Ipswich Town 0-4 Newcastle United, Kevin Nolan Hat-trick!

NUFC Team: Harper, Khizanishvilli, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique, Smith, Butt, R Taylor, Nolan, Ranger, Carroll 

First Shola Ameobi, now Kevin Nolan? Madness. I think it is safe to say that the gap between the Premier League and the Championship can now be classified as ‘bloody massive’.

Saturday evening saw a brilliant performance by Newcastle United but severe questions should be asked of Ipswich, who looked like relegation fodder. God knows what has happened at Portman Road this summer, but many people thought that with Roy Keane at the helm, they were going to be promotion contenders. I am well aware that I could be alone amongst Mags here, but part of me actually likes Roy Keane. He always seems to be talking sense and I couldn’t help but admire him as a player. However, what the hell has he done to Ipswich? 

We won’t have an easier game all season. That’s not to say though that our players didn’t work their arses off and earn their win. Carroll and Ranger were brilliant upfront. At this rate, they are arguably ahead of both Ameobi and Harewood in the pecking order. The only disappointment is that Ranger didn’t get the goal he deserved. 

At the back, there is very little to talk about. Ipswich offered nothing. Save for a couple of dodgy moments from Enrique (presumably complacency), there was nothing to worry about. One quick word for Khizanishvili (or Zurab, for the purposes of this blog) – he was excellent throughout. His distribution was perhaps a little poor, but defensively he was spot on and he surprised me with the number of runs he made down the right flank. Far more convincing than Danny Simpson anyway (although again, it was only Ipswich). He reminds me a little of, dare I say it, Habib Beye. 

The Championship version of Steven Gerrard

The Championship version of Steven Gerrard

But lets not forget our hat trick hero, Kevin Nolan. Has he worked hard and improved? Or is this division so bad that even he looks good? I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it is the former, although his second goal did make me chuckle – just how slow is that Ipswich defender, Balkestein? Nolan’s first two goals were excellent. The first a powerful header from a terrific Ryan Taylor free kick, and for the second two minutes later he out-sprinted the sluggish Balkestein and cut inside him, before calmly slotting in beneath the helpless Richard Wright (just how far has he fallen from his heady days at Arsenal by the way?).

Ryan Taylor scored a belter of a free kick yet another couple of minutes later and we were coasting. Were it not for the Bobby Robson memorial service, you get the impression that the Ipswich fans were ready to viciously turn on their team – but they were rather subdued. The second half was just as comfortable as the first and Kevin Nolan completed his hat trick after nodding in a knock down by Ranger, after a ‘rampaging’ run and cross from Zurab. Easy.

A couple of words for Ipswich Town’s tribute to Sir Bobby. What a proper club they are. Maybe it was the couple of beers I’d had but I could have sworn I felt a little tear in my eye whilst Laura Wright sang My Way. The whole arrangement was a lovely gesture and it looked like Lady Elsie was extremely touched. 

Player Ratings:

Harper – 7: Had nothing to do but did it well

Zurab – 7: The new Beye? Not yet anyway but he did look pretty good

S Taylor – 7: As easy an afternoon as he’ll get all season

Coloccini – 7: Ditto

Enrique – 6: Excellent aside from a couple of sloppy back passes. Against a better side it may have cost us

Smith – 8: One of his best performances of the season. Dominated the lightweight Ipswich midfield

Butt – 3: Thought I would save the anger for this part. Utterly woeful. This man is finished. He’s knackered. His passing is nothing short of a disgrace. His pass completion rate must be less than 50%. Pathetic. Get this old man out of the team now

R Taylor – 8: Assist and a goal. Fast becoming undroppable. Who woulda thought it?

Nolan – 10: Nothing else to say. MOTM

Carroll – 7: Great, hard working performance. Seems like he wins 100% of the aerial balls that come his way

Ranger – 8: Sadly didn’t get the goal he deserved. It’ll come against QPR – I have a feeling 

Subs: 

Harewood – 6: Did pretty well actually. 6 is maybe harsh but he was only on for the last 25 mins. If he keeps up that level of performance he’ll be a good acquisition. Had a great shot saved by Richard Wright

Lovenkrands – 5: Meh. When are we going to see him at his best?

Donaldson – 6: Did ok in the time he was given. Not going to judge him yet though, obviously

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