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Millwall 1-3 Ipswich | Pitchside Ponderings

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I have been refraining from putting finger tip to keyboard in recent week, my ponderings have taken on a bit of a nightmarish quality and I felt it was not fair to pour more heartbreak on an already downtrodden reader just to make myself feel better.
But, as the Russians say, fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I need a cathartic release of some sorts and apart from kicking the goldfish squarely up the backside, this is the only thinmg I know that eases my mind.

This season has been an unmitigated disaster, Mr Holloway has not endeared himself to the fans with his haphazard chopping and changing and his tactical genius is, shall we say, questionable, but after the debacle up at Bradford I suspect we were all hoping for some wholesale changes for the visit of Mick McCarthy’s high flying Tractor Boys.

Well, we certainly got changes, the lineup was akin to a first game of a new season with plenty of “who’s that?” type of questions being asked as the players warmed up.

I also had a “who’s that” moment when a middle aged man appeared on the pitch in front of where we were sitting, resplendent in a blue and white scarf. I heard someone call him Michael but although he looked very familiar, I couldn’t place him. It turned out to be Michael Portillo of all people, though what fucking train got him pitchside remains a mystery and God knows what Bradshaw’s guide book made of the place…

I digress…

The lineup was as follows, Forde in goal, Cummings, Webster, Nelson and Harding as the back four, Abdou, Gregory, Powell, Fabrini and Gueye in midfield with Meierhoffer up front.

The biggest surprise was having Nelson as captain… ( I thought he was an Admiral?) but if this was done to dupe the hard nose fans then, fuck me, I think it worked.

Was it a brave move by Mr Holloway? No, I don’t think so, he was stuck between a tractor and horde of unrelenting psychopathic monsters hunting for blood (that is us the fans if you hadn’t of guessed) so anything he did was going to be questionable in a sort of hit and miss way.

Ipswich are clearly in the ascendancy, possible Premier league promotion is a stark reality for them and trye to form for any second rate outfit, they suddenly get more fans turning out to jump on the bandwagon and they actually needed a small section of the lower tier open to accommodate them. They are a reasonably well trained lot, they have come on leaps and bounds over the years, they can speak whole sentences now without dribbling and the banjo is not a must have accessory anymore but they still have an eye for their cousins and the six fingered salute is still a formal greeting used amongst them.

The Millwall fans were in a less ebullient mood. The expectations are at an all time low now and not many can see a way out of relegation. It is all about getting the performance right now, a gutsy display will always win over even the most demanding Millwall fan so as the ref got the game going, all eyes were focused on what sort of team Mr Holloway had sent out…
In truth, we started quite brightly, the unfamiliar line up not looking too unsynchronised and the first chance of the game came our way when Fabbrini showed us a glimpse of what he can do, pinging a shot narrowly wide after having his first attempt blocked.

But, as we have come to expect these days, it didn’t take long for the visiting team to test our resolve and yet again, we were found wanting. The Hunt brothers of Ipswich teamed up through the left channel and with the slightest of touches, Hunt S managed to push the ball past Forde for the softest of opening goals. 0-1 and that old familiar feeling was soon back with us. after just five minutes of play.

It wasn’t a complete melt down from the new look Lions although you could sense a slight sapping of confidence, the capitulation witnessed at Bradford was not on the agenda.

However…

With about 15 minutes gone we managed to gift the visitors with a second goal. It wasn’t exactly against the run of play but it wasn’t unexpected either.

Shocking defending saw the ball find its way to Hunt from Bru and he had a simple tap in to make it 0-2.
It all had an oh so familiar ring about it…

But, the Lions did not roll over and die completely although Ipswich clearly went in for the kill we managed to weather the storm and Forde did well to keep out a goal bound header from Anderson

We had some chances to get back in the game but unfortunately the ball kept falling to Abdou who is not renowned for his goal scoring abilities and he proved that very point by scuffing his efforts and the lanky `meierhoffer reminded us that his jumping and heading ability still hasn’t quite been mastered, heading a half decent chance well wide when presented with an opportunity inside the six yard box.

With half time approaching we finally got back into the game, a flick on finally paying dividends as Gueye raced forward and fired into the net to make it 1-2 at half time and for once the team left the pitch to applause rather than the usual cat calls and threats of mild violence.

The second half saw the Lions actually step up a gear and finally started to gain some ground. Powell hit a speculative shot from distance that went just off target and Gueye was stopped in his tracks as he was about to unleash a shot with a well timed tackle from Mings the merciless.

A free kick later by Gueye caused mild panic but again missed the target and then sent over a corner that Webster should have done better with, the big man’s header going well wide.

We were pressing hard for the equaliser but the next three chances again fell to wrong man, Abdou, who has about as much composure in front of goal as kid on Christmas morning with loads of gifts to unwrap.

Just after the hour mark Mr Holloway took off Fabbrini and sent on Martin for reasons best known to the manager and we lost our way a bit.

Then with about 15 minutes left Ipswich made a counter attack pay off as the ball found its way to Parr and he slotted past Forde with ease to make it 1-3.

Mr Holloway went into attack mode by taking off full back Cummings and putting on Fuller for the last ten minutes but this had no impact at all

We had no chance of getting back into it as Ipswich comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to push our run to five home defeats in a row and cemented our place in the relegation zone.

To be honest, I have already accepted we will be relegated, if by some minor miracle we survive the drop then I will be one happy camper but in truth I just can’t see it. Even so, playing against the teams from the top , like Ipswich, will not define what happens, we have to pick up points from our relegation rivals and with games against the likes of Reading, Huddersfield and the like coming up, we will know sooner rather than later what our fate might be.

The final whistle actually brought forth some applause for the lads rather than the usual chants of shit so that is a step in the right direction and with more changes to the starting eleven inevitable, there is some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ecen if and when we go down, Mr Holloway can assemble a new look Millwall that might actually make going again enjoyable, even if it is in Division 1.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go Oscar Wilde

Updated 18-01-2015 at 06:22 PM by FairweatherFan

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    good report Fairweather, thanks
    Good report, I wonder if these 10 days with out a game will help.
    Quote Originally Posted by 7 windmills
    Good report, I wonder if these 10 days with out a game will help.
    Only in that it'll be our longest period without a defeat this season.