since 1878

West Ham United (0) 0 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, March 17, 2001

Referee: M Dean

Manager: Unknown

Boleyn Ground

Attendance: 26,046

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2894











S Pearce

I Pearce












Match Report

Reuser free-kick claims points

The Tractor boys are looking like they are back to their best...

What a win. It was superb all round performance from Ipswich at Upton Park, and mighty blues were rewarded with their first win in the East end for 25 years. Again, it was the fabulous Martijn Reuser who did the damage, with that lethal right foot of his. The final score line actually flattered West Ham, and does not tell the whole story. Most Town fans were wondering how one earth we didn't have a hatful, as chance after chance went begging. But the man, who reserve coach Dale Roberts earlier this season labelled ‘not a team player', won the match with another delightful free kick. The Dutchman, who has finally broken into the 1st team after a frustrating six-month wait, is like a new signing. His latest touch of class means Town stay in third place in the Premier League after their seventh away win of the season, and keeps the remarkable dream of Europe a reality. Oh, happy days. As expected, Marcus Stewart returned up front, but it was to partner Alan Armstrong, not Jamie Scowcroft. Scowie was not even on the bench, and his absence needs explaining, as he was not reported to be struggling with injury. Reuser kept his place on the right of midfield, while Jim Magilton was recalled in midfield in place of Jamie Clapham. The blues, like at Villa, began brightly by pinging the ball around the park and crafted some well-worked efforts. Jermaine Wright saw a good shot blaze wide, and Matty Holland almost capitalised from a free kick given seven yards away from goal, after an illegal back pass. While both teams were attempting to pass the ball, chances were generally few and far between. The Hammers looked more like the away team, trying to catch Town on the break with the pace of Kanoute. The Frenchman had a couple of shots, but never really looked like scoring. Jermaine Wright, who is always being encouraged to shoot more, was denied a great goal just before half time, when his looping shot found the side netting. In the second half, Harry Redknapp, in an effort to change the balance of play, brought off Cole and Schemmel, and replaced them with Moncur and Todorov. Initially, it seemed to pay off, as West Ham enjoyed their best period of play. They looked rejuvenated, although it didn't take Town long to gradually begin to outplay them again. The home crowd began to get on their own players backs, and this only spurred Town on further. All of a sudden, the move to take off Schemmel appeared to backfire on Redknapp, as the previously well-marked Reuser was now finding acres of space to ply his talent. He had another long range shot well saved, before scoring his 3rd goal in three games. Marcus Stewart, enjoying his first game in a month, was frustrating the defence with his usual gritty play. Stuart Pearce, who as I remember at Portman Road was reduced to upending players he can no longer keep up with, again vented his annoyance by taking Stewart's legs away well inside the box. The ref blew, and the Town fan's initial celebrations of winning a penalty were cut short when, to everyone's complete amazement and disgust, the idiot Mr Dean signalled a free kick on the edge of the box. It was clearly inside, not even close to the line. We needn't have worried. Reuser is rapidly proving that a free kick within striking distance to him, is as good as a penalty. He stroked the ball home past the outstretched Hislop, and celebrated by running and sinking to his knees, in what is becoming his trademark celebration. It was justice done, after another atrocious refereeing decision. The final half hour saw West Ham try to get grab the game by the scuff of the neck, but to no avail, and it was Town who began to look more dangerous on the break. Town should have sealed the win after Armstrong raced away. Instead of squaring to Stewart to complete a tap in, Armstrong went for the headlines himself, and fluffed his shot. Clapham, who had come on for Reuser, also wanted to be included in the party, and created an excellent opportunity for Magilton with almost his first touch of the ball. Town fans did not have too many worrying moments as they sang their team home, and once again the home fans were heading home in their droves well before the final whistle. This was the polished win we have been threatening away from home for a long time. Recently, we have collapsed after taking the lead. But there looked no danger of that happening today, as a determined Ipswich team out fought and out passed a dejected West Ham team for the full ninety minutes. Often we score too early, allowing the home team time to make changes and mount a fight back. Today, we scored the goal just at the right time, and didn't allow the Hammers a look in after taking the lead. I'm sure the media, as usual, will focus on how poor the opposition were, just like they have after every other impressive win we have achieved. But the truth is we never gave West Ham a chance, and fully deserved the three points. Admittedly, we have caught West Ham just at the right time. They look to lacking confidence in a big way, and didn't look half as good as the team that came to Portman Road in October. Kanoute looked a shadow of the player who has been scoring great goals all season, and Di Canio was unable to make any impression either, apart from a very amusing strop. Wilnis won the ball cleanly away from the Di Canio, and unbelievably he tried to claim a penalty. When the ref laughed it, he acted like a spoilt kid by kicking the ball at an advertising hoarding. Very funny. We on the other hand, after our dodgy spell, our getting back to our best. Magilton, who has been having a hard time recently, looked magnificent, and ran the midfield. Jermaine Wright is once again flowing with confidence, and must be due a goal soon. Burley stuck with the same back five that were so dismal at Villa, and was rewarded with possibly our most solid defensive display of the season. There seems to be no stopping Reuser now, and with a rumoured final signing happening next week, it looks like we could really be on for that European spot. Titus Bramble will also be available next week, but on this showing he will struggle to regain his place in the team. What nice dilemmas Burley is facing, a full squad and not knowing who to leave out.

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