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Your Report added at 20:13:00
A plodding game where the 'highlight' was poor officials and a defensive blunder.

Derby are a neat passing attacking team who deserve to be near the top but they did look like they were struggling against the tenacity of the Ipswich squad although they did a good job of keeping Murphy tightly marked forcing Town to attack down the wings rather than with direct balls.

No player really shone out, while no player was particularly poor - it was one of those games that just was and will not be remembered in that much detail in the long term.

Played in cold swirling winds the movement of the ball was somewhat unpredictable, no doubt this was a major factor with Tommy Smith failing to clear the ball when it bounced in front of him. It's the second game in a row when a defender has done this and the second time we've let a goal in this way. It's something we must tighten up.

The referee wanted to be the star and dominated the game. He was certainly noticed almost from the off. I say a good ref is one you don't notice so conclude he isn't a good ref! That's without considering the numerous blunders he made such as booking someone for being fouled and missing a stonewall handball that should have given us a penalty.

In goal - Bialkowski looks reliable, no blame with the goal and I can't remember a mistake.

Defence - Mings was often drawn into playing too deep and Derby used that for quick counter attacks so I wouldn't say it was one of his best games. Chambers is more cautious going forward and seemed less likely to take risks - as always it's good to have the two different styles on opposite side. Berra and Smith were solid as always apart from the one mistake by Smirth that resulted in the goal.

Midfield - Skuse was really missed today, I hope he gets well soon. Hyam was adequate but not outstanding in the same role. Hyam's a good played but is better in a more forward position, however he seems to be tasked with the defensive midfield position too often. Tabb helped Hyam out but in doing so wasn't always there to help Mings. Can't fault Bishop, he covered a lot of grass and looked exhausted in the second half. Anderson looked very average, he did what he did ok but didn't do anything that was that noticeable. Over the second half Bru and the Hunt brothers replaced Tabb, Bishop and Anderson. Bru showed some extra vision with passes and had a couple of half chances, he was ok - I'd like to see him play a full game. Stephan Hunt looked directionless, especially after he had a clash of heads with Ibe - I think he would have been subbed if we had any subs left. Noel Hunt only had a few touches of the ball so I can't really say much.

Forwards - Murphy was tightly marked and hardly touched the ball although this did give a bit more space to McGoldrick, who is looking like he's lacking a bit of confidence at the moment. We had a fair few chances but few of them were good chances.

It's one of those games - if I played it on Championship Manager it could have gone either way (or a draw). If the result went against me I'd be tempted to re-load and play again. Pity you can't do that in real life!
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Your Report added at 22:59:42
Whack it long to Murphy, who is marked out of the game. Norwich pass it around a few times and it goes out of play. Town get the ball back, pass it around at the back until it's whacked long to Murphy and the cycle repeats. We need more variety or there will be no progress. Ever.
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Sheffield United v Carlisle United Your Report added at 20:54:32
Good to start with a win. Town looked tidy and in control for most of the game. If we can do the same for the remaining games we'll have a great season.
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Colchester United v Salford City Your Report added at 15:50:35
Needed a bit of cooling off time before posting my comments. A bore draw. Ultimately the two teams cancelled each other out and it became a game where both sides were more scared to lose than push for a win. Blackpool are an attacking team with a vulnerable defence and Ipswich a defensive team with the attacking players marked out of the game. Hunt did a lot of directionless running, Hyam seemed to come back from injury a game too soon, SEB got some game time but looked unfit, Taylor was mysteriously dropped from the bench, Tabb was given a more defensive role but was widely criticised - he also failed to get a shot on target when given a golden chance.

In the end there are only 10 points between the teams and Blackpool are starting to get things together after a torrid period. The game will be forgotten by both sides very quickly. Town are now almost mathematically safe from relegation (88% safe, one more point will be 100% safe). Going back to September that would be the first aim of the season achieved and doing so in February is a success.
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Morecambe v Port Vale Your Report added at 16:51:09
Hunt ran himself into the ground. I was glad MM took him off when he did as I was worried he'd pick up a silly second yellow. Tabb played a different game when he came on and was a bit invisible until he set up the second goal. As far as MotM goes it's clearly between the solid work at the back by bandaged and numberless Berra or the running and constant attack minded play from Hunt. In this case I'll give it to Hunt as he really shook up the Reading defence throughout the game.
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Port Vale v Salford City Your Report added at 19:08:46
The first half was a buzzing performance in a buzzing atmosphere. Having the Fortuna fans around really helped to get the fans going and the QPR fans didn't sit on their hands. Overall it was a very entertaining half with some sleek passing football topped off with a stunning reaction save from Gerken. Without Murphy there wasn't a clear target for long balls so we got to see passing football instead - while it was pretty to watch it was also ineffective when pushing forwards with the QPR defence almost always in control.

Joey Barton played the clown role by deliberately placing the ball slightly outside the line for corners but at such an angle the fans could see the ball was out of play but the officials could not. It didn't really matter as his corners were scruffy at best.

In the second half it was clear QPR were a bit more determined but it was still quite a level game until they scored. Not sure which players were at fault but the defence crumbled and offered very little resistance to the second and third. Town's goal was a deserved consolation.

3-1 was a harsh score with the only real difference between the two teams the ability to score. I hope Mick keeps this team together for another game as I believe they could dominate a weaker team.
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Oldham Athletic v Carlisle United Your Report added at 18:20:33
One-nil up and sit back for the rest of the game. Again.

A very disappointing performance, the three points were there for the taking but we didn't have the ability to kill the game.

Gerken is a proficient keeper but his kicking is a bit erratic. The defence looked solid - some great tackles from Smith in particular and Berra put in a good shift. Chambers plays an interesting role as he looks more like a central defender but has the freedom to push forwards but doesn't seem to know what to do when he crosses the halfway line in open play. Cresswell had a good game on the left although he did try and be a bit too clever a couple of times but wasn't caught out. Tabb blended into the background, I can't remember him doing much.

Taylor did a lot of running - mostly huffing and puffing. Seemed to prefer playing deeper rather than up front and could be the creative midfielder we're missing although clearly not match fit at the moment. Murphy worked really hard until he took a knock - disappointed he didn't get a goal.

Hyam did ok off the bench, as a defensive player it's difficult to appreciate a short appearance. McGoldrick looked decent but loses a point for the penalty miss. Nouble looked crowded out as soon as he got the ball - he certainly isn't the type of target man Murphy is.

Anderson did ok, dropping back to defence when Chambers pushed forwards and holding things together in midfield, good but nothing amazing. Skuse worked really hard the whole game - I'd love to see the stats, I'm sure he covers more of the pitch than most players. Tunnicliffe had a good first half but faded out a bit in the second (as did much of the team).
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Birmingham City v Middlesbrough Your Report added at 01:51:01
It seems Loach is going through a phase of one error/game. Unfortunately as a goalkeeper there's very little margin for error (while a striker making one mistake a game wouldn't be a bad thing). I wonder how much is psychological?

The defence looked solid enough. I'll need to watch the replays of the goals but at the match there wasn't any specific feeling that any defenders had messed up.

Not so sure about the midfield, seemed to give the ball away too much while defensively sound. Nobody really put their foot on the ball. Perhaps it's time to rotate the squad a bit, especially Tabb/Edwards who didn't really add much width.

McGoldrick looked decent, especially in the first third but started to drift out of the game after that. Murphy looked rather mediocre. Again perhaps another forward could be given a chance ahead of him.
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