since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 1 - 1 (0) Blackburn Rovers

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Sunday, September 16, 2001

Referee: G Poll

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,126

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2907























Match Report

Vital points slip away

Ipswich let vital points slip away from their grasp again, as they threw away a 1st half lead against Blackburn. But Ipswich fans can again feel harshly done by, as not for the first this season, bad refereeing decisions go against them...

It was another frustrated crowd that walked out of Portman Road today, as Town were held at home by Blackburn Rovers. For the second match running, Town fans were left venting their anger at the man in black, as again we became the cruel victims of poor refereeing decisions. It was the turn of the popular Mr Graham Poll to cover himself in glory today, with the main focus of criticism centring on his decision to disallow a perfectly legitimate Ipswich goal that would have certainly earned us an important victory. As it was, the game ended all square at 1-1. The players trudged off the pitch knowing they had missed a golden opportunity to pull themselves up the League. Oh, and their goal was bloody dodgy as well! But to be fair to Blackburn, they were honestly well worth a share of the spoils. After being outplayed for the first 30 minutes, they gave as good as they got in most departments, and played an attractive pass and move game that is seldom seen from visitors to Portman Road. In fact Town looked out-of-sorts for large parts of the game, as Blackburn calved out chance after chance from their possession. It is just a pity, especially from our point of view, that their second half equaliser came from Poll's controversial decision to allow Grabbi to bulldoze his way over Chris Makin. Ipswich rallied as full time drew closer, and although we did create a good goal that was ruled out, it would hard to complain too much. A draw was probably the fairest result on the night. Ipswich lined up with Alun Armstrong this time being the ‘chosen one' to line up next to Marcus Stewart. Jermaine Wright was dropped, as Town played with a 4-4-2 formation. The game kicked off after an impeccably kept one-minute silence, and Town quickly set out their stool and attacked every time we had the ball. Opportunities fell to Reuser, Holland and Armstrong, while Marcus Stewart was clattered in the box that could easily been given as a penalty. The game followed a similar path to the Leicester game, when Town burst into an early lead. Jim Magilton floated a lovely ball straight into the path of Finidi George, who fired in an angled shot that rebounded off the bar. Fortunately, Armstrong was in the right place at the right time to pass ball into the back of the unguarded net. Things seemed to be progressing rather well, as Town continued to dominate after taking an early goal. Blackburn looked dangerous on the break, but were lacking in the final quarter, as they failed to create any clear-cut chances. Ipswich should have taken a two-goal lead when Titus Bramble somehow missed the easiest header he'll get in his life. It looked a certain goal, but Bramble somehow failed to connect. Memories of Lineker against Argentina in 1986 came flooding back, but it's possible the sun was in his eyes, as Bramble gestured in the direction of the heavens. But Blackburn were gradually becoming more confident, and although their new expensive striker Grabbi looked as if he has about as much talent as non-league player, he did force a superb point blank save from Sereni. A number of corners followed, but half time came with Town deservedly in the lead. The second was a different story. Whether this was due to Town sitting on the lead, or Blackburn just organising themselves better, it is hard to say. But Town's midfield were remarkably less effective and constantly lost possession allowing Blackburn to launch counter attacks. Finidi made another good save from Duff, before Matt Jansen's 53rd minute leveller. Grabbi clattered into Makin as he was about to clear the ball, leaving him arse over tit. As the whole stadium waited for the whistle that was never to come, Grabbi squared the ball to the more lethal and competent Jansen, who made no mistake in lobbing the ball over the on rushing Sereni. Some questioned the Italian's need to come out so quickly, but if he hadn't, it would have been a simple one-on-one situation anyway. Town's problems were heightened when Alun Armstrong left the field of play suffering concussion. A collision with Alan Mahon left the striker with a nasty head injury. He was replaced by Richard Naylor, and George Finidi was replaced by Fabian Wilnis as Town switched formations. The formation change seemed to work, as soon Bramble and Hreidarsson were making good runs from the back. Naylor made a terrible miss, after being put clean through from Stewart. Counago then joined the fray in place of Reuser, and was instrumental in getting the ball in the net. The Spaniard received the ball in the box, held off a challenge from Berg, before passing to Stewart who made no mistake to fire over Freidel. As the stadium erupted, Poll indicated a push by Canougo on Berg, and disallowed the goal. Quite how fending off a challenge can be seen as pushing, I don't know. You knew at that point it was not going to be our day, and the final whistle came with Town disappointed not to have done better. We have to win these type of games if we aren't to be pulled into a relegation dog fight, and we now have to face Leeds and Man Utd in our next two league games knowing that defeat to both, could see us plummet into the bottom three.

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