since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 0 (0) Millwall

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Referee: Anthony Bates

Manager: Joe Royle

Portman Road 13:00

Attendance: 21,246

Manager: Dennis Wise

Match Number: 3067


 Darren Bent (83)
 Pablo Counago (90)


HaylesStefan Moore (57)
McCammonHarris (62)
WiseMuscat (72)





















Stefan Moore


Match Report

Town flyers go to the top

Darren Bent marked his 100th Ipswich appearance with a late goal that earned a scrappy win over Millwall at Portman Road and takes Joe Royle's men to the top of the Championship table.

Substitute Pablo Counago grabbed a late second as Ipswich kept alive their 100% home record to move onto 16 points - one point clear of Wigan.

The goal from Bent, who was the subject of a recent £3million bid from Charlton, was the first Millwall conceded on their travels this season but the Londoners, who will feel aggrieved at Jody Morris' declined first-half penalty appeal, had no response.

Dennis Wise, whose Lions were warming up for their midweek UEFA Cup clash with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, included new signing Barry Hayles, who made his debut following a £75,000 move from Sheffield United at the expense of groin-injury victim Danny Dichio.

Royle named the same side that beat Wolves 2-1 last time out and Ipswich started on the front foot with Lions defender Matthew Lawrence having to make a crucial tackle, which also sparked penalty appeals, to prevent Shefki Kuqi getting a shot away.

But the away fans did not have to wait long for their first glimpse of Hayles.

The pacy striker shot off-target from the edge of the area early on but, after 12 minutes, received the ball wide on the right and found Morris, who was only halted by a crude lunge by Jim Magilton following a smart turn but was mystifyingly denied a penalty.

Midway through the opening period, Kevin Horlock's free-kick flew narrowly wide of Graham Stack's post after Lawrence had brought down Kuqi on the edge of the area before a Tommy Miller volley whistled just over the bar and Bent flashed a header over the bar from Drissa Diallo's cross.

Millwall had a scare early in the second period, when Hayles came off much worse in a challenge with Town goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, which left the Jamaican international badly winded and he was eventually withdrawn with 33 minutes remaining holding his ribs.

The frustration continued for both sides past the hour mark. When Ipswich were able to get their passing game going they still failed to find a final ball, while the visitors were largely unambitious. However, the Lions did go close on 62 minutes but Darren Ward could not stretch far enough to connect with Neil Harris' flick-on. That attack seemed to buoy Millwall, who threatened again minutes later when Stefan Moore forced a save from Davis after another header from fellow substitute Harris following Wise's quickly-taken free-kick.

While, Hayles must be a concern, there was some good injury news for Millwall, with Kevin Muscat coming on for Wise with 18 minutes remaining - the first appearance since April for the Australian, who suffered cruciate ligament damage in last season's FA Cup semi-final victory over Sunderland.

It had seemed to be petering out to a goalless draw before Counago flicked on a long clearance and Bent capitalised on Ward's slip to hammer the ball past Stack with seven minutes remaining.

The same combination doubled the table-toppers' advantage with one minute left as Ian Westlake sent Bent into space wide on the left and Counago finished comfortably from the resulting cross to clinch victory.

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