since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 3 - 1 (1) Southampton

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, December 16, 2000

Referee: B Knight

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,228

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2877


 James Scowcroft 
 Alun Armstrong 
 Bridge (og) 























Match Report

Armstrong hits brace on home debut

Ipswich continued on their merry way today, beating the saints 3-1 at Portman Road.

Ipswich today returned to winning ways at Portman Road with a 3-1 victory over relegation strugglers Southampton. Three second-half goals saw Town turn the match around after they had gone in at half time a goal behind. Alun Armstrong was the hero of the day, as he scored a brace on his home debut, after coming on as a second half substitute. Southampton put up a brave fight though, and offered more footballing ability than I had credited them with. In all honesty this was a match that could have horribly pear-shaped for Town. The Ipswich goal lived a very charmed life at times, thanks mainly to some great save from England's number one. But we rode our luck, something that is overdue at home, and stormed back thanks to Burley's tactical masterstroke at half time. Ipswich went behind after only three minutes, when James Beattie Headed home a cross from Marian Pahars. The little Latvian weaved his way past the Ipswich defence before floating in a peach of a cross for Beattie. The in-form striker rose unchallenged and made no mistake. You can perhaps look to poor marking as an excuse, but this was a well-taken goal we could do little about. Memories of the last home match against Derby came flooding back. It was expected that Southampton would now put up an eleven-man defence for the remaining 87 minutes, but on the contrary, they should really have gone three up. Beattie thought he had added a second, but Wrighty somehow tipped the ball over. Next it was Tessum who was denied. His fierce shot from a tight angle was pushed onto the post by Wright's figure tips. The rest of the half saw Town dominate in their usual manner, without looking like scoring. Southampton were defending as expected in numbers, but were more dangerous on the break. Frustration was beginning to creep into crowd, as the halftime break approached. Half time: Ipswich 0, Southampton 1. Town were late coming out for the second period, but it was a half worth waiting for. Burley decided to give a Portman Road baptism to Alun Armstrong. This meant removing Jermaine Wright, with James Scowcroft dropping back to the right of midfield. This had an immediate impact, as Scowie was much more effective in this withdrawn role. He had more time on the ball, and was able to use his creative skills, rather than just wrestling defenders. Within 6 minutes from the restart Town turned the game on its head, with two quick goals. Jamie Clapham, who was having another great game, was hacked down after he had teased the Southampton defence one-time too many. Super Jim swept in the resultant free kick, and Scowie tapped it home. Portman Road erupted, as frustration was replaced with elation. Three minutes later Town took the lead. Armstrong was bubbling with enthusiasm since coming on, and managed to head home from a corner. It seemed to take an eternity to cross the line, as it ricochet of a Southampton defender before finally crossing the line. It was a magic moment for Armstrong, scoring on his debut, and you could really see what it meant to him as he celebrated. Armstrong almost grabbed his second after he chased what looked like a lost cause. Keeper Paul Jones lost the ball, but Armstrong's shot on an open goal was wide. The blues looked relatively comfortable for the rest of the game, although there were a few scary moments. Substitute Rossler looked certain to equalise, but his header was kept out by Wrighty's leg. I don't think Richard knew much about it, but he did his job by being in the way. Ipswich made the game safe in the dying minutes of the match when they added a third. Magilton was having a superb match against his former club, and he skilfully dribbled the ball down the by-line leaving two defenders in his wake. He then pulled the ball back to a grateful Armstrong, who whacked it home. Full time: Ipswich 3, Southampton 1. Another victory achieved, along with another three valuable points. Town fans were treated to an entertaining match, although it must be said we have played much better and not won. But hats off once more to Burley, who changed it around when things clearly weren't working. The day belonged to Armstrong, who instantly paid back a chunk of the £500,000 transfer fee. He's a grafter, and also appears to have that all-important goal scoring instinct. The victory had the Town fans rather confidently chanting ‘bring on United', our next opponents, but we will surely have to defend much better than we did today if we are to avoid a hiding. But we have consolidated our lofty position of 3rd in the Premier League. Its easy to take it for granted, but what an unbelievable feeling it is, to still be up there with the big boys.

From The Terrace

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