I decided to go to the game early in the week thinking that I could take my sister-in-law who had come to stay with us for a couple of days home to Essex. My wife and her could go shopping and I could go on to the game with my brother-in-law. Well it wasn’t to be; the in-laws had another engagement in the afternoon and not fancying the long drive alone I elected to go for the train. The timings were tight but after a trip up to Waterloo, Jubilee line to Stratford, I just made the train to Ipswich by seconds. Arriving at just before after twenty past one, it was time for a pint. There was a hostelry just outside the station which housed away fans. Batman and Robin, Shrek, the bloke from Mask, the Blues Brothers, Bill and Ben the flower pot men, a Pepperoni sausage, Mr Blobby, Jasper Carrott, Rolf Harris, a couple of escaped convicts, Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse, Pamela Anderson and many more turned out to support the lads and a great atmosphere was had by all.
Lee Clark persisted with his 4-5-1 formation that had served the team so well for the last few weeks. Butland in goal, Caddis, Davies, Robinson and Hancox across the back. Redmond and Ferguson continued out wide with Elliott, Mullins and Morrison occupying the central berths behind Zigic alone up front. The trouble is it only works if you defend the basics properly. Birmingham found themselves 2-0 down after only 18 minutes. The first Ipswich goal was an absolute cracker from Carlos Edwards after only six minutes and most people around me applauded and rightly so. OK you can argue that defenders should close down quicker but you cannot legislate for a right footed drive from 30 yards that flies into the top corner at such pace that Butland dives after the ball is past him. However, there is no excuse for the second goal which was a free header from a free kick out on the left from Aaron Cresswell which was converted from only four yards by Luke Chambers. Where were the defenders and where was Butland? The game was largely over at this stage, since ordinary though Ipswich are, they defend well as you would expect from a McCarthy team and it was always going to be an uphill struggle from then on. Blues did have the ball in the net through Zigic just after the opening strike but he was offside when Ravel Morrison flicked on Paul Caddis’ cross. had he not made contact, the goal in all likelihood stands; pity but there you go. Frankly, it could have been three or four, such was the shambolic nature of the defending from Blues. In between however, they knocked the ball around well without really threatening the hosts though.
Blues playing in pink again fluffed a great chance to get back in the game after only two minutes of the second half when Morrison threaded a lovely ball through for Nathan Redmond to square for the oncoming Hayden Mullins who blazed over from twelve yards spoiling the best move of the game. Following Blues’ best period of the match, Ipswich scored their third and nailed home the final spike in our coffin. A ricochet off Nouble fell perfectly for Murphy who took a touch and fired across Butland from the edge of the area for another fine strike. Blues did continue to play decent stuff and reverted to 4-4-2 bringing on Gomis for Elliott and pushing Redmond up front but as was the case last week there was far too much elaboration from Morrison and Redmond and good chances to score were lost because of poor decision making. In the end Chris Burke on for Shane Ferguson did register a deserved goal with a minute remaining which the visitors’ endeavours deserved but had to accept a comprehensive defeat from a better team on the day that wanted and needed the points more. The game was a myopic of our season; lacking in concentration defensively, not ruthless enough in attack and frankly not good enough against teams that we should be beating. We have allowed both Ipswich and Wolves to do the double over us this season for the first time in living memory; sums it up really.
The Good: The fun and atmosphere generated by the fans, many in fancy dress. They kept with the team despite the disappointing result.
The Bad: The defending for the second goal; absolutely atrocious!
The Ugly: The bloke dressed as Pamela Anderson! Even after an ocean of beer there is no way!
Ipswich Town: Scott Loach 7 Hewitt 6 Aaron Cresswell 6 Luke Chambers 7 Carlos Edwards 6 Guirane N’Daw 8 Jay Tabb 7 (Lee Martin 82, N/A) Luke Hyam 6 Tommy Smith 6 Daryl Murphy 7 (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 87, N/A) Frank Nouble 7 (Michael Chopra 82, N/A)
Subs not used: Arran Lee-Barrett, Patrick Kisnorbo, Andy Drury, Anthony Wordsworth.
Birmingham City: Jack Butland 5 Paul Caddis 7 Paul Robinson 5 Curtis Davies 6 Mitch Hancox 5 Nathan Redmond 5 Hayden Mullins 6 Ravel Morrison 5 Wade Elliott 6 (Morgaro Gomis 60, 7) Shane Ferguson 6 (Chris Burke 60, 6) Nikola Zigic 5
Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Steven Cauldwell, Darren Ambrose, Peter Lovenkrands, Callum Reilly.
Referee: Graham Salisbury 7 fair performance, unfussy and played the advantage well although there was one occasion in the second half when Redmond was in with Zigic square of him that he blew for the foul to us which went against us but that’s life.
Attendance 21921 (Blues fans 1977)