Alf was pleased with a point gained even if the match didn’t live up to expectations

Huddersfield Town 0  Ipswich Town 0

Alf’s four hour journey to West Yorkshire was worth it just for the pub lunch however, a biting wind off the Pennines and a dull match made the two hour stay inside the well appointed John Smith’s Stadium an uncomfortable experience.

The condition of the pitch, the weather and the precarious positions that both sides occupy in the league table conspired to produce a game of stalemate.

Alf sensed that both sides were afraid to lose and both sides would probably have settled for a point even before a ball was kicked. Ipswich failed to take advantage of a promising break in the opening minutes as a poor cross spoiled their golden chance to take an early lead. It turned out to be a day of poor deliveries from the Suffolk side and Smithies in the Huddersfield goal was not troubled by a shot until the 73rd minute.

The game was there for the taking but Ipswich weren’t brave enough to force the issue. John Wark said as much in his half time pitch interview. As the ‘Terriers’ guest legend, Warky was probably Town’s highlight of the day.

Ipswich came under more pressure in the second half but they were sound at the back and Henderson made a couple of good saves to keep a point in the bag. Alf was surprised and disappointed with his reaction to the travelling Town faithful at full time. There were a few boo’s yes, but the vast majority of Town supporters gave their side a warm round of applause for the point gained and another small step towards safety.


A Boxing Day cracker for the travelling Town faithful

Charlton Athletic 1  Ipswich Town 2

It was a Boxing Day away day cracker for travelling Town fans at The Valley as Alf’s finest pulled just a little clearer from the relegation zone with a hard earned win against Charlton.

Town weathered an early red storm in which former Town favourite Danny Haynes, created most of the home side’s best chances. However Ipswich worked extremely hard and clawed back the advantage by pressing most of the play into Charlton’s half.

When Town were awarded an early penalty DJ Campbell placed the ball on the spot and Alf was already half way through his text that Town were a goal ahead when DJ dragged the spot kick miles wide.

In many ways the miss only spurred Ipswich onto better things as they raised the pace and competitiveness of the match to a new level. The combination of Campbell and Murphy caused the Charlton defence plenty of problems and it was a relieved DJ that was in just the right place to put Town ahead with a true goal poacher’s finish.

Daryl Murphy ended the half perfectly slamming the ball into the roof of the net with only seconds left of added time.

Both goal scorers made a bee-line for the manager to celebrate their goals. An act that says it all.

A two goal lead was a well deserved reward for Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor who have transformed Town’s fortunes in their short time in charge.

Boxing Day away fixtures for Town fans have traditionally been cold turkey affairs as far as performances on the pitch are concerned but the only cold turkey on display at The Valley was in Alf’s sandwiches. This was spicy, sparkling Christmas punch of a performance but could Mick’s boys hold on?

Inevitably Charlton pressed hard in the second half and it was Town’s turn to defend resolutely in their own half. Town held firm until a penalty award allowed Danny Haynes to get one back.

Ipswich struggled against relentless pressure and a spell of torrential rain made the job even harder but clever substitutions and some last ditch clearances enabled Ipswich to hang on to their slender lead.

It was a cracking away win and Town fans made their way home happy and with their Christmas celebrations complete.


Town struggle to gain a point in a ‘must not lose’ encounter

Ipswich Town 1 Peterborough United 1

Town’s soft underbelly was once again exposed in the opening minutes of this encounter with visiting Posh at rain soaked Portman Road. In a continuation of the dismal defending displayed at Leicester the previous week Alf endured another milky soft forty-five minutes from his boys in blue and rather wished that he had brought a good book to read.

There was a significant improvement after the break although it was hard to see where a Town goal would come from. Peterborough handed Town the opportunity when Lee Martin tricked his way past Tomlin and was tripped. A definite penalty, a soft penalty but aren’t they all these days?

DJ Campbell put the ball on the spot and his penalty kick was confident and emphatic. Town fans were in raptures unlike Alf who was reprimanded by a steward for taking a photograph of the spot kick! Why?

Ipswich failed to capitalise on their goal scoring momentum. Town went very close when DJ Campbell was just unable to get a toe onto a dangerous cross but it was Peterborough who looked most like stealing the two vital extra points in the frantic closing minutes.

This performance underlined the fact that there is no quick fix to Town’s problems and that a long haul struggle to avoid relegation is very much underway.

Just when Alf thought it was safe to watch Ipswich away …

Leicester City 6  Ipswich Town 0

Alf and his entourage plucked up courage to make a day out of it in the city of Leicester. Walking through Nelson Mandela Park; strolling past Leicester Tigers rugby ground; the shock on the cards that awaited at the King Power Stadium was to put it mildly, not the one that Alf was anticipating!

Town were on the back foot from the kick off and the lack of communication and dithering that had within minutes led to a penalty and the first goal set the tone for Town’s abysmal performance.

David Nugent continued in his role as Town’s nemesis. He promptly smashed home the penalty and moments later gratefully chested in his second after being gifted the opportunity from the palm of West Ham’s loanee goalkeeper Stephen Henderson. At fault for both goals his day started badly and was going to get a good deal worse.

Alf was not impressed when he announced his arrival by stating that he was not a bench warmer and would soon be West Ham’s number one. Well if you talk the talk then you have to walk the walk and if Alf was manager that walk would have been off the end of a plank in the post match bollocking! His positioning has been poor, his kicking is weak and he is prone to schoolboy errors such as palming the ball out instead of pushing the ball away for a corner. It’s all basic stuff and it has left Alf speechless.

Bradley Orr must be a candidate for having made the worst debut in a Town shirt after being skinned alive by Lloyd Dyer at every opportunity. Bradley had clearly been thrown into the fox’s den without the benefit of a few days training. We all know that he is a good player and could be a great asset for struggling Town in the future, but on this performance he was way off the pace and not on first name terms with his team mates. He was not alone!

Ipswich were second to the ball and a yard off the pace in every department as Alf and the Town faithful were to endure more embarrassment in this away day shocker. What is worse is that Leicester fans were in agreement that their side had not really turned on one of their better displays. Every goal was the result of an Ipswich error and all credit to Leicester in that they took advantage of all the gifts they were presented with.

In the away stand a few tempers flared between fellow supporters but the majority of those who had made the journey from Suffolk were determined to enjoy their day at any cost by indulging in spells of gallows humour, Mexican waves and self deprecating chanting, much to the amusement of the home supporters. Some even called for a seventh in anticipation of another free away day!

All credit to those Town players who off their own bat acknowledged the applause from the away stand and especially to Luke Chambers who was man enough to take the long walk over to the loyal Town fans to acknowledge their support. Well done Luke we really appreciate that. Shame on those who had to be redirected over by Mick McCarthy. Alf noted that the only hand of consolation for Town’s keeper was from the fox mascot!

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