RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-2 Ipswich Town

RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-2 Ipswich Town

Match day Saturdays. Everyone has their routine.

Mine usually begins with a mammoth game of dad taxi, taking the boy and wife to their karate class, and daughter to her dance class, squeeze in the Saturday big shop before picking them all up again… and today was no different, apart from the addition of parkin and toffee apples to the shopping list.

Bonfire night, our first remembrance prompt:

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

We’d arranged a party at our house and the wife and daughter were to spend the afternoon preparing whilst the boy and I hoped to see some fireworks of a different kind.

Like most Wednesdayites, I was born into the religion, having my first season ticket on the uncovered South from the age of 5.

My son Tommy is no different and now joins myself, my dad and my 86 year old grandad on the North stand as 4 generations of Owls meet up to cheer on the boys in blue (and formerly white).

Our pre-match meet ups this season have usually taken us to the Horse and Jockey in Wadsley.

Taken over by Sheffield based Stancil and turned into a brewery tap, they have also turned the traditional away pub into a home fans only pub, putting on occasional family days like today.

Owls about that!

Owls about that!

Yorkshire Owl Centre brought a few of our feathered friends along for the kids to meet and hold, hoping one would prove to be a lucky mascot.

 

PRE-MATCH

Conversation turned to pre-match predictions.

Dad pulled out his phone and scrolled through our previous few results against Ipswich.

He loves a bit of a pattern and relished in informing us that the last three Hillsborough meetings had ended 1-1 whilst the last 3 away trips have seen us beaten 2-1.

Predictions for today then?

I confidently and optimistically (as always) predicted a spanking to be administered… it has to happen someday right?

Tommy on the other hand was less optimistic.

Forestieri: benched again

Forestieri: benched again

For an 8 year old he has a good footballing brain. He’d noticed that this season our game has changed to be more patient and less penetrating.

He opted for a 1-0 win.

Dad sided with probability and went for a 1-1 draw. Before we left the pub to walk down the team news buzzed through.

Westwood back, good. Same midfield four again… ok… no Forestieri. Hmm.

Now we all know that Fernando doesn’t seem to be the same player this season and his impact has become a little more mercurial, but the fact remains he is our best player and benching him, in my opinion, does neither him nor the team any favours.

Memories of the Carbone situation flick though my mind. We walked down to the game in the now biting breeze, Tom collecting conkers on the way.

Our second prompt for remembrance today came before the game in a rather bizarre tribute.

As the Last Post came to a conclusion a ripple of applause spread through the ground as a few players broke away from the centre circle and danced their final few warm ups.

They’d forgotten to remember and had to rather awkwardly re-join the centre circle for the minute’s silence.

 

THE MATCH

For the home crowd, that minute’s silence was just the first of 90. Our fans, perhaps now used to this season’s patient possession football, seem to have lost all enthusiasm.

Only the occasional “Carlos’ dream” and the now almost ironic “on our way” punctuated phases of the game which saw us tamely threaten the final third. We were bored… and cold.

My grandad, who had met us at the game, was shivering and uncomfortable, perhaps having being conned by the autumnal sun and forgetting his thermals.

He turned to us at the 30 minute mark and announced “So long, I’m off”. Ipswich had threatened with a couple of corners and it was dad’s cue to announce another stat…

Less atmospheric today

Less atmospheric today

“These haven’t scored an away goal in the first half all season… thee watch.” No sooner had he said it and Jack Hunt, the people’s pariah, had the ball nicked off his toe and Tom Lawrence treated the crowd to the kind of direct attacking play that we’d almost forgotten we used to see from Forestieri, Wallace and Bannan last season.

Head down, run at a floundering defence, cut inside, shoot, goal. Remember that?

Grandad probably still hadn’t reached the bus stop by the time Hooper scooped in the equaliser following a rare bit of urgency shown from the home team.

Jones’ low drive stinging the palms of the keeper before the former Norwich man did the inevitable and scored in front of the Tractor boys travelling support.

Half time, a ten minute queue for crap overpriced beer at a bar that is STILL manned by staff who couldn’t tell a sausage roll and a mars bar apart, and that three months in to the season STILL doesn’t have a price list (which by the way is illegal when it comes to alcohol licensing).

But it’s that match day experience that demands the high ticket prices, eh?

On the pitch it’s not going great either, and all the usual complaints were heard, from Hunt’s poor positioning to Hooper’s inability to win a duel with his marker.

Added to that the fact that Lee, by his standards was having a poor game and Reach’s crosses and cut backs kept constantly falling behind their intended target led to many grumbles.

I weighed in with my usual gripe at Hutchinson.

No left foot?

No left foot?

Yes you read that right. For all his heroic headers, double slide tackles, shouting and no-nonsense clearances; our player of the month winds me up beyond belief playing in the left sided centre back position because HE NEVER USES HIS LEFT FOOT… EVER!

Countless times in the past, and again today, he puts us in trouble because he cannot or will not turn outside on to his left and play the ball down the line to Pudil, instead putting us under pressure by passing back to the keeper, or Lees, or whoever drops in to the deep midfield position.

I could give numerous examples of this, but it would be tedious and would move thoughts away from today’s game… All I’ll say is during the next game, keep an eye on it, trust me.

Anyway, Carlos must have forgotten his inspiring half time team talk, as the second half was as drab as the first.

Fans were becoming increasing agitated at our play.

Knocking it around the back four waiting for an opportunity to launch it into a channel for Hooper to chase. Many around us claim that we’ve been found out… that we were an unknown quantity last season and that teams now set up to frustrate us.

I don’t fully agree with that.

We have changed the way we play; even Kieran Lee, when speaking about his new contract in the summer, stated that Carlos was bringing in players who will change our style of play. Why? Obviously last season was a disaster!?

What we have done is turn in to a team where Forestieri doesn’t fit any more, he has become an outsider rather than a focal point.

Lee: off it on Saturday

Lee: off it on Saturday

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave in the January window to fund a bid for Rhodes, who just happened to be in the director’s box today.

Half time chat had surrounded thoughts that Fessi would soon be introduced, a few people spotting Hooper rubbing his thigh before the interval.

However, the goal scorer reappeared for the second half and it was Reach who soon made way for what we hoped would be our game changer.

Let’s be honest though, the only way he changed the game was rashly bombing back to upend their right winger in a non-threatening situation, giving away the free kick that led to the goal.

He trudged back to the halfway line ignoring the angry blasts directed his way from Westwood. That was dad’s cue to leave, not before letting us know that this was the first time this season Ipswich had scored two away goals in a game. What came next was as surprising as it was inevitable.

At fault?

At fault?

Tom, usually enthralled in the game from start to finish, asked if we could leave too. Now, I hate leaving games early. In fact I could probably name all the games where I have left before full time. But today I agreed.

We were both bored. Fed up. We knew the game was lost. It’s been a long time since I’d felt like that at a game, a distant memory in fact. But sadly, the excitement of last season is now beginning to fade into the distance too. I think The Owls WILL do well this season.

They’ll probably make the play offs again. But they’ll do so without getting me off my seat very often.

Joe
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @danmoxon

Images: SWFC


One Comment

  1. Fair reflection of a very poor game . I admire your optimism re play-offs , sorry to say dont share it. Carlos needs to change tactics and Allow them to play a more natural free-flowing game .Stuart Gray was more exciting than this .

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