since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 0 - 0 (0) Helsingborg IF

UEFA Cup 2nd Round, 1st Leg 2001-02

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Referee: Unknown

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,254

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2914




C AnderssonLindstrom (58)
PricaJansson (85)










C Andersson





Dos Santos










Match Report

Another 90 minutes of pure frustration

It was another 90 minutes of pure frustration at Portman Road, as a second consecutive nil-niller was played out in the 1st leg of the Uefa Cup second round...

We expected Helsingborgs to come and play for a draw, but we also expected Ipswich to put on a half decent show. That show never came, as the Tractor Boys laboured away for long periods seemingly unable to string two passes together. And as the Ipswich players toiled without success, it is the Swedish visitors who leave Portman Road wondering just how on earth they failed to gain a vital away goal. Was it not for the shear brilliance of Matteo Sereni in the Ipswich goal, we could have found ourselves staring at a heavy defeat. Helsingborgs looked the far more organised of the two teams, and as the Town players began to lose the way after our usual bright start, the Swedes found gapping gaps in the defence. Helsingborgs were described as being of Sweden's most boring teams. If that is the case, I'd like to watch a whole lot more Swedish football. With Alun Armstrong missing due to his back injury, Burley decided to play Stewart up front with Finidi just dropping off behind. Early on, it looked to do the trick, as Finidi looked sharp and nearly put Town ahead after four minutes. A succession of Ipswich free kicks and corners failed to produce that elusive goal, and it didn't take long for the Swedes to blunt the Ipswich attack. And as they grew more confident, Helsingborgs began to come forward with purpose. They crafted some good moves with neat inter-changing passes that you would normally associate with Ipswich. Sereni produced his first great save from Brazilian Santos, by diving at full stretch to turn his powerful shot away.

Another lapse in defence allowed Rade Prica to gallop forward with only Sereni to beat. But before he had time to shoot, John McGreal came from nowhere to slide in and rob him with a brilliant last-ditch tackle. Town's best chance before half time came when Finidi broke the Swedish back line and raced onto a through ball, but was just unable to chip the oncoming keeper. The second half began as the 1st ended, with Town just unable to find any rhythm. The effort was there, but once again something was missing. Passes continually went astray as the crowd became increasingly agitated and frustrated. It was Helsingborgs who continued to look more like scoring, and Sereni was called upon to deny Santos in a one-on-one situation. With half an hour to go, Burley brought on Counago in place of Reuser, and Sixto Peralta in place of Magilton. The changes did improve Town, especially in midfield, where Peralta weaved his way around players and instigated some good moves. But still Ipswich came up against the Swedish brick wall, and it wasn't until the final ten minutes that any real chances were created. A Veno free kick agonising evaded everyone, when any touch would have put it in the back of the net. Jamma looked set to score, but a defender blocked his shot. As the clock ticked away, Town pushed forward but just couldn't find the breakthrough. Boos could be heard from the crowd as the whistle blew, as once again another bitterly disappointing home match had been endured. The evening started with a firework spectacular to commemorate the opening of the new South stand. Unfortunately the Town players were unable to produce their own fireworks on the pitch, and this loss of form is quite baffling. The players looked lost, and the usual flowing football has vanished from our game. The formation didn't work, but it's hard to see what is wrong. We need Armstrong fit, as Finidi up front just doesn't work. The Nigerian is beginning to come in for some stick from certain sections of the crowd, although I feel this is unfair. He's not getting the service from midfield he deserves. Reuser was very disappointing- he just didn't get into the match. At least Sereni played well, and kept another clean sheet. I'm already coming to the conclusion that he is better than Richard Wright, and you can only wonder where we would be now without him. But I suppose he is getting more practise at the moment! Sixto looked a real prospect, and Magilton has a fight now to keep his place. The Argentinean has a great touch, and is harder worker. Apart from that, it's hard to take much from what was, basically, another crap performance. Technically, we are in a better position than when we drew 1-1 against Torpedo, but we'll have to do a lot better in Sweden if we are to overcome this lot. And God help us at Fulham.

From The Terrace

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