Ipswich Town 0
Plymouth Argyle 0
Or what Akela did at the weekend
So with a free Saturday with not much on and Barnet away to Exeter I finally saw sense and decided to take in a game farely close to home as part of my slightly geeky quest to join the 92 club by going to see Ipswich Town (the Tractor boys) take on Plymouth Argyle (the Pasties).
Arriving into Ipswich station at 1pm I was clearly running quite early so having collected my ticket and done the customary circuit of the stadium I wandered around Ipswich town center to get an idea of what sort of town I was in. Ipswich is a genuinely pleasant market town with a sense that the local do really support their local club, at least that's what the number of people in colours in town suggested. There are a large number of properly preserved old buildings around despite the obvious attempts to create a concrete jungle and as I strolled through the market square I have to confess to developing a proper affection for the place that other towns have failed to impress upon me.
So on to Portman Road itself.
The stadium reflects the town. It has some proper old features to it despite obvious attempts to bring it into the modern world. I took my seat in the north stand and saw how the two end had clearly been redeveloped in recent years. To my right the Britannia stand screamed 1920's classic design and to my left the Cobolt stand showed off the features of the earliest 1960's cantilever design. Compared to some of my more recent introductions to stadiums, such as St Mary's, the ultimate anti Christ of stadiums, with all the character of a plate of cold custard, this place is pure heaven. Add to that that it serves real ale at the bar and the stewards don't try to impersonate robo cop at any given opportunity and I think that this place could become a big favourite of mine!
And so on to the game.
To be honest it wasn't great. Neither side showed any real desire to win it. Ipswich had more chances but failed to deliver much in the way of good final balls. If anything Plymouth were worse although they perhaps showed more composure in defence than Ipswich. Ipswich hit the post in the first half and Plymouth were lucky to finish with 11 men on the pitch after a shocking elbow by their center forward followed up with an awful bit of diving. Ipswich no.14, Stead, showed most guile and Argyle had difficulty coping with his wing play although from the comments of fans around me this was an usually good performance.
As for the fans, there is clearly a hard core if town fans who get behind the team but they could do with others joining in. Pulling in 20,000 fans for a mid table game is all very well but if only 500 fans are making any noise, as seemed to be the case their isn't much home advantage.
Probably this will be most memorable for being the coldest afternoon I have endured since I fell in a river in the Brecon Beacons when I was 16 when there was a foot of snow on the ground. Seriously, I came close to hypothermia. It was bloody Baltic!
Overall not a great game but a good day out!