Ipswich 3-0 Millwall ~ Match Musings

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As my old Teacher, Windsor Davies might say, Oh dear, how sad, never mind. The unbeaten run came undone in a freezing cold Saturday afternoon in the land of the six fingered banjo players and it came undone with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang and before we go into detail I want to state for the record the majority of the 1100 travelling fans if not all of them, took this defeat on the chin and there was no castigation of the players at all.

The most used comment I heard was “it was a bad day at the office”, a rather twee cliché but still quite apt.

Ipswich, as you will know, is almost close enough to be called a local game but far enough away from South London to thank the Gods that the inhabitants haven’t yet quite mastered the wherewithal to move out from there Hobbit holes and try to establish any settlements. In the main they are probably closer to Gollum than any Hobbit and have an uncanny knack of walking with their arms out of sync with their legs, you know what I mean, left leg forward goes with left arm. Try it out and you will see what I mean.

Me and MrsB set off with Grandson Jack on board and in no time at all we were parking up and heading towards the ground doing our best to stop our 6 (soon to be seven) year old travelling companion laughing at the strange gait of the locals. The ground itself is nothing special, the seating is too compact, the refreshment area too small, but it is better than some grounds we have been to and not as good as others. Nondescript is the best I can muster.

I suppose in hindsight the end result was pre destined. Consider the length undefeated run, then the return of Henry and Trotter to the first eleven, then add in the fact that we were at Ipswich, scene of probably our best away performance e last season plus their manager is now erstwhile Millwall man Mick McCarthy and it was always going to end in disappointment.

Mr Jackett made the suspected changes and so the line was as follows: Forde, Smith A, Shittu, Beevers and Lowry at the back, Henry, Abdou, Trotter and Taylor in midfield with Keogh and Wood as our strikers. Don’t look too sad, does it?

When referee Coote got the game underway we had no reason to suspect the day would end in misery as the lads were on the front foot straight away and in truth we should have had the game dead and buried in the first half an hour.

When Wood breached the home sides defence and rammed the ball home only for the lino on the far side to flag it for a very dubious off side, it just seemed a matter of time before we opened the scoring. Henry was more than ably assisted by the quality of Adam Smith down the right and Trotter and Abdou were bossing the midfield and it all looked very much like we have been expecting during our unbeaten run.

Wood had a glorious chance to get a legitimate goal soon after his off side effort but when the ball was floated across from Smith and with the goal at his mercy; he headed the ball over the bar.

More chances soon followed, Keogh had a tame header and then Trotter made room for a shot that had ‘keeper Henderson just managing to parry and when Henry picked up the loose ball it looked like he had found the far corner but again ‘keeper Henderson got his angles right and tipped the ball away to safety.

It was just after this that disaster struck. A simple Ipswich move down the left flank saw our defence horribly exposed and when the ball was cut across the face of the goal Campbell had the simplest of tap ins to make it 1-0 to the home side. It was a strange feeling watching the normally quiet home fans actually make a bit of noise and bear in mind it has been some time since our normally resolute defence had been breached.

I don’t know why but we didn’t respond too well to this setback. Suddenly Shittu was playing like a nervous kitten, Beevers wasn’t his usual solid self and Lowry went way off the boil. The midfield joined in with the skittishness and we played out the last five minutes or so of the half like a team of journeyman footballers.

At the half time whistle the general consensus of opinion was that it was only a minor blip and that Mr Jackett would get the lads firing on all cylinders again after the break…

Our expectations took a bit of a kick in the clunkers soon after the break. Whatever Mr Jackett had said at the break must’ve fell on deaf ears because we started woefully and within about four minutes of the re start we were two down. A through ball saw a one versus one chase between Campbell and Shittu and it looked like the big defender had got to the ball right by the bye line but Campbell managed to get it and square the ball to an unmarked Murphy who drilled it into the roof of the net from close range. 2-0 and the inexorable truth was that our unbeaten run was all but over. We never recovered.

Ipswich found a new lease of life and we were second to everything. The shape went out of our side and we just looked ineffective in everything we tried to do. They grew in confidence and I don’t think we had one shot or header at their goal for the whole of the second half.

Forde was kept busy, he pulled off a fine save from an Ipswich free kick that looked like going in the top corner but he would have been helpless if Campbell volley was on target soon after but thankfully it missed the target.

Mr Jackett had seen enough and decided to make two changes, he took off Abdou and Taylor and brought on N’Guessan and Wright but if he was hoping for the changes to make a difference then he was sorely mistaken.

We were still all over the place and when Lowry was led a merry dance inside the box by Murphy the usually reliable left back lost his footing and slid over. Murphy cut back inside but the ball was dragged by Lowry’s outstretched arm and the ref blew for a penalty even though Murphy continued the move and rifled the ball past Forde.

The penalty was duly converted by Campbell and at 3-0 it truly was game over. We had a mini resurgence, Henry chancing his arm from distance with a fierce free kick but it was all a bit too late.

The fact of the matter is that Ipswich could have easily bagged a fourth goal, Forde made an excellent save low down from a shot just outside the box and in time added on Forde got lobbed by Martin but credit to Danny Shittu who never gave it up and managed to clear the ball off the line.

So, at the final whistle, as I said earlier, the feeling was one of acceptance that we just didn’t turn up for this game, we had a go but it was not up to what have been used to recently. I am sure this is just a minor setback and come next Saturday we would’ve dispatched this game to the archives and got our mojo back up and running for the visit of high flying Leicester.

"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope". - (Measure for Measure Act III, Scene I).
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    you put way too much thought into these :)