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Mullet added 21:24 - Mar 12
Hello Cardiff my old friend. A team that across the span of Town's widening Championship aeon has entertained and entangled the hopes of many campaigns. Often a worthy second tier sparring partner. Today, they played host to another changed Town. Bart forced to change his shirt was bedecked in yellow and green as the game kicked off - his hands seemingly unimpaired. The usual back four had Skuse and Hyam just behind Bru and Pringle. Sears partnered Murphy as again Mick favoured a more traditional approach of 4-4-2.

Unfamiliarity reigned in the home side who also had a keeper missing but from the starting lineup as Moore took up in goal. An unorthodox 4-4-1-1 with what looked all too often like 3 CB's shoehorned into a defence thanks to Peltier's lack of mobility. Oh how novel their teamsheet read when stood out on the pitch in a solid but insipid manner.

A few minutes of heads and volleys announced the coming of a football match. Cardiff didn't really dominate possession as had been a problem for Town earlier this week, but they did make better use of territory. The midfield looking less overrun thanks to Skuse and Hyam but more tasked with running towards balls intended to go over them.

Sears was his usual lively self, with Murphy straight back into the side and defenders alike, the big man did well on the right with all aspects of his anatomy to play in Hyam. The more attacking version of the midfielder found Murphy again, nodding on to one of our own in Freddie. The striker forcing a low and firm save with a similar shot. That may well have been it for us, and for them such was the nature of the game barely 5 minutes old.

While Pringle and Bru laboured on the edge of the wings with greater output, they rarely looked like finding a way to put Cardiff out. When Calamity Manga shanked a ball out for a corner under the least amount of Irish interrogation Town had one of many corners from which we threatened. Good movement and good delivery counted for very little as twice Cardiff won fouls when Bru was all set up to have a go, but adjudged to be the wrongdoing Johnny Foreigner on the spot. On 15 minutes we were willing every Pringle cross into the Welsh net, on 17 the Bluebirds were peeling away from ours triumphantly.

A quick sweep forward and a speculative Noone cross from the right wing with a sweet left boot was obligingly put away for a corner. If Tuesday had seen our whole season flash before Town eyes, the set piece was a still image incriminating one of our most habitual crimes. A defender moved inside the Town box, and no other player seemed to as who else but Manga, would unleash carnage in the box and blast past Bart? The sound of Bluebirds soaring echoed around their largely empty nest. A featherweight Town got back up off one knee.

Town looked far from beaten, but both sides looked beatable. Again the orange-clad Blues were good in two thirds of the pitch, in more than two thirds of the first half, but all in all it was more than a fraction off the required standard to close in on the hosts' playoff spot.

More than once Cardiff went through our players late and with both feet. Only once did Town win a free kick in a place that mattered. But as with everything Pringle threw teasingly up in the air, Town heads and feet dropped in the wrong place and time to really fire off anything of note. When Knudsen bent a lovely ball in behind the full back, Sears forced a corner that showed early intent and the visceral desire we're so accustomed to from McCarthy's men, but at no point could you feel any of the good build ups were going to pay off.

As the half time whistle came, a dread hum of silence rang out. Despite Murphy and Berra heading efforts somewhere in the right direction, it was only Sears' shot that had troubled the stand-in who stood between us and parity. The game was flat, the ground was flat, the whole thing a bit too Suffolk in form and feeling as we now stood again off English soil, a long way from that night in the San Siro. From the murky swirl of midfield industry thanks to Skuse and Hyam, the deliveries of Pringle and Bru just didn't seem enough to land trouble on Welsh doormats. It was hard to know if this was two good sides making each look crap, or two crap sides who'd previously been consistent enough to be considered good.

Bru never emerged from the tunnel, as the Town's second chance to score in the Principality began with Pitman in his place. A decidedly 4-2-3-1 saw all three attacking players take turns at playing in Murphy's wake. The tide never really seemed to turn.

Cardiff would control and counter. The Bluebirds feeding their former Canary enough to sh1t all over the momentum Ipswich hoped to build. In one encounter he was one on one with
Berra just outside the box. Getting a shot off seemed too much effort so he craftily drew a foul and threw himself down. When Whittingham stood over it nearly a thousand Ipswich hearts fluttered. The older, but still deadly dead-ball specialist had a touch of the Koumas about him, but not the rub required to kill us off completely. Bart however, had the touch of anything he and anyone else put near him as the free kick failed to live up to billing.

On the hour Town's second (and fittingly second-best) chance of the game to definitely test the keeper went begging. Sears again waspily menaced as he drew covering fire. Pitman boosted the attack with a header and Hyam worked himself into centre of the action. His expansive chip across the defence put Pringle through on the left hand side. With his little legs aflail and adjusted to stun, the blonde bombed his shot over and out. It felt significant, it felt awful.

While Town had all the slow, thudding, swagger of a Tom Waits tale; we looked bogged down by the associated doom and human fragility, rather devoid of the quality too. As it was Bart who was tipping over efforts that asked questions, and Cardiff that had more to smile about as we looked increasingly like the butt of life's cruel jokes.

Shots deflected, and runners' runs detained away from goal as Sears and Pitman played second wave to Murphy who was making openings but daylight still remained between the sides.

As the game lurched Mick threw on muscle for mercurial endeavour. Varney replaced Pringle in a move that saw 4 strikers on form a band of three behind Murphy. The formation remained but the functionality dwindled as it became apparent we were pointing more guns at the Bluebirds but had far less bullet to bring to the bar. The darkly comedic sight of Town players holding a committee meeting in the area as they all expected a corner to come their way with no taker on the pitch, hung in the memory like the stench of sh1t in the air.

Twice Sears went short, and twice no one knew what was going on. He played a one-two but had far too many men to beat as his hint at a shot drew blank gazes in the better of the brace of chances. More than once he was allowed to line up efforts but fired off target in a half that frustrated rather than fizzed. Late on he forced a scramble that looked close to goal, but far away from drawing level as again he stood out, and again he stayed goalless.

With time running out like so many of our balls forward after moments of intricate passing, Cardiff withdrew all hopes of a second goal (for them an us). First Whittingham went off as Gunnarsson was charged with shoring up, then Pilkington later for Dikgacoi. If nothing else said Slade fancied his chances over our lack of them then that last change did. Strikerless and still testing our defence on the rare moments we didn't pin theirs back, grabbing at empty space ahead of us without managing to find a hold in the game.

Hero turned undeserved villain Maitland-Niles again had a bow from the bench that was less than black and white. Tommy taken off, Town didn't really go to three at the back, but placed the youngster as a sort of right back. A cavalryman entrenched with little time to do anything. For all his desire to get the ball and himself forward one way or another, it made little sense and little amends as Town saw out enough injury time to give more points away.

As the day gave way from Springtime glare to dullness, so did Ipswich. Our legs eventually gave out from the bodyblow early in the bout. Limping back from the station amid a mix of blues of both kinds, one local informed me we deserved to win. I know not if he was unable to count, or a master of savage deadpan. It's funny how fans see their own teams.
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tractorgrl added 21:49 - Mar 12
there there Mullet there there well done thanks for that report I feel your pain as we all do
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joshberry94 added 09:34 - Mar 14
I find it hard to see how Cole Skuse was voted our second worst player. He broke up several counter attacks Cardiff threw at us and provided some essential cover to both Knudsen and Chambers when they were caught out of position. It is very hard to create anything when the ball constantly goes over your head and surpasses the midfield. How can the midfield create anything when all we do is get one of the back 4 to pump the ball up to Murphy, despite this once Skuse did get the ball, he rarely gave the ball away and kept it nice and tidy in the middle, IMO Skuse was one of the better performers on Saturday, struggling to see how he currently has a rating of 4.7
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joshberry94 added 10:28 - Mar 14
I find it hard to see how Cole Skuse was voted our second worst player. He broke up several counter attacks Cardiff threw at us and provided some essential cover to both Knudsen and Chambers when they were caught out of position. It is very hard to create anything when the ball constantly goes over your head and surpasses the midfield. How can the midfield create anything when all we do is get one of the back 4 to pump the ball up to Murphy, despite this once Skuse did get the ball, he rarely gave the ball away and kept it nice and tidy in the middle, IMO Skuse was one of the better performers on Saturday, struggling to see how he currently has a rating of 4.7
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patrickswell added 18:44 - Mar 14
They all put in 6 out of 10 performances. And there lay the problem...
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