Saturday, March 05, 2011

Aaaaaaarggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no no!!!!! City 0-2 Ipswich

I'm very upset. Can you tell?

We knew Ipswich had two outstanding players in Connor Wickham and Jimmy Bullard. When you give a player like Bullard the run of the pitch, it'll come back to haunt you - and did it ever. But it was Bullard, and the Tractor Boy's 'kepper Martin Fulop, not Wickham who did the damage.

Ahead of the match kicking off, spirits were high. The Jacks had lost, Forest had lost, Norwich had drawn. A win and we'd be back to second spot. All in our own hands.

With Stephen Bywater getting the nod ahead of Jason Brown in City's goal, the Bluebirds started like it had to be wrapped up inside the first half. They played some outstanding football, JET in particular who looked the Premiership quality he undoubtedly is.

With Peter Whittingham pulling the strings vacated by Ramsey's return to Arsenal, City poured chances onto Fulop's goal, but the keeper stood firm. The one time he didn't, Keinan's headed goal was ruled offside. Whitt's hit the underside of the bar with a free kick, and Fulop pulled off several amazing saves when it looked easier for City to score.

All this was leading to one of those "could it be (another) one of those days", and on 67 minutes when Bullard ran on to a wide ball and smashed home from outside the box. City, who had been the only team in the match were stunned. Heads dropped, and they just forgot how to play.

with minutes to go, City conceded a free kick well over 30 yards out, and man of the moment Bullard stepped up and blasted home a shot to make it 2-0. Only a desperate save by Bywater kept it to 2 and denied Bullard his hat trick.

For me there were a number of key things in this match.

  • City played well, but Bothroyd, Chopra, and Bellamy did not. They spurned chances, controlled the ball poorly and made the wrong decisions when they had the ball.
  • City laid off Ipswich. They gave then far to much room/respect. In the first half Ipswich were poor, but everything, - really, everything was going through Bullard - and he had so much time and space to pull the strings, you just knew it would eventually come to something.
  • In the second period City were poor. Whatever Jones's half time talk was about, it was fatally flawed.
  • When we were chasing the game Jones made a substitution. A full back for a full back. Eh?
  • City's strikers for all the efforts we had in the first half were far too static. Musical statues anyone?
  • Bothroyd fell down a lot (again)
  • The ref could have been in a an Ipswich shirt. Seriously. I try to be objective about refs, but again the standard of all officials was shocking. Every 50/50 challenge went Ipswich's way.
I'd struggle to name a City MoTM. Whiits perhaps. But Bullard and Fulop were a different class today. Good honest pros who know what it's effort and hard work that win matches, not flah and talk.

City had a massive, massive chance to state their claim today, in front of a TV audience. Not sure what the half time chat was in the TV box, but along the lines I expect of about how it was only a matter of time before City scored.

On the pitch after the full time whistle, the only people the TV wanted to talk to were Bullard and Fulop.

Oh how they must be chuckling at the Liberty and Selhurst Park tonight.

Not good enough City.

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