Monday, 19 September 2011

Ipswich Town see off Sky Blues and 'Sky Curse'

Over the years, the Tractor Boys have become notorious for getting stage fright when the Sky cameras come to visit.

And with the two most recent televised games ending in heavy defeats - last night was the night to emulate Cardiff Away rather than Narwich at Home.

I just had this feeling in my bones that yesterday would be the day the pieces of the jigsaw came together for Town, and I was right.

In the build up to the game the Town faithful expressed concern at Paul Jewell's choice for the starting line up - but it turned out to be inspired. Did you ever doubt it?

Groans about the lack of width were responded to on the pitch by an excellent midfield performance, the like of which I can't remember seeing at Portman Road for months... perhaps even years.

I have commented many times that the midfield has, at times, appeared non existent for the Boys in Blue, but last night they were controlling and organised. The players, who've been accused of being 'too old' by some fans, finally demonstrated that wealth of experience they have between them: most notably Lee Bowyer who looked confident rather than frustrated for the first time since joining us.

@dave_goods of the EADT and Evening Star argued on Twitter that it was Grant Leadbitter's best game in a Town shirt and I'm inclined to agree. He was all over the park, constantly finding space to move for the ball and playing a huge part in the flowing passing game that was on display. @djonesax rightly pointed out to me that he gave the ball away several times: but when you consider the amount of possesion he earned I think you have to allow him the odd slip. For today at least.

Andrews was, once again, superbly determinatined and his contribution to the gamewas immeasurable. Thanks largely to our strong midfield, he was able to leave the defending to others and concentrate on pushing the ball forward for our own attack (And that is why I feel PJ's formation was a stroke of genius). His goal was an excellent 1-2 with Chopra, stuff made of Premiership quality, and demonstrated the great playing relationship those two are developing.

His constant supply of passes finally provided the support both Chops and Scotland needed - and boy did it make the difference. Micheal Chopra will be playing those misses over and over in his head. But, I don't think he needs to worry too much- I was just pleased to see him actually having those chances at last. As @dave_harrison said to me - 'once he gets one the goals start be flying in from him'. So keep at it Chops, I'm still backing you to reach twenty this year.

Meanwhile, the star of the show up front was most definitely Jason Scotland, PJ has said so too. I was so pleased to see him given a place in the starting line up, I thought he worked really hard at Blackpool. There are still some fans who aren't keen on him, but for me he's a quality goal scorer who's been proven at this level - exactly what we asked Paul Jewell for at the start of his ITFC reign. Jason proved me right and the Twitter doubters wrong thanks to a beautiful third goal that buried the game for Town.

At the other end of the pitch kudos must be given to the first half defence who looked solid - albeit with very little to do. PJ opted to make no changes to the back line, giving the new players (very new in Collins' case) a chance to play together and learn about each other.

Sadly, Ibrahima Sonko (who would be set to be my Player of the Season if it weren't for Jimmy Bullard) suffered an injury in the second half, shaking that solid defence slightly. It's true that with him being replaced by Damien 'looks like he'd rob your Nan' Delaney, the back line didn't look so sure. But, personally, I'm not too worried - my argument being that Coventry were 2 nil down and, cleverly, took advantage of Town momentarily taking their foot off the gas following Sonko's substitution.

So Man of the Match ought to be Aaron Cresswell who Sky seem to think will be singlehandedly winning the next World Cup for England, going on their commentary. His goal line clearances saved us and were karma for Chopras misses earlier on. That lad is, undoubtedly, one to watch this year.

But, in the interest of giving you something to think about, I'd go for Grant Leadbitter. He's had a really tough time this season, particularly from Town fans, but I have always said I quite like his way of playing. It pulled off last night and was even more impressive given the number of times he's been kicked whilst he's down. More from him to come, I hope.

The best of the rest would be our energetic front line Chops and Jase. Finally starting to show us what they're made of and, again, I get the feeling there's much more to come.

Bekah's funny moment most definitely goes to Jimmy and Andrews for the now infamous 'paper, scissors, stone' incident. Shouldn't everything in life be decided in that way?!

On a serious note I also felt the way the two interated during and after the match was indicative of the relatioship the players have with each other. The whole team are starting to look like they enjoy playing together, like one big happy family. a family with an amazing array of accents, by the way- the post match interview was amusingly hard to follow thanks to the scouse/irish/cockney twangs!

Favourite quote: SKY REPORTER 'have you all been practising the free kicks in training then Jimmy?' JIMMY 'Well I have, them two obviously haven't', love him!

Highlight of the day is the Twitfc hashtag and my Twitter timeline finally being full of so much positivity. Keep it up: we are the twelfth man and we will make the difference this season.

For what it's worth, I will balance this article with a comment that there is still some way to go for the Boys in Blue. Just as I said after Bristol, one game does not a season make.

The defence was wobbly without Sonko and you can't rely on one player not getting injured - I refer to the loss of Ingimarsson to illustrate my point. The midfield looked tired at the end: I leave it to you to decide if that's age or lack of fitness (for me it's the latter as I mentioned after Blackpool).

And poor old Chops couldn't hit a barn door... But that will improve.

So the clear message this week is 'keep up the good work boys'.

And keep the faith Blue Army!


dc96 said...

Good piece - agree with everything in here.

Hoping the rock, paper, scissors catches on - would love to see a SBR vs South Stand game - not quite sure who would ref that one though.

dc96 said...

Good piece - agree with everything in here.

Hoping the rock, paper, scissors catches on - would love to see a SBR vs South Stand game - not quite sure who would ref that one though.