since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 1 (0) Coventry City

Coca-Cola Championship 2006-07

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Referee: P Taylor

Manager: Jim Magilton

Portman Road 19:45

Attendance: 19,465

Manager: Micky Adams

Match Number: 3166


 Mark Noble (51)
 Billy Clarke (84)
 E Ward (71)


A WhingL McKenzie (61)
M DoyleC Cameron (72)
K ThorntonD Hutchison (83)


 Alex Bruce (37)
 Mark Noble (64)
 Dan Harding (89)
 E Ward (44)
 K Kyle (69)



A Marshall

A Whing

R Page

E Ward

M Hall

C Birchall

S Hughes

M Doyle

K Thornton

S John

K Kyle



D Adebola

L McKenzie

M Heath

D Hutchison

C Cameron

Match Report

Wonderkid brings Sky Blues back to earth

FORMER Ipswich manager Joe Royle likened teenage super sub Billy Clarke to the great Jimmy Greaves.

But the way the 18-year-old took his 85th minute winner, letting fly with a ferocious 20-yarder that bamboozled Coventry keeper Andy Marshall was hardly classic Greavsie, known more for his predatory instincts in the box.

And while it ensured the academy graduate hero status among the Portman Road faithful, coming within a minute of his match winner against Southampton on Saturday, it served as a stark reality check for the Sky Blues who were themselves celebrating a return to form just a few days before.

It wasn't a bad performance by any means and City can feel aggrieved that they didn't go away with a point, which they arguably more than deserved.

But, as Micky Adams was quick to concede, football is all about taking chances and Coventry simply failed to do that in an entertaining game with action at both ends that was finally decided, quite harshly for the otherwise excellent Marshall, by a misjudgment.

"I am very disappointed with the result and if we are going to compare the performance to the Norwich game then we are going to be disappointed," said the former Tractor Boy who had kept City in the game earlier on with a brilliant one-handed save.

"Generally we did okay and enough to get a draw out of the game but we have to pick our away form up.

"I pulled off good save and then the young lad Clarke has hit a ball and it has moved, ducked and dived all over the place and I am disappointed to have let it in.

"It dipped and swerved and just at the last second as I was about to get a block on it, it seemed to dip again, hit the bottom of my hand and then the surface and bounce up into the top corner, so I am thoroughly disappointed, I really am."

Marshall certainly shouldn't beat himself up too much after previously keeping three consecutive clean sheets in the league, and the fact remains that had the outfield players taken their chances when they came, albeit few and far between, then his rick would have gone largely unnoticed.

Kevin Kyle had the best opportunities in a lively opening half, the first of which saw him meet a fine Marcus Hall cross with his head, only to send the ball across the face of goal, while the second, which was also a header, went looping over the bar following a well-worked training ground free kick.

Town, meanwhile, were extremely unfortunate not to have been two goals to the good after shaving the post twice, the first of which saw Alan Lee get in behind the defence and pull back a neat ball that Gavin Williams failed to convert.

Despite a lack of clear cut chances overall, it was a good battle between two competitive sides both boasting rugged old fashioned centre-forwards who had tussles with their respective no-nonsense markers.

Jason De Vos was keeping a close check on Kyle and Robert Page was mixing it up with Jon Macken who, disappointingly, managed to break free at the byline to pick out Mark Noble with another pullback that had City at sixes and sevens.

But despite the 51st minute blow, the visitors dusted themselves down and got themselves back on level terms from the most unlikely of sources.

Robert Page went on the overlap on the right to send the ball in to Leon McKenzie who, in turn, laid a neat pass to Elliott Ward who rifled the ball into the back of the net for a 72nd minute equaliser.

The goal came just after Kevin Thornton had rattled the cross bar with a 22-yard free kick on a night when the midfielder provided the main creative spark until McKenzie made his debut on the hour.

City passed the ball about well throughout and showed their strength in depth as the experienced heads of Don Hutchison and Colin Cameron went on to try to force a result as Adams tinkered with the formation, dropping Stern John just behind the front two as Mckenzie was given a leading role.

But despite the script being written for the new £1 million signing to grab the winner after setting up the equaliser, it was the local hero who made the headlines at the other end of the park.

And so it is back to the drawing board for the Sky Blues, as Marshall said: "We will get backing on the training field and work hard again.

"I will be out with Seamus and I will put that behind me and look forward to the game on Saturday.

"I hope people will feel I have done well so far this season and I just have to put this behind me and get back on track to the way I have been playing."

Andy Turner (icCoventry)

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