Fan’s View 2020/21 – No.19 – Ipswich at home

Article by Paul Beasley Tuesday, December 1st, 2020  

SEASON 2020/21 – FAN’S VIEW No.19: IPSWICH AT HOME

Pre Ipswich or more truthfully post Swindon

After our second half horror show on Saturday I just wanted to forget it ever happened that’s why I banged out a short FV in double quick time. Thing is though it can’t be forgotten however hard I try. It is what occupied my thinking in my first waking moments. I’m still trying to fully rationalise it. There’s no doubt we’ve got some good and skilful players in our squad but do we have enough? And do they have enough in their legs to last the majority of the many 90 minutes we have ahead of us? Should we expect that from them given that we’re playing twice a week and because with the 19/20 season not finishing for us until mid-July it’s debatable that we didn’t have anything resembling  proper pre-season preparation particularly given we’re in these horrible Covid times. Plus we’ve got a few with known dodgy injury records in our squad and then there’s Jordan Obita who was a free agent and with the best will in the world training on his own cannot replicate being part of a squad being put through their paces.

Additionally there’s that thing about putting your body on the line, giving every last drop for your team, that extra will and desire that screams, winner. Or if not that, you’ll not beat me without one hell of a fight. Have we got enough of those types? Leaders too?

I’m really not sure but with an hour to go to kick off I’m not as down as I was over the last few days. Another game. Another three points to play for. Another injection of optimism, probably illogically, coming from somewhere but I’m not sure where.

When we lose, especially as we did against Swindon, I can’t bear to watch EFL on Quest or look at the other L1 results and the latest League table. I forced myself to take a quick glance this morning and on seeing that we were not in the bottom four felt quite cheered up.

I clearly hope none of this is misplaced. But hey, football can throw up surprises.

Oxford United 0 Ipswich Town 0

And what a surprise there was. The Yellows keep a clean sheet. Sensational news. But other than that and another point to add to the meagre total we’ve accumulated so far, nothing whatsoever to get excited about.

These two out of form teams put on a pretty drab form of entertainment but I suppose it was all about taking the pragmatic approach and not getting beaten. It was the same for both sides. In Ipswich’s defence they do have an injury ravaged squad and if we went head to head with them in a top trumps game of who has the most crocks, they’d win. The cards we hold which can hopefully be played to good effect at a later date are not however insignificant.  Cameron Brannagan. Sam Winnall. Um, that’s not many. But we’re a month away from Jan 2nd when transfer window time will be with us once more.

Not only did the game itself disappoint me but I was hoping to see the yellow seat coverings spelling out the name of our football club still sitting proud, if a little sheepish, after the previous home game. Empty stadiums are so very gloomy and any bit of colour can’t help but lighten the mood when the backdrop is just darkness. The Fence End is bad enough as it is.

Then there was the coverage, or lack of. It reached new depths. Not only did some bright spark think it was better to show a replay than the live action on quite a few occasions but there was one instance when the camera downed tools and refused to follow the action. Apparently the broadcaster takes quite a high percentage of payments made to watch games on iFollow.

As there wasn’t much of note to discuss nor any performance to rave about I suppose the biggest talking point was the change in goal. Jack Stevens in for Simon Eastwood wasn’t unexpected. The last time JS was the selected keeper was at Walsall in the FLT. Interestingly a clean sheet was kept there too.

I don’t think our defensive woes are over but there were positives as well as some negatives here. Also any assessment has to be put into context. The Tractor Boys showed less ambition than many of our visitors. Goal-keeping these days is about many things. Jack read the game well and is much more of a sweeper than Easty. If he hadn’t been there was a strong likelihood that we could have gone behind with the half hour approaching. His distribution left something to be desired but there was one instance when he threw the ball out quickly in an attempt to get an attack going. Shame that this urgency didn’t kick in more often in more areas of the team. He’s not the biggest of goal-keepers and didn’t look totally convincing when coming for high balls or when in those crowd scenes that are formed at every corner or when a free-kick is launched into the box. When he punched it was the right thing for him to do but a keeper with utmost confidence would have caught the ball and when a corner ended up dropping onto our bar I did have some concerns. Although any saves he had to make were not that testing he clearly merits another go against Hull as the ball never passed beyond him here.

Our first half performance, whilst nothing more than being okay, had, I hoped, set up a sound base from which to push on and win the game by being altogether sharper and moving the ball quicker. That never happened and although we ended up having 14 shots, only three were on target. Although we didn’t leak we didn’t fire either.

No one looked to have that extra bit of class to win the game and players like Marcus McGuane and Liam Kelly again both faded. MM had been quite impressive before that happened. But no, that telling creativity wasn’t there.

Our best route to goal more often than not was the high ball into their box where they looked as vulnerable as we have done for much of this season. If it was delivered well they couldn’t cope. In the first half Elliott Moore should probably have scored and James Henry hit the bar when we’d got players up for dead balls played in.

In open play anything high down the middle wasn’t going to work but that wasn’t the way we played or ever intend to play. That said, Matty Taylor got very little in any other form created for him and I can’t help but feel that we’re wasting his goal-scoring talents even though he’s got five in the league already this season. It’s completely inefficient in the way he has to come wide to get any involvement as nothing comes his way. His best work is when he sticks in a very narrow area not that much wider than the goal itself and gets fed properly. Who do we have who can regularly provide? Just once was he put through and Town keeper David Cornell had to do some sweeping of his own to deny us.

I might not be greatly enthused but this is coming over all too negative. So here I go with a couple of other positives in addition to there being a nil in the Ipswich goals for column.

Olamide Shodipo did nothing spectacular but he did do the defensive work. The getting back and covering. The graft that can at times go unnoticed. After his previous effort this is worthy of a mention.

Dan Agyei too. He only got seven minutes at the end but fleetingly it looked like his physical presence might help us sneak it.

That wasn’t to be. If it had been we’d probably have deserved it but to win many football matches we’ll have to up the standard we produced here. There was so much that needs fine tuning. I start with don’t take that extra touch. I screamed at the TV quite a few times as is now the norm and one of these rants was when Henry didn’t get his cross in first time. The ball didn’t need to be controlled it was there at his feet. It became all too deliberate and pedestrian and that summed up quite a lot of our play.

On Saturday I will not be shouting in my living room. I will be at the Kassam marvelling at live football on home territory for the first time in 280 days. Yes, I got a ticket but that’s another story. Everyone who got one and those season ticket holders who wanted one but unfortunately missed out will have their own tales to tell. It wasn’t easy. It was frustrating. Fingers crossed that it won’t be a frustrating watch against the league leaders.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 11:44 pm and appears under News Items. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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