A Fan's View: Ipswich 1 Albion 1
By Site Editor
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2010
Kettering_Baggie gives his view on Albion's last-gasp draw at Portman Road
I set off down the A14 with great hope; surely the Baggies in their recent form would take care of the Tractor Boys, wouldn’t they? The drive along that awful road was made more bearable by the sounds of Little Feat emanating from the sound system. The lyrics of one particular track summed up the conditions, ‘....cold, cold, cold, it was freezing cold’! It was, too, like breathing knives! Turning off the A14 onto a large roundabout at Ipswich, there were flashing blue lights; my fears of a delay were soon dispelled, though, just a police tractor in pursuit of a stolen rotavator!
I found a good car park within easy walking distance from the ground and set off in search of a decent pub. It looked like the home fans have the benefit of a park and ride scheme but on a cold night like this being sat in an open cart being pulled by a tractor was a bit much; hardy types, these farmers. The town centre was almost deserted. There was a brightly lit bar, though, selling Guinness for £1.50 a pint (and a free piece of grass to chew), so in I went, wondering if I would be understood. Had I paid more attention to The Archers I might have picked up some useful communication tips.
Anyway, back at the ground, I collected my ticket and entered the refreshment area. The Ladbrokes desk there had some interesting odds available. Lukewarm to score the first goal at 7:1!!! Marcus Haber at 9:1! Wrong way round, methinks? Having taken my seat, we Baggies were trying to work out what the Tractor Boys’ mascot was supposed to be. It looked like a sheep with a blue Mohican haircut. I’m sure it took a bite out of a spectating scarecrow!
Match underway and it was looking easy for us. Jerome puts a shot over the bar and Roman has an effort pushed away for a corner when he really should have scored. Brunt goes close then shoots straight at their keeper. A couple of efforts from the farmers are woeful. Thank goodness for the travelling Baggies otherwise the place would be silent. The home fans are making no sound whatsoever. On 20 minutes Bednar is away but out comes the goalie and takes him down outside the area. This is a red card, surely? No, the ref shows him a yellow! Had he not been brought down, Roman would have had an open goal, albeit from a 45 degree angle.
A lovely cross by RoKo gives Bednar another chance but he heads it straight into the keeper’s arms. Brunt then takes a kick in the head as he breaks up what could have been a dangerous situation; he comes back on with a head bandage to match Ollie’s. They’ll be selling Ollie & Brunty lookalike head bandages in the club shop soon! Ipswich’s Norris then fired in a good shot that looked bound for the net but Carson pulls off a superb save. Mulumbu, who is having an excellent game, then gets booked for his first foul of the match. Then, goal? Oh no, Brunt’s effort is headed off the line! We must score soon, mustn’t we? Dorrans has a clear sight of goal from 20 yards but the ball skims the crossbar. Now Town are through 1 on 1 (Peters), he must score. Carson, tonight, is having a good game and makes another excellent save. Leadbitter attacks Graham Dorrans on the touchline and the dopey ref books both of them. Half time; why oh why are we not at least 3 up? Attendance announced as 19,000 but still no sound from the local farmers and scarecrows!
After the break
The second half starts with a bad error from Ollie but luckily we get away with it because the farmers aren’t very good. Then we nearly give them an own goal; Ollie back heads it from close range straight at Carson. Phew! We see a few demonstrations of how not to take corners (Mr Brunt) and Bednar again misses a great chance to head a goal. Thomas looks dangerous each time he gets the ball but there’s nobody in the middle to finish it. Town’s shooting is very bad indeed. Stead, in particular, is useless. He has a good opportunity but only manages to knock some straw out of a scarecrow in row Z!
Then, Stoke style throw-in. Penalty, er what?! Whole ground is momentarily silent (that means us because the agriculturals were already silent). Penalty for what? The half-wit of a ref also books Ollie in the process. Nobody in the ground knows what that was for. Anyway, up steps Leadbitter; Carson makes a great dive, full stretch down to the foot of the post. Wrong way, unfortunately. Well, as usual, we’ve paid dearly for all those missed chances. The play now becomes scrappier and Koren goes off to be replaced by Big Ish. I would have taken Bednar off. We have two good breaks but dreadful crosses from Bednar and Cech waste them. Then, Thomas is replaced by Tex.
The ball now is nearly always in their box and it seems the ball must go in, but sadly, it is blocked every time. Cox comes on for Mulumbu now. RDM is obviously getting desperate. You have to wonder why he sends on more strikers when we really need a goal? Most of our goals are scored by midfielders. Bednar is put through on goal but the lino rules him offside. That was an awful decision, right in front of us, nowhere near offside. Bednar then misses with another header. Looks all over now, Peters is clean through on goal; wow, super save by Scotty.
The bloke next to me announces his departure with a couple of minutes left on the clock. A mistake, that was. Two minutes into stoppage time, Jara gets the ball inside to Cox whose shot is partially blocked. The rebound falls just right for Brunty, about six yards out. At last! Now I just pray that we don’t do what we did at Derby. One last effort to grab all three points but that’s it. Last gasp salvation and the yokels (sorry, locals) are as silent as they were at the start.
In summary, we played some very good football at times but lacked the cutting edge up front. A certain Mr Astle (God rest his soul) would have had a hat trick. Ipswich, though, packed the midfield; they didn’t pressure Ollie and Tamas but instead dropped back to make it difficult for us to pass through them. My man-of-the-match tonight was Mulumbu; he broke down almost all of Town’s moves and he plays the simple, short passes very well. Brunt is wasted on the right. For the last 10 minutes or so he operated on the left and was immediately dangerous. Praise also tonight for Scott Carson, just a shame he couldn’t save the so-called penalty.
That’s it then, back to the car and the A14. Lots of quiet farmers and scarecrows outside the ground, that equaliser knocked the stuffing out of them...........! I must take some of the blame for us not winning. I am not a betting man but I was tempted by odds of 66:1 for us to win 4-0, I should have known better. Four nil, though, would not have flattered us; we really must win games like that against very ordinary opposition. A mention too, for the ref, or perhaps not, it might earn me a red card from Footymad!
A nice steady journey home, listening to the King, that’s Presley not Astle! As I exit the A14 at junction 8, I am thankful I am almost home and don’t have another hour on the road as most other Baggies will have. Well, there has to be some advantage of living in Kettering.