since 1878

Manchester United (0) 0 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

Division 1 1976-77

Saturday, October 30, 1976

Referee: J Taylor

Manager: Unknown

Old Trafford

Attendance: 57,416

Manager: Bobby Robson

Match Number: 1579


 Clive Woods 






















Match Report

Manchester United 0 Ipswich Town 1

Ipswich's growing authority as candidates for the League Championship sends Manchester United to Turin this week with their form and morale at a dangerously low ebb for the daunting UEFA Cup return against Juventus.

The euphoria of United's 7-2 league cup victory over Newcastle in midweek was soon dissipated at Old Trafford yesterday as Ipswich scored after only two minutes and rarely lost control of the match thereafter.

This was Ipswich's fifth successive victory, and there can be little doubt now that they have recaptured in full the cohesion, flair and self belief that made them such a force in the first division a couple of seasons ago.

They can look confidently to the future, too, in the knowledge that Paul Mariner, their new £220,000 striker, appears to be the man to round off their attack and that Colin Viljoen, their principal midfield creator should soon be available for selection following a long injured-enforced absence.

That is not to say that Viljoen was particularly missed yesterday. In Talbot, Wark and Osbourne, Ipswich have a young and vigorous trio who were much too industrious for United's increasingly pallid midfield department.

Talbot, who seems who seems to increase in stature with every match, had another excellent game. His surges down the left often unbalanced a jittery United defence, and Osbourne might have scored at least once in the confusion Talbot's centres caused.

Unfortunately for Ipswich, Osbourne's shooting did not match his skill at taking up threatening positions or the right as he and Talbot doubled impressively as wingers.

United found it equally difficult to suppress Woods. It is part of Ipswich's strategy that this mercurial winger should drift inside occasionally; and it was from a central position 20 yards out that he scored the decisive early goal.

Indeed, one trusts that Don Revie, the England manager, made a mental note of the potential of both Talbot and Woods. Revie was at the match to have a last look at five regular members of his squad. United's Greenhoff, Pearson and Hill and Ipswich's Mills and Beattie, before naming a party on Tuesday for the World Cup match against Italy in Rome on November 17.

It will be interesting to see, therefore, whether the fifth of the victories Ipswich have achieved since they restored Beattie to the centre of their defence and Mills to left-back will persuade Revie to follow suit. Certainly, there could be no more persuasive evidence that these are the positions they should occupy for England.

Unrestricted by the left touch line, as he is at left-back, Beattie looked a player born anew. In addition to helping Hunter to establish almost complete control over Pearson, Hill and company, Beattie often ventured upfield to reinforce his attack tellingly.

As for Mariner, his debut was quietly promising rather than sensational. But one could not really expect much more of a player fresh from the second division thrown into the Coliseum atmosphere of Old Trafford.

Tall and mobile, slim in body but strong in the thigh, Mariner twice looked the man to succeed David Johnson successfully. In the second half, he climbed effortlessly above Stepney to make a header that Houston cleared off the line, and in the first half he contributed to the move that produced the Ipswich goal.

Mariner did so by keeping a difficult lofted pass from Burley in play and back-heading the ball to Whymark. From there, it went back to Burley and then forward to Woods, whose firmly hit shot the diving Stepney let slip through his hands into the net. Stepney, all thumbs yesterday, also fumbled a shot from Osbourne round a post for a corner in the first-half. But he redeemed himself to some extent much later by falling on a blistering low shot from Beattie.

Only twice did United, disjointed and uninspired, seriously threaten the Ipswich goal. In the first half, Hunter cleared off the line from Macari, who was replaced after the interval by McCreery; and just after the restart, Cooper saved from Pearson with his feet after turning a shot from Hill against the bar.

Daily Telegraph

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1976-77 Reports