RAMBLE: Ipswich -v- Wednesday

RAMBLE: Ipswich -v- Wednesday

The alarm was set for 6am.

I woke at 5am. Toss. Turn.

A play with phone and then suddenly it’s 5.30am.

You reach that point where you’re awake before your alarm but you sit and wait for the alarm to go off anyway.

Eventually I got up, showered, dressed and got everything I needed for the weekend and touched base with Tom and James.

It’s 6.30am and I’m ready for the word from Tom who’s driving his camper van to Ipswich. And there’s an old 40s film on BBC2 to watch as I wait. I love a bit of Golden Age Hollywood.

Tom confirms that he’s up (just). We just await pick up instructions.

Except there’s no word from Tom.

We were due to leave at 7 and no word.

The driver turned up...eventually

The driver turned up…eventually

I wasn’t too worried as we were leaving early and I had the film for company. 7.30 passes and still no word.

And suddenly a text from James who says to come to Hunter’s Bar roundabout for pick up. We go down and we’re off!

This is my second camper van away day but the first in this one, which Tom has called Colin (I didn’t ask why).

It’s much more comfortable than Priscilla (camper van mark one) and the back has a little table too.

Tom was driving in pyjama bottoms and a ‘God loves gays’ t-shirt, which caused a lot of attention as we stopped off at a service station full of Newcastle fans en route to Swansea.

The journey went reassuringly quickly thanks to an excellent biography of Michael Foot that I’m reading at the moment.

Just your typical warm-up for an away day.

Stay as long as you like...just don't camp!

Stay as long as you like…just don’t camp!

We arrived in Ipswich in need of a spot for the camper van.

There’s a local park near the Dove Inn pub that we were heading to so we thought we’d head there and found a car park that charged two quid. Perfect.

There was a slight hitch as it said “no camping” – however, it didn’t say “no overnight stay”, so as long as we’re not seen sleeping in it, we’ll be fine, right?

We head to the pub.

I’m navigating on my phone, looking down on my phone, saying, it’s just up here as I realise it’s bang in front of us.

Blueberry? It's all lies!

Blueberry? It’s all lies!

First round bought, sun shining, can’t complain.

We opt for a blueberry ale they’ve got on as we’ve recently become very fond of Bradfield Brewery’s excellent blueberry ales, including the infamous Belgium Blue.

As it’s poured, it’s clear that it’s not blue and as we drink it, we find that there’s blueberry about it. It was distinctly average.

Soon after we’re joined by Craig, Jordan, then later his Ipswich-dwelling mate Adam.

Adam turned up sporting what can only be described as a porno tash and was greeted by Jordan with a 30-second death stare followed by: “What the f*** is that on your face?

It’s a good job they’re friends!

The beer flows some more and conversation varies, even touching the current Labour leadership race.

After a 10-minute discussion on the merits of socialism it all gets a bit much for James, who tries to steer the conversation back towards football: “So what does everyone think of Jeremy Helan?”

Quick as a flash, Craig quips: “He’s a bit left wing for my liking.”

No mustard...a conspiracy against Colmans?

No mustard…a conspiracy against Colmans?

A couple of the lads order pizza, and ordered me a pork pie.

In the meantime Craig has been to the bar and comes straight back with his pork pie but mine didn’t arrive for a good half hour, with the pizzas.

It promised both mustard and pickles but arrived with neither. More false advertising.

I wasn’t impressed.

Time moved on and suddenly it was time to head to the ground and thankfully Ipswich resident Adam knows the way.

We head to the ground via the local high street with Tom making a number of comments about the locals.

Thankfully nobody hears or or cares.

We arrive at the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, which has a brilliant mural of him on the stand as we walk passed his statue.

Could we dream of a Carlos stand and statue one day?

It’s the stuff of dreams but we need hope in football and we’re in a new era now so we’re all getting carried away.

We get to our seats and it’s always good to be in a proper footy ground, even if we’re in the corner and in the side stand, rather than behind the goal.

THE MATCH

Lucas João faced a tough afternoon against an experienced Championship defence

Lucas João faced a tough afternoon against an experienced Championship defence

We’d found it in the pub that young Lucas João was starting up front in place of Atdhe Nuhiu but otherwise it was the same team that started against Bristol City.

Both the Wednesday fans and team started well.

We dominated the first five minutes, with most of the possession and after some good build-up Marco Matias hit the post.

When he hit it, from the edge of the box, it didn’t seem to have much power on it but it was placed well and slid past the keeper but couldn’t beat the post.

I turned to Tom and gave him a thumbs up. We felt good for a third game in a row.

And then we let the momentum slip and Ipswich got into the game.

We seemed to be unable to retain in midfield and attack, but instead we were on the back foot.

They attacked well, with intent and looked dangerous with Freddie Sears up front.

We weren’t in the game at this point and only some excellent saves from Keiren Westwood kept us level.

Then we got some space on the left hand side and managed to get the ball into the box.

Wallace opened his account for the Owls

Wallace opened his account for the Owls

It didn’t quite fall to João but ricocheted around and fell to Ross Wallace who hit it straight, hard and in the net.

YYYEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

It was a grab a stranger moment.

We’d been under serious pressure and were lucky to level and then we get a goal like that to build on.

Could this be a brilliant away win?

Sadly it didn’t last long as Helan and Glenn Loovens switched off and allowed Sears through the middle.

He was one and one with Westwood who made himself big to no avail as the ball went past his near post and in the net.

There wasn’t much Westwood could do and it was a good finish in fairness to Sears.

This wasn’t so much as disaster but a massive missed opportunity.

We needed to see out any response after the goal and gain control of the game, as we’d done brilliant in the opener against Bristol City.

Ipswich equalised almost instantly through Sears

Ipswich equalised almost instantly through Sears

But it’s clear why Ipswich finished in the top six last season.

They’ve got good players, are well organised, professional and work like trojans; everything you’d expect from a Mick McCarthy side.

The half petered out with both sides happy to be level but with about 10 minutes to half time, Westwood collapsed out of nowhere and needed some treatment.

With only a third choice Joe Wildsmith on the bench and with how crucial Westwood is to this team, this isn’t a sight you want to see.

Thankfully he got back to his feet but he didn’t look himself.

With half time approaching, Tom sent Alex to get the half time beers in.

Alex comes back: there’s no beer?

No beer? There must be, surely?

Alex is still new to coming to footy and Tom assumes that this is Alex going to the food stand and not the bar.

He goes down in search of beer with Alex.

HALF TIME: Ipswich Town 1-1 Wednesday

No beer, no party

No beer, no party

As the half time whistle goes, they reappear to confirm that this will be a sober half time.

We sit and play on our phones as we wait for the time to pass. 15 minutes can feel like so long.

Soon enough, the players were back out but sadly we were straight on the back foot.

Again, their midfield seem to dominate and we struggled to attack.

Encouragingly, Westwood came back out but less encouragingly, he didn’t look himself.

The Suffolk side really cranked up the pressure, with the crowd roaring them on and after a succession of corners and near misses, Ipswich were ahead through Tommy Smith after the out-of-sorts Westwood failed to gather a cross from the left.

You can’t blame Westwood for going off at this point but it wasn’t a major surprise to see him replaced by Joe Wildsmith for his league debut.

This is a tough gig.

Smith celebrates giving the Tractor Boys the lead

Smith celebrates giving the Tractor Boys the lead

Sadly and even before the goal, the Wednesday fans seemed much quieter in the second half.

Perhaps the effect of no beer? That said, the team didn’t give up and we kept playing.

Lewis McGugan broke through after a foul but the pedantic referee failed to give the advantage and the momentum was lost.

Carvalho changed things up with Nuhiu and Kieran Lee coming on for Lewis McGugan and Sam Hutchinson, who had been booked for a lunge AFTER he had already won a free kick.

We were in the game but an equaliser looked less likely than Ipswich seeing out the three points.

They were able to get men behind the ball and use their Championship nous to frustrate us.

This was illustrated when an Ipswich player cynically scythed down João when Wednesday threatened a quick counter attack. He was rightly booked, as was Matias for suggesting it should be red, but the job was done as the resulting free kick came to nothing.

We lacked a player to chase the game from the bench and it wasn’t helped by Atdhe having a poor game.

I’m often a defender of big ‘Dave’ but the standard is higher this season and it’s clear that we’re still short of a quality striker.

Alex Lopez was classy again but couldn't force an equaliser

Alex Lopez was classy again but couldn’t force an equaliser

Could this be one for deadline day?

We kept playing and kept fighting as we had a succession of corners and openings, but poor delivery and good goalkeeping kept us out.

Deep into stoppage time, João showed his class as he beat a couple of men and let go off a fierce strike from the edge of the box but Bartosz Białkowski got down well to tip it around the post.

And that was that.

FULL TIME: Ipswich Town 2-1 Wednesday

Ipswich gave us a lesson in how to play when you take the lead in the Championship and although, it hurt — EVERY defeat hurts — there were plenty of positives to take.

The quality of our passing is excelling anything we’ve seen in recent years, the way we never gave up was heartening and Wallace scored a great goal.

It looked like a tap-in but it’s easy to get those wrong. He hit it true, hard and straight.

We applauded the players off. They deserved it and Lee Bullen got a great reception as ever.

LEE, LEE, LEE BULLEN!

As we wandered to the pub opposite the train station, we saw Liam, who’d managed to rip the entire crotch open on his jeans in the aftermath of Wednesday’s goal and seemed to be quite proud of it.

Having been outraged at there being no beer at the ground, Tom decided he didn’t want any more beer full stop and went his own way with Alex.

We arrived at the away-designated pub to find it closed. Why close? Idiocy.

We’d had no half time beer and bloody well wanted a beer.

We went in search of a home pub we could hide in but this required walking straight back down Portman Road.

Jamie, another London-based Owl, had joined us with a couple of mates and he was wearing a retro shirt, which earned us chants “1-0 and you f’d it up” from the Ipswich fans celebrating victory.

Finally we found a pub with a large area outside to drink in. Once again we were subjected to some ‘friendly’ abuse, although we were more worried about the invisible step inside which nearly accounted for celebrate of us on our way to the bar!

A few more pints, a very good curry in Ipswich town centre and a discussion about the merits of cricket later, we ended up back at the camper van.

Sleep wasn’t long in coming.

OWLS ALIVE circliar blue-4 (Midsize)

JP
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @jpowls


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *