since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 0 - 0 (0) Everton

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Saturday, October 13, 2001

Referee: C Wilkes

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,820

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2913

























Match Report

Faithful endure 'classic nil-niller'

Ipswich's bad league form continues, as the Portman Road faithful have to endure a 'classic nil-niller' against Everton...

How much worse can we get at home? I stated in the match preview that Town had to win this one, and we failed. Not only did we not deserve to win, we may even have lost if it wasn't for a couple of great saves from Sereni. At least we kept out first clean sheet of the season. But that is of scant consolation, on a day Ipswich only reaffirmed growing fears that we are now battling to stay up. We're not in the relegation zone yet, but judging on this performance, surely that's only a matter of time now. There is no point in mincing words. As footballing spectacles go, this was of the poorest quality. Everton were bad, very bad, typical of what we have come to expect from the Toffeemen over recent years. They donned a grey away kit, and it turned out to be a very apt colour as it reflected their style. They rarely wanted to venture in the opposition's half, and they set out their unadventurous stall very early on. If they were bad, we were worse. It was up to us to break down their defence, and we didn't create nearly enough chances to warrant a victory. Everton can justifiably be pleased with the earning of one point being away from home, we on the other hand must now wonder when on earth we go from here. The first half was possibly the dullest seen at Portman Road in years; I don't think we mustered up one shot on goal. The Blues did rally and improve after the break, and we kept Everton pinned back in their own half for long periods, but by that time the visitors had understandably decided to shut up shop. We nearly scored on a couple of occasions, but were unable to successfully penetrate the Everton defence. I don't know if this was mainly due to their good defending, or down to Town's inability to create many clear-cut chances. Burley made the conspicuous decision of leaving out Finidi George from the starting line up, the Nigerian being relegated to the bench. Jermaine Wright kept his place, while the other three players rested from the Crewe game, Holland, Hreidarsson and Magilton all returned. There was no flow to the football for the first 15 minutes, as neither team managed to string more than two passes together. It was Everton who took the first pot shots towards goal, when they caught Town's defence napping. Kevin Campbell suddenly found himself one-on-one with Sereni, and looked certain to score, only for Sereni to block brilliantly. Having not learnt any lessons, moments later Town allowed Niclas Alexandersson to fire in a powerful shot that Sereni turned around the post. These warnings should have kick-started Town into action, but they didn't. Both teams seemed happy to splutter towards half time, and finally in the 40th minute, Town had their first opportunity, when Armstrong's snap shot from 8 yards was well off target. Town did improve after the break, and the passing looked much more back to usual. But we were still restricted to a handful of chances, Jim Magilton's 30-yard pile driver that just blazed over, being one of the best. Reuser should have done better with a close range header, and Armstrong had a couple of half-hearted shots that he should have done better with. As it was, Campbell so nearly sent us home with nothing again, as Everton broke dangerously on a coupe of occasions. With a few minutes to go, he thought he'd scored himself, but as he connected with a cross from 6 yards, but he could only watch in disbelief as his shot struck the side netting. A few discontented boos rang out from the home crowd, as the players trooped off after the final whistle. We're not used to such poor performances at Portman Road, and the lack of understanding between players is a major worry. We can't even blame bad luck for this one. A draw was a fair result, as neither team did enough to win. We had blown a golden opportunity to get some breathing space, and you have to wonder, if we can't beat Everton at home (or even look capable of winning), who on earth are we going to beat? We now have the much more difficult task of playing Fulham away, as the quest for points becomes more imperative. We did keep a clean sheet, I suppose, which is something. Sereni was again the pick of the players, and he looks worth every penny of his £5 million fee. But I think Burley's decision to leave out Finidi clearly backfired. He came on with 15 minutes to go and his pace offered more options, but he didn't really have long enough to make an impact. It's a case of back to basis after this latest setback, and relearning the simple art of passing-and-moving, something that has been the trademark of our game recently.

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