since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 0 (0) Leicester City

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Sunday, January 14, 2001

Referee: M Riley

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,002

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2885

























Match Report

Town victorious under Sven's watchful eye

Another cracking performance from Town saw the Tractor boy's motor back up to 4th in the Premiership. Two late, but very deserved goals from Marcus Stewart and James Scowcroft did the damage for Town, in front of a live Sky TV audience and new England boss Sven Goran Eriksson. I'll also take this opportunity now to crow about my third successive correct match prediction! If you want to make some quick bucks, be sure to keep reading my match previews. For much of the afternoon, it looked like it was going to be a frustrating afternoon for Town fans, after watching chance after chance go begging. But Burley's troupers stuck to the task of breaking down a resilient Leicester, and finally reaped the rewards. Several players would have been hoping to catch Eriksson's eye, and while Marcus Stewart, Jamie Clapham and Richard Wright all put in impressive performances to push themselves into the England frame, it was Tim Flower's understudy Simon Royce who possibly stole the show. He pulled off a string of stunning saves to keep Leicester in it, and looked a much better keeper than Flowers. Burley made a couple of changes to the team that managed a 1-0 win over Birmingham. As expected, Alun Armstrong returned up front. Scowie was moved to midfield, and it was Jermaine Wright who this time had to sit out the match. The Blues started the brighter team, passing the ball around well, and looking sharp. But as the half wore on, Leicester began to frustrate Town by closing them down very quickly. City captain Matt Elliott looked like a rock in defence, and paid particular attention to Stewie. Magilton looked poor early on, as pass after pass when astray. Savage was looking good in midfield, using his pace to start counter attacks. Half time came with the score being level, and while Town had huffed and puffed, they were unable to create enough chances to justify a lead. They found a brick wall every time they entered the final 3rd of the field. We were treated to another abysmal refereeing show from Mike Riley, as he let the Leicester players ruffle the Ipswich feathers with some ‘cynical' challenges. The second half saw Ipswich dominate from start to finish. Whatever Burley put in the tea did the trick, as Town really got their passing game in motion. Stewie put the ball onto the woodwork, as well as missing another couple of chances. Hreidarsson should have scored with a free header, and the big man was apart of much of Town's attacks. Holland, Armstrong and Scowie all forced great saves from Royce, before Stewart bagged his 15th goal of the season, and put himself on top of the goal scoring charts. It was the in 80th minute when the breakthrough finally came. Ironically, it was a result of City's first goal attack of the second period. Wrighty plucked the ball out of the air and immediately bowled the ball Clapham. Clapham cained it down the wing, before despatching a ball to Hreidarsson. It looked as if Gary Rowett had beaten the Iceman, but he put the £3 million signing under immense pressure, as Rowett tried to Sheppard the ball away for goal kick. Hreidarsson coolly nicked the ball and centred it to an unmarked Stewart. Super Stewie made no mistake as he headed home from close range. I was speaking to a Leicester fan before the game who was singing Rowett's praises, saying he hasn't put a foot wrong all season. Unfortunately for them, he did today, but all credit to Hreidarsson, whose perseverance paid off. Leicester tried to come forward more after the goal, with nothing to lose. But this worked to Town's advantage, as they were able to open the Leicester defence on the break. Royce had time to make one more cracking save, this time from Jamma, before Scowie headed from an identical position to Stewart's. This time Wilnis curled in an inch perfect cross from the right for former Leicester target Scowie to power home. It was a huge relief for Town fans, and Portman Road erupted with delight as the goals went in. It meant another massive three points for Town were in the bag, and had the crowd singing ‘say, we've got 40 points' and ‘we are staying up'. It was the first league match since the loss at Sunderland, and the players made amends in real style. The win was revenge for the defeat we suffered at Filbert Street in September, and continues this unbelievable season. With survival almost certainly achieved, we can now realistically look to qualify for Europe through a top six finish. As for Leicester, it was a pretty dismal performance from their point of view, not one where too many plus points can be gained. At least Peter Taylor was honest after the game, and did not come out with a list of excuses for the defeat. They look to be in desperate need of a striker, as neither £5 million man Ade Akinbiyi or Trevor Benjamin caused the Ipswich back four any trouble. They didn't create a chance of any note in the second half, and hardly any in the whole match. If there is any comfort to be gained, it was in the performance of Simon Royce. Richard Wright would have really been hoping to impress Eriksson, but due to Ipswich's dominance he had a solid but very quiet afternoon. Instead, it was former Southend and Heybridge rookie keeper Royce who produced several world class saves, and if he continues to play like that, Tim Flowers will not be missed.

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