted because he
was giving the ball away almost every time he got it, and in a game we
couldn’t afford to lose, that was the one thing we couldn’t afford. Tommy
just didn’t contribute anything.

BENT 5 (2/3), KUQI 5 (3/2): Disappointing performances, especially from a
curiously lethargic Dazza. Shefki had some justification for being
disappointed when he was taken off, because we tend to call for Bam-Bam when
the front line needs a kick up the backside, and I’m not sure in Shefki’s
case, it did.

Subs: REUSER didn’t put on a match-turning cameo; his look and his body
language suggested he was up for it, but if so, “it” wasn’t there. NAYLOR
will always work hard, sure, but he doesn’t offer anything very different up
front, and he had a similarly limited effect on the game.

The CROWD was big, noisy and did what it could, despite being given very
little to get it whipped up. Cardiff’s fans contributed by being as noisy as
any we’ve had all season, and they were quite funny too, especially the
social commentary on the absurd amount of policing; all together now: “it’s
just like watching The Bill…”

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