Uruguay v England Your Report added by muccletonjoe at 13:15:32 It was quite plain to see within the opening 10 minutes that the England players were feeling the pressure and very few of them were able to deal with it. The need to get a result from this game plus the return of suarez to the uruguay starting 11 gave an impetus to their attack which was all but missing completely from their previous game against Costa Rica. Even so the English players should have been well aware of what suarez was capable of and therefor the space they granted him to head home the opening goal was pretty much unforgivable. At the start of the second half it looked very much as though England would be completely outplayed as cross after cross came into their penalty area , each one being dealt with by an increasingly panick stricken defence. They did however survive this storm and manage to get themselves in control of the game by the time Rooney equalised from the only decisive run johnson made in the entire game. With the team on the front foot , and the score at 1 - 1 someone ( perhaps everyone ? ) Decided to press the break pedal. And once again passes were despatched and received across the pitch and it looked very much as if the draw would be enough for them. Not so suarez and uruguay as a long punt forward grazed the top of Gerrards head and landed ionvitingly for suarez to run onto a crack past Hart with consumate ease. There can and will be the usual gnashing of teeth about how much they are paid and how the tactics were not properly deployed in either game but , to my eyes , on many levels , we just were not good enough
I thought we started the brighter of the two sides, most of the football was played in their half the first 20 minutes with the pacey trio of Sterling, Welbeck and Sturridge looking particularly impressive. I also thought we retrieved the ball very quickly and swamped round the Italian midfield quickly, not allowing them to push up and control the game in the way they wanted.
I think Henderson also deserves a mention, I thought he was very good first half, disciplined, useful in possession and had a decent effort well saved, faded slightly second but your bound to playing against 3 talented players in difficult conditions. I thought he outshone Gerrard throughout actually, with the latter having a slightly low key game and couldn't have the inspiration he's had both in a Liverpool and England shirt previous.
Watching the game I did feel we were the underdogs somewhat, because whilst we were probably on top the opposition didn't look particularly uneasy, and almost felt like they were happy to soak up pressure knowing they had the quality to turn the game at any moment. Which they did through Marchisio's well struck opener.
Our instant reply was an example of how elusive we can be, with the pace and ability we have up front I wouldn't be surprised if we score another goal or two very similar to our equalizer in the coming games. Second half was slightly more even with the tempo dipping, but again I still felt we looked the livelier of the two sides, but with Balotelli up front they always had an outlet and as the game went on I feel we became a little wasteful, particularly when crossing though fatigue may have played a part.
An exciting game to watch and positives going forward, particularly offensively, the full-back areas remain the most vulnerable positions in my view and with some wanting to see Rooney in a more familiar role, Roy has selection dilemmas ahead of Uruguay.
England v Italy Your Report added by Mullet at 14:26:00 Interesting and depressing to see the same lazy criticisms on here and elsewhere but also refreshing to see the many well informed types embracing the positives of this England team.
How nice was it to see us pass the ball about? Even when both sides were dog tired we moved it and worked it in the face of a solid blue wall - no humping. Yes, it was a shame we lost our way and couldn't get back into the game for a second time but how refreshing is our front line?
Only Colombia played with such joy and abandon so far this tournament, we just lacked the class and the focused deadly power that the Dutch excelled with.
I have to say while Rooney didn't cover the flanks well and Baines was exposed, the full back was also very patchy in all areas. Like a few out there he was fine when he had the space and time but struggled under pressure.
The Italian middle was sensational. We all knew about Pirlo and yet he still was given the yard he needed all too often. He just looked up and flicked it to the right flank unchecked numerous times, that was the real crux of the problem. Both he and De Rossi must have made 90% of their passes and that for me begs questions of Stevie G.
He's the main man for Liverpool in a similar role last night with club mate Henderson beside him he neither did or lead. That allowed us to be stifled in the middle and when we did get up a head of steam we really did put the Italians on the back foot at times.
If Welbeck was supposed to do that job on Pirlo from the middle then it wasn't working and I'm not sure that Roy followed Scholes' thinking there. He like Rooney and the Liverpool kids were great with their tails up but there was a disconnect between the solid CB partnership and the front line that was exploited all too readily. For all the criticism of Johnson beforehand I didn't think he did too badly in supporting us he just has a clear lack of class doesn't he?
Why was no one doubling up on the runner to cover Baines if they werent going to stop the passes at source in the midfield? Why wasn't Rooney allowed to go back into the centre and Welbeck moved to the flank if we wanted more discipline in that regard? Those were really the main questions I had from last night.
Some negatives yes, but to be honest expectations were so low before the tournament to be narrowly edged by the Italians in that fashion is neither that bad or a cause for the usual am-drams from the white vans innit. Tabloid favourite Wilshere was distinctly average in the centre too, I hope that was due to the quality in front of him making him look so lacklustre but he seems to be a player declining with each successive injury some games.
I still think we can take 6 points. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Italians stumble at least once. Wide open group where last night's opponents could finish in any position still.
We put in a good overall performance certainly more positive than negative thoughts for me, possibly a big ask to now get out of the group for this world cup but the signs are good for the next couple of tournaments. Roy was good to his word and played the young lions, fair play to him for that, he would have got an 8/10 from me.!
England v Italy Your Report added by muccletonjoe at 09:39:08 The game as a whole was a fairly even affair. England went forward with pace and purpose particularly in the first half , sterling and wellbeck both causing problems to sluggish italian defence. It must be said , the italians could have drove a tractor down their right side with Baines often left with two players to deal with and no one covering the overlap. A problem which persisted and was not addressed for the entire game. The italians first goal came from a rehearsed corner on their right side and could hardly be blamed on an unsigjted joe hart. To their credit England replied with their best move of the game , a pinpoint pass from rooney ,dispatched clinically by sturriddge. After the break the italians continued to exploit the wide open spaces on the left of the english defence and it came as no surprise to me when a cross from this area lead to balotelli heading home the winning goal. The usual huff and puff followed from England with , it has to be said , very little effect. Could still qualify , provided the problem on the left is dealt with.
England v Italy Your Report added by GavTWTD at 01:04:06 I was pleased with the way we set ourselves up for this one. Sterling was superb. No criticism for Roy in my opinion. The subs were sensible. Think we tired towards the end.
Makes getting out of the group very difficult but all is not lost - yet.
Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday Your Report added by Pessimistic at 14:00:40 Town struggled for long periods to get their game plan going and at times seemed labored in their approach play. Stand out forward Daryl Murphy was the main threat going forward and not surprisingly it was the Irishman who created the goal when the Sheffield Wednesday keeper could only palm away his effort and there was Tommy Smith on hand to put away the rebound.
Sheffield Wednesday had long and sustained periods of possession and it was no surprise when they got on level terms. Thankfully Hunt had one of his better games and it was he who place a perfect free kick onto the head of loanee Green for the winning goal.
Burnley v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 16:24:46 Town went to crash Burnley's promotion party in form as changeable as the weather. Washed out in a rarely seen all white, there was a need for more than a little bit of luck to go our way today. With more changes across the 18 there wasn't so much a need to knock on wood, but listen to the sound of our squad's barrel being tellingly scraped.
The same strong back five were shielded by another defender on the right in Richardson, a veteran on the left in Hunt and another central pairing of Skuse and Green. William and Murphy were the strikeforce with a job to do. It was a side a little lopsided and a little listless.
Stifling each other in the stiff spring breeze, both teams defended reasonably well from the off but it was Town who started weaker in the face of superior firepower. Burnley might have been home and dry but in front of a fairly sparse celebratory crowd they eked out the first of the chances. Town purred and pawed in the opening quarter for too long when they needed to roar.
It was the more attacking left hand side which saw Town achieve relative amounts of success as the threat of Ings in the middle and Kightly down the left were kept quieter than they'd have liked by double fullback combination Richardson and Chambo.
It was the loanee on the right who was found with a neat volleyed pass by Skuse that set Town away for the first notable time. The borrowed Boro player crossed high and long to no one. It signalled the limitations of Town all too well. As the middle pair of Green and Skuse grafted to good effect, the magic and menace of Williams and Murphy were lacking service or sight of goal to make their mark.
A half which took a while to come to life, sleepwalked its way into ending with Town showing solid movement out of the back but little life in the goalmouth. A header off the line from a decent set piece was the best chance from Town's endeavour but not the best bit of football.
When Murphy and Williams exchanged passes in triangular and angular sweeps from touchline to goal line it was greeted by an audible swell of hope across the away end. The gloves of Heaton rarely felt the sting of shots, while Gerken made one save from Ings which didn't do justice to the run he made to take it.
Williams would create a few things of note be it runs or balls that tested the top flight credentials of Burnley's backline but the shots he worked for himself and others never looked likely to produce results. Richardson had a good chance early on to bury one at the back post but diving in he failed to connect cleanly. Hunt too looked like he might do something if as always; you judged the run and not the resultant finish to each move. As it was we were clearly going in goalless, unless the hosts could take their minds back off promotion and into the moment. And so it was to be, but not just yet.
Town had 45 mins to keep the dream alive. The David Fishwick end a wood-filled pyre of hope as beneath the ribs of 400 Town fans the beating of fleeting hearts thumped with the faintest of hopes. There was to be little to spark the flames of expectation up to Mick's broken nose. Ten minutes in and they were all but extinguished.
Dangerman Ings ghosted into the box and Gerken splayed to stab studs on a simple shot. The fate of outrageous fortune fell to Kightly as the ball fell onto his foot to sweep home Burnley's lead, and brush away any chances we might have had of joining them next year.
Town were up against it and Burnley began changing tack. The excellent Stanislas on they had now in their favour the one thing Town have lacked all season – pace. If we had one or two more legs that moved as quickly as we moved the ball today, or any other this year we might be dispelling nagging doubts, not equating them with clear failures in this game as in any other.
The introduction of Taylor and Nouble for the original widemen was a positive move. Both were busy, both impressively keen. One false first touch aside the badboy from the bench was much improved today. Skipping past men on either flank, a flurry of stepovers past two markers yielded a dangerous cross on more than one occasion.
When Green worked the ball from a diving Heaton's hands he didn't know where he, or it was to capitalise. Such was the nature of the game and Town's luck. As both teams pushed and pulled each other around literally and metaphorically it would be the set pieces which offered Town the most hope of parity. Headers down and away missed marks as attackers missed markers at either end. The home fans cooed as Ings bent one well wide, Nouble would do much better and regain composure to dip a volley off the outstep to dip just over. I can't have been the only one to moisten and moan in exasperation.
As a move it was only bettered by the felling of Town legs on the edge of the box. Cresswell once again had the set piece taken away from him as Taylor put the ball down. Bending a run almost as furiously as his shot, the excellent effort produced an excellent save. The shot was clawed impressively from the postage stamp as if the points themselves were being ripped from Town's grasp.
As Burnley tugged the wool slowly over the ref’s eyes with a substantial amount of gamesmanship in both halves, with it came the curtain on our season. Town fans ran through the song-sheet repertoire when calls for Marriot to come on as he did in this fixture at the end of last season fell on deaf ears. Mick stuck with what he knew, hoping as we did it'd yield goals in the dying moments. It didn't.
Perhaps we can look back on this as with any other fixture and rue and remember that miscued touch here or that missed decision there. It does no good to navel gaze. Instead cast your eyes up and your gaze beyond the endless summer to next season. Next week is meaningless beyond blooding those in Mick's maybe pile. It ends not with a bang but a whimper then. Oh well, enough said.
Ipswich Town v AFC Bournemouth Your Report added by RomfordBlue at 19:33:18 They looked tired from the third minute. They were outpasses throughout the game by a far better Bournemouth side that were unlucky not to win the game. Every player looked below par - and playing at home with one possible two up front in such an important match - what tactics are they. Time after time it was lob ball to a Bournemouth player or head tennis. When ther ball was on the ground, Bournenouth out passed us and at times had us running round in circle=s like headless chickens. And talking about headless chickens, who ever told Frank Nouble he was a footballer? He was lost from the time he came on as a sub. He didn't seem to know what his instructions were, where he was suppose to play and what he was suppose to do! We showed today why we have no chance in the PREMIER AND NO CHANCE OF GETTING THERE!
Ipswich Town v Doncaster Rovers Your Report added by DanLyles at 14:05:10 The first half wasn't exactly the best spectacle, with myself wondering what difference Wordworth's passing range would add to the occassion. A certain other outcast came to mind with Hunt and Anderson failing to really run at their full backs, with the exception of one Paul cross which Stephen should have converted.
When McCarthy brought on Nouble and SEB in the second half to play up front with Murphy then we looked a real threat. Williams had some good options with those 3 in front of him and behind him a solid foundation in Hyam, Skuse who guarded the again excellent back five (with Gerken, who had a good game).
Nouble wasn't quite as good as previous games but still far better than the player who started the season and got himself into two excellent positions, one of which he should have scored. SEB is a threat and needs a bit of luck to get off the mark. If we did reach the play offs and McGoldrick was fit, I could see McCarthy keeping Williams behind Murphy. Dids would excel in a similar role to Nouble's floating in from the flank and I'm sure he would converted the chances that fell to Frank.
I can see why McCarthy starts with Hunt and Anderson to keep it tight in the first half as they are highly industrious and make us very difficult to break down. As teams and especially defences tire the last thing they want to face is 3 strikers like Murph, SEB and Nouble who are physically imposing and possess some pace. As I said earlier if Dids is fit he will make us even more of a threat.
Huddersfield Town v Ipswich Town Your Report added by thereuser30 at 09:20:59 A nippy Tuesday evening brought me to Huddersfield, and the night was crisp. Dragging along a City fan, the journey was spent musing the play offs, City's chances for the title, Veseli's development and young Henshall - who, incidentally, I laughed off when he asked if he would be on the bench tonight.
When the squads came out, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a Hyam-Woody or Skuse-Woody partnership in the middle, yet glad to revert to conventional wingers in Hunt and Anderson. With Williams being a nusiance in the oft mentioned 'hole', I sensed Towun could grab something at the John Smith stadium - a ground which is sunk into the ground.
With one eye on the games around the grounds, we kicked off - the Tractor Boys' followers ever optimistic and the first 5 minutes were generally spent fetching the ball from a long ball as the Blues penned Huddersfield into their own half. Then the magic happened, as Anderson, cut in, hit one and the way it was struck you just knew it was in. An absolute peach. 1-0
Naturally, Ipswich were on top, and looked to press this advantage, Williams having a few snap shots on target, Hunt and Anderson providing the much missed width on the flanks with a solid base of Skuse and Hyam. The second goal came, and it was coming, and the ex-Mackem slotted it into the net, making it two. As the half drew to a close, 'Uddersfield began their first real flurry of attacks. A goal here, I worried, would change the complexion of the game - as the cliché goes. But our stalwarts Smith and Berra held out, with Smith showing lovely footwork to beat the Huddersfield winger to clear. Delicious.
The introduction of Sean Scannell was one which worried me - his pace and direct running threatened Ipswich, but a few sure blocks kept the two goal cushion in tact. A few changes, the bearded Wordsworth for Hunt and Mings for Cresswell looked to sure up the left side - Wordsworth with his slick passing, missing an opportunity to cross or shoot midway through the second half, but otherwise faultless. Mings looked solid, his passion shown by racing back to win the ball after giving it to Scannell. The Ipswich fans, still in full voice, cheered our newly crowned electric hero Joniesta off, singing his praises long after he'd taken his seat in the dugout - an indication of his value and how well he's been appreciated. With Richardson his replacement, Town moved to a 5-4-1 - looking to see out the game with no nervy moments. A few time wasting moments, a flash of a chance for the tireless, ever running hardworker that is Murphy, Ipswich saw the game out in a win which matched that which Chelsea achieved at Stamford Bridge. The boys were back, the belief rekindled and the iconic fist pump by our Captain, Luke Chambers rubberstamped the win.
Huddersfield Town v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 23:32:25 Another trip North for Tractor boys and girls and another chance to chase the elusive dream of playoff placed glory for Ipswich tonight. The curves of the John Smith's arena framed a contest between two Towns looking to put their season's on the map for different reasons.
Mick kept the same shape as the weekend and the same style but shuffled his pack. For a man often criticised for being predictable he dealt returns to the starting line up for Ando and Hunt out wide. This was in place of Saturday's choices of Woody and Nouble both taking their places on an attack heavy bench. Surprise inclusion Henshall would stay hidden tonight but pointed to a manager knowing points now mean prizes.
Town kicked off and a minute or two of head tennis was replaced by both sides' love of getting the ball down. It would be Ipswich however who made the better start. To a man we worked and shepherded the Terriers onto the back foot and into their half more often than not. Anderson, Murphy and Williams caught the eye with a flurry of early chances coming from their poise and prowess pointing forward.
The boys with beards combined first when Murphy cut an angle only 2 mins in to force a smart near post save from Smithies, thanks to a neat lay off and overlap from Ando. The crowd and the red-shirted Blues wanted more, and let it be known. Williams chipped away at Huddersfield like a true artist. Sculpting a lovely ball into the danger zone which the keeper patrolled well. Meanwhile behind the eye-catching trinity of attack, the nervous energy of Hunt and the engine room of Hyam and Skuse supplied the forward momentum.
Cole was almost secretarial in his cultured football again, and despite recent questions and criticism sent through classy passes repeatedly and without remorse to fashion space and time for his colleagues. In fact it seemed Town had had plenty of chances when Anderson drifted wide right. Found in space after more great link up play, he cut in and sent the ball sailing across the goal. Smithies dived after it but it nestled sweetly in the net with little effort. A temporal distortion as Town fans rose and ruptured into slow and unbridled celebration with as many minutes as fingers on a Norfolk glove on the clock. Huzzah!
The home side were no mugs and sought their own way on the game. Capitalising on the odd poor touch from Town who by now took an early grip on the game. Gerken was rarely tested as scant opportunity yielded snapshots high and wide on merely two occasions. It is with credit the backline were so resolute. Cresswell in particular covered more ground than an agricultural sprinkler system, spraying passes back out and away from harm with ease.
Town were in the ascendency and chances kept coming. On the broad rippling back of Darryl Murphy, he stood alone up front against a central three. Tonight he was MOTM, tonight he was immense. Often dismissed as a workhorse he showed pedigree to set free everybody's new chum Joniesta with a tic-tac-toepoke just over the bar from distance much to the travelling fans delight.
Likewise the rest of the Town frontrunners sought their own chance for glory and numerous corners, shots and crosses kept up the pressure which failed to tell only days before up at Blackburn. This time it was the away side as well as the fans that were singing as one. Ipswich nearly had a second when Williams was tumbled outside of the box. Play on was the wave, and Ando did so. Scampering onto the ball he was denied by a smart Smithies save and the home side broke. Skuse and Hyam dealt with it well and returned the ball from whence it came. Victory was close at hand as once we more reached deep into our reserves and used our width to torment the hosts.
A ricochet from Williams' boot to defender's leg back off Williams somehow yielded a corner just after the half hour. It dropped invitingly in the middle of the area but no Town player joined the party. That was until a smart header dinked it back in the box. Our Gaelic Goliath dropped his shoulder and contorted his body around the path of the ball. With one fluid movement stabbing it on the bounce under the arcing ribs of the keeper and deep into the onion bag. Gloria! Euphoria! 2-0! 3 points? Surely now!
As half time came, Town were rampant. The slickness of passing more prominent and prevalent than at the weekend. The desire to harry space and time out of the game and away from the home side clear to see. Unlike a lover's chin Hyam is often lauded for his work off the ball. Tonight he showed his strong suit and even dealt out some decisive play forward with simple passing into the channels the attacking players were working so well.
In a week where the nostalgia for three stripes and old glories was as palpable as the desire for three points tonight, we'd already seen and smelt flares at the back of the away end, whilst on the pitch hung the scent of Yorkshire blood. All day I dream of such things for our beloved side.
The second half saw Huddersfield remove the former McCarthy prodigy Hammill, displaced and displeasing it was the oft-impressive Scannell who took up arms in the middle from the bench. The Terriers tightened up and Town perhaps wary of the mistakes of the weekend being less than welcome so soon again on a school night, were a little more choosy with their forays towards the travelling support behind the goal.
It's clear what Williams brings and while he maybe seen as a magical sticking plaster, it'd be unfair to do down the efforts he encourages from those around him. Forcing foul and passes backwards with his hunger and direct threat he moves just off the shoulder of target man Murphy to great effect. However despite the insistence of the enamoured town fans he was not to score tonight. It seemed everything he touched would be turned away to someone else.
On the hour Mings came on for Cresswell a straight swap of sorts. He offered a very different option and perhaps answered the question posed just before by a scampering Scannell. The sub ran off centre but lacked bang and bite as the ball trailed off behind the goal. It was a reminder against compacency as Mick looked to shuffle his pack and rest a few legs.
Shortly after the revitalised Woody popped up from the bench and onto the left wing. Hunt who had danced and dazzled on either flank with little luck had his number raised and was asked to come in. The new darling of Portman Road immediately took his place amongst a series of slick one touch passing between half a dozen Town players as we worked the ball down the left flank and into the danger zone twice in quick succession.
Murphy arced a run perfectly to the byline and nearly extended the lead as his drilled cut back skipped of defensive boot and forced a smart parry at Smithies' ankle. You sensed that well deserved third might not be too far away.
Gerken had a little more to do in this half following the one good punch and the odd necessary kick that marked out his first 45. The small scuffle he had tonight in holding onto his clean sheet took a slightly more violent turn as in this half. Huddersfield turned on the pressure but time was against them and so were their own feet more often than not.
When on loan Williams departed with 5 minutes to go the Suffolk contingent behind the goal serenaded him off with his own song once again. A passionate and rousing rendition clearly imploring him to join the culture of this club and stay beyond the summer. Who knows?
A cynic might say Mick matched his opposition yet again by including Richardson and letting Town see out the game with a fluid and functional 5-4-1 that swirled seamlessly into 3 at the back when we pushed the ball into the corners. However it showed the professionalism and discipline needed to do the job. A third was unnecessary and unavailable as the referee pursed his lips one last time and Town took home the spoils.
Chambo couldn't hold down the glee as he kept us waiting with a grin that spread and spasmed to his shoulders, he stormed towards the hoardings and pumped that celebratory fist aloft. It clearly meant a lot to him and us. For tonight is not just like any other night. That's why we dream anew again of three soft syllables Wem-ber-lee. Perhaps.
Huddersfield Town v Ipswich Town Your Report added by cbower at 22:47:49 Live in Huddersfield so a "home" game for me. Pretty much the complete away performance from Town. Dominated the first half, great goal from Anderson, well taken strike from Murph and countless other chances to boot. $-0 would not of flattered Town at the interval. God football, possession retained, threats from the flanks and solid, effective defending whilst keeping our shape.
Not quite as dominant in the second period but defensively solid. Huddersfield's first strike on goal in 80th minute forced Gerken into a stop with his feet. Saw out the game very comfortably.
Gerken - virtually untroubled Chambers - outstanding. Faultless defensively and an attacking threat throughout as well Cresswell - looked class. Taken off on the hour, hopefuly as a precaution Berra & Smith - dominant. Looking a good pair Anderson - great goal, much more positive and a good shift Hyam - terrier-like against the Terrriers. Doing the dirty work all the time Skuse - controlled the midfield all game Hunt - best I've seen him play. Warmly applauded when substituted Murphy - another goal and solid performance. Williams - gives the class we have missed. JInks, bobs and weaves. Crucially, he rarely loses possession. A season long loan - I'd love it. More chants of "sign him up" and "Jonathan Williams" to the tune of Karma Chameleon from the fans Mings - looked solid. One for the future for sure Wordsworth - retained possession when needed Richardson - did the job he was asked to do
Starting to think we might just sneak in there.
Blackburn Rovers v Ipswich Town Your Report added by thereuser30 at 11:06:50 Late in the second half, Sylan Ebanks-Blake attempted a bicycle kick after a corner in a crowded penalty area. I think that just about summed up the Ipswich performance that breezy afternoon. Making the trek across to Lancashire, I attended the third Ipswich game of the season, buoyed by recent dreams, excitement and festering hopes of a play off position. Having been patted down on arrival, my pre-match was spent watching the boys warm up whilst wondering how on earth someone smuggled a chicken into the ground. Highlights of past Town games were shown, as I found myself reminiscing at the days of Holland (scoring a delicious volley) and Mowbray (what was he doing up there?!)
If the above musings were an indication of the quality of the game, then it was spot on. After a few early passages of play which could have lead to a few openings, it was shown that the odd formation that Mick had deployed was not working - especially with the beast that is Franck Nouble on the left wing. After giving the ball away to the pacy Cairney, Town were lucky to not concede during Blackburn's first chance of the game.
The middle passage of play created chances few and far between, a few headers, a couple of crosses that Cresswell should have put in, not Nouble followed up by some wayward Cole Skuse passes, half-time came as a blessing, with Berra doing well to keep the pantomime villain Rhodes quiet. Blackburn looked threatening when they attacked, with Murphy running around a lot up top, feeding off scraps. Naturally, the ever-electric Jonathan Williams was the most exciting player, with Town fans creating a hum of excitement whenever he picked up the ball.
Post half-time, Town started slowly, and were almost immediately punished by none other than Jordan Rhodes - the stadium announcer gleefully reminding everyone that his 50th League Goal for Blackburn had just been clocked; naturally against familiar opposition. The Blackburn fans came to life, with the section to the Town fan's right suddenly reminded that they were in fact watching a game of football. My highlight? Having what seemed like 7-10 year olds cackling and flipping the bird at me. Classic Blackburn?
Town somehow still didn't come to life, as the game grew into another lull - our borrowed Joniesta making a gut busting run from our half to theirs, his own shot gasping wide. A corner which should not have been resulted in a goal from Gestede; a few Town fans left.
Murphy remained isolated, Hyam the hardest worker in the middle of the park, with Wordsworth seemingly not being able to have the freedom I'm sure he craved. Chambers reminded me that he is, in fact, still a CB by trade, with his crosses and a shot he had woeful.
The introduction of Ebanks-Blake injected some energy, with a few more shots.. but nothing doing. Hunt's urgency was much needed, raising the question as to why he wasn't introduced earlier.
The performance, as summed up by our boss in more expletive terms "We were rubbish, they were rubbish but they scored two and we didn't"
Heading to Huddersfield on Tuesday night, hoping for a better performance. But for me, the play-off dream is down to a pilot light. I'd like to see Hewitt, Veseli, Henshall all given a run out before the end of the season. Are we ready for the Premier League? No chance. Do we have a chance to compete again next year? Absolutely. Let's hold onto Mick and keep developing our youngsters.
Blackburn Rovers v Ipswich Town Your Report added by Mullet at 18:55:59 The three big stands and one shed, faded and near empty as they stood around idly at Ewood park are relics belonging to a club whose former glories depended on investment and invention. Today they housed a few home fans and a fair few Town in this afternoon's encounter. Fears Mick would set up for a draw were soon put to bed as he sketched out a plan of attack by recalling Nouble and Wordsworth to flank Williams behind Murphy. Skuse and Hyam the Ipswich Lamps and Gerrard ran the engine room as the faithful back five took their places as usual.
Town started much the stronger side although it'd be Williamson who took aim for the Rovers first. A clear sight of goal saw a tame effort met by Gerken, before the hosts sat back and allowed Town to wander where they liked. Quick and sweeping football saw one touch passing and ball retention play Town into great positions often, but lack penetration.
You can see why Joniesta is already so adored. A low centre of gravity brings a high return of footballing fun as he dribbles and darts betwixt boot and shadow of clumsy defenders. The inclusion of Nouble on the left and Woody on the right is worth a few words. It looked a tactical brush-stroke reminiscent of the Dutch master of yore that was savvy in a game often messy.
Blackburn have some very familiar names but no real stars judging by their first half display and it was left to man of the match Gestede to elicit much of the Lancastrians' whimpering fireworks deep into the first half. His fizzing drive over the bar perhaps the games most spectacular effort, but far from the most telling.
When Town went forward there was a rumble across the back row of a packed away end and real belief that the zeal of pass, move and pass again was really the only way we would win today. Nouble showed his best and worst, dancing into the box past two men on one occasion; touching the ball two yards over the line from a beautiful Skuse pass across the field on another. A superb sub, he lacks impact over 90mins of late much like the man who dropped right out of the squad today Anderson. His most frustrating moment was actually on the half way line. Johnny on the overlap and clear green between him and the goal for all of sixty yards the nomadic Nouble failed to look up and dig a simple pass out to set him free. It was definitely not “Noooobs” that was brayed in response.
Gerken was later forced into mandatory heroics. The real star of the Rovers show former Town linkee Conway sent in one of many excellent crosses, but even so close to Easter it failed to kill off Town as our glovesman pulled the ball from inside the post.
Murphy meanwhile was in bullish mood. Buffering and blasting hard yards as always he allowed the Welshman behind him to play Town well in front in terms of entertainment but sadly not goals. Time and again the midfield conspired to beat Robinson but showed themselves unable. The best break of all in the first saw Murphy supplied by Woody as Town rushed forward, Cresswell would see his shot from the Irishman's pull back cannon off a defender. A soft call for a penalty maybe as the sliding tackle was attached to a raised arm but it would have cheated the hosts this time.
Rovers swaggered, staggered and looked like ten men as faint murmurs from Berra's pocket could be heard when the vocal Tractor boys softened to a purr. Presumably Rhodes had been there since he decided to jump into the Scot elbows first early on. He did emerge again until deep into the second half but that's a tale grim enough to save.
As half time approached the reds of Ipswich passed by the hosts on numerous forays forward, opting to shoot arrows from afar but never really got a shot on target you felt would prove decisive. The beautifully crafted design of the side was flawed by us trying to match the hosts in giving the ball away cheaply. When Berra slipped having been played into trouble by Smith it allowed Blackburn to apply the first bit of pressure when up until now they had been like inept masseurs. Such was the nature of the game and the football at this level just below the playoffs.
By the time the half time whistle came the game was only really marred by a referee who only seemed to look and book one way. Woody rightly carded perhaps but Kilgallon and Williamson both should have seen yellow earlier for shirt pulls and snapping at legs alike. The tragedy was in full effect when Blackburn were given a laughable freekick for their man clashing with Joniesta and inflicting a head injury on himself and his victim. Reflection mid-piss pointed to what might lie ahead.
In the second Town who had been early pacesetters, failed to hit the ground running. Blackburn's change in tempo saw Ipswich trip themselves up. Relying too often on breaking from our own box in a period where we lined it as our own prison cell. The brightest of such moments saw Williams all on his own charge at and past 4 defenders. Rampaging like a scornful child, just off centre his flick around one pushed him too far wide. The resulting ball across the box a hair's width ahead of Murphy who was playing catch up.
It reminded us all why we love exciting football. It reminded us all why taking chances counts. Blackburn pushed as all Town changed was wingers' respective wings. A poor day of passing for Hyam didn't help, as he gifted the hosts possession when we were already under pressure. It was indicative of the kind of day at the office Mick's men were having.
Just past the hour more than the clock would strike. An unmarked Rhodes is hazard best not ignored in any sort of conditions. A simple flick over the top saw him leap from his hiding place and pull Berra's and Town's pants down. The tap-in merchant used the opportunity and yards of space as a nail with which to peg us back. Whack. 1-0.
Town were keen to respond and did so with a gallant charge forward but it cut little ice. Soon after as the game ebbed away taking our confidence with it the result was put beyond all doubt. A soft as you like “push” in the corner heralded a free kick. Swing into a packed box, Gestede sprung like a Jack to bury a simple header low and hard, knocking Town firmly onto their ass. Sh1t. 2-0.
As Nouble, Williams, Chambers all took turns to labour chances with little artistry on the right hand corner of the home side's box time and inclination ran out on Ipswich. Robinson was barely tested as Cresswell launched freekicks into touch and crosses into the box to little avail.
The removal of Woody for SEB saw us change shape in the last quarter but not fortune. The man with the most goal scoring pedigree on the field drew a blank. His best chance a rasping shot charged down. It was far removed from Town's best shot in the game where earlier in the second spell Nouble magicked up a swirling effort just shy of the top corner well saved.
All in all it was a game where Town embodied many clichés. Strong in only one of two halves we fell at the fences late on, simply because we tripped ourselves up. In a game where we showed we have the qualities of a contender we still lack the quality to go beyond being Championship material.