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Ipswich Town (1) 1 - 0 (0) Brighton & Hove Albion

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Manager: Joe Royle

Portman Road 15:00

Attendance: 26269

Manager: Mark McGhee

Match Number: 3082

Goals

Home
 Shefki Kuqi (22)
Away
 

Substitutions

Away
NicolasKnight (70)
CarpenterHammond (75)
HardingJones (78)

Cards

Away
 Butters 
 Cullip 

Teams

Away

Kuipers

Hinshelwood

Cullip

Butters

Harding

Nicolas

Carpenter

Oatway

Reid

Claridge

Currie

Substitutes

Away

Roberts

Mayo

Jones

Knight

Hammond

Match Report

Kuqi sends Ipswich to the summit

AFTER surrendering in supine fashion at Sunderland last Sunday, Ipswich Town went top of the Championship courtesy of a woeful Brighton and Hove Albion, who took 80 minutes to trouble home goalkeeper Kelvin Davis. If Davis had an afternoon of repose, his opposite number, Michel Kuipers, had scarcely a moment of rest; thwarting Town at every opportunity, save for the ricochet from which Shefqi Kuqi prodded home the winner.

Still, no matter that Town should have had the hatful of popular cliché: on a cold day in November, three points are enough. Brighton are so financially embarrassed they cannot afford the hardly extravagant wages of potential loanee Mark McCammon, currently languishing in Millwall’s reserves. Shorn of bodies, they fielded five tough tacklers and their instinct was to sneak something on the break, as they did at Upton Park a fortnight ago.

“They’re awkward to play against,” admitted victorious manager Joe Royle. “It’s nice to turn in a solid performance. This was a game we might have drawn last season.”

Town are cannier than West Ham. With almost feline cunning, they bided their time, even when early forays were foiled by last-ditch tackles from Guy Butters and Paul Reid. Moments after a dreadful Albion miss, Town scored: Charlie Oatway crossed from the right and Darren Currie nipped in ahead of a snoozing Drissa Diallo. Alas for Currie, he volleyed wildly over from four yards.

Immediately, Ipswich surged forward and Ian Westlake’s 25-yard piledriver deflected off a couple of yellow shirts towards goal. Everyone watched the spinning ball, save Kuqi, who ran through unchallenged to steer the winner past Kuipers.

Kuqi ensured Brighton’s defensive legions had a miserable 90 minutes. He ran them this way and that, and if they had the temerity to pause for breath, he pounced.

Conceding the goal failed to instil adventure into the visitors, and even when Danny Cullip found himself well-placed in the 54th minute, a silly dive over Kevin Horlock’s outstretched leg earned him a booking. Ipswich never did find a second goal, Tommy Miller and Kuqi missing chances, while Kuipers further distinguished himself.

None of the Dutchman’s heroics, however, equalled his 77th-minute save when he clawed away a header by Kuqi from point-blank range. At last, with 10 minutes remaining and nothing to lose, Albion briefly rallied. Steve Claridge’s glancing header and resultant rebound just missing.

John Aizlewood (Sunday Times)

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2004-05 Reports