since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 1 - 2 (2) Bolton Wanderers

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Referee: S Bennett

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,335

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2920


 Matt Holland 






















Match Report

Town slump to another defeat

Ipswich shoot themselves in the foot yet again by giving their opponents a generous lead. Despite a desperate comeback attempt, Town were unable to overturn a two-goal deficit, and slumped to another defeat against Bolton.

What a nightmare. I'm sure we are all going to wake up soon. To kick off this happy weekend, we hear the news that Marcus Stewart, our only player capable of scoring more than one goal every sixth months, has injured himself in a training session. Stewie clashed with Pablo Canougo and ended up with a broken jaw, meaning we are now without his services for at least two months. Great. Our new French winger Ulrich Le Pen made his debut today, coming on in the second half, but he literally lasted a few minutes before being carried of with what looked a very serious ankle injury. Oh, and as usual, we lost again. George Burley tried another new formation in a bid to stop the rot. Darren Bent was given his Premier League debut, but rather surprisingly played on the right of a five-man midfield. Pablo was operating as a lone striker, as Naylor was left on the bench. Jamie Clapham or Fabian Wilnis were neither in the team or on the bench, and I now expect the former will shortly be departing for East London. The game followed the same similar pattern, with Ipswich looking bright and then conceding a weak goal. We only had to wait five minutes today for the obligatory leak. I actually felt quite heartened at that point - we had left ourselves 85 minutes to claw it back, a bit more than usual. Gudni Bergsson was the grateful recipient of Town's goodwill, heading home unchallenged from a corner. We were nearly back in it soon after, when Reuser played in Hreidarsson down the left, and the Icelander stabbed in a lethal cross that evaded everyone, including our advancing strikers. Pablo almost played Bent in with some good footwork, and the Spaniard then let fly himself from 25 five yards. His fine shot agonisingly hit the post. If only that could have crept in. But no, lady luck is evidently still in a strop with the Tractor Boys. With Town having taken control of the game, Bolton grabbed their second. This time Chris Makin failed to follow the man he was marking into the box, and Rickets took full advantage of a high bouncing ball, by heading his own lob into the net. It was well executed by the prolific striker, but again questions need to be asked about the Ipswich defence, and why he wasn't picked up. With a two-goal lead after only twenty minutes, the writing was already on the wall. You just can't give teams that sort of advantage, not in the Premier League. Understandably the team looked lost for ten minutes, but at least the crowd didn't turn, and instead backed the Blues to the hilt. Confidence soon returned, and once again the passing game was dominating as Bolton sat on their unexpected lead. Just before half time, Sixto Peralta worked his way into the box with his skilful dribbling. He looked to have held to the ball for too long when he appeared to be disposessed, but his persistence allowed Matt Holland to pop up and drill home a sweet low shot that gave Jaaskelainen no chance. It was a welcome lifeline before half time, and set up the onslaught in the second half. No one celebrated with Holland after the goal, and that didn't go unnoticed by some. Whether or not that has any significance on recent rumours, I don't know. It may have just been down to the fact the players were more embarrassed about the way they had earlier caved in. The second half saw George make one change, with Jamma coming on for Magilton. The chances were hardly raining in, but Town had all the possession. The same old trademark Bolton tactics came to the fore once again, as they were reduced to trying to kick the Ipswich players in a bid to stop the flow. Paul Warhurst somehow stayed on the pitch after a very bookable tackle on Peralta. It would have been his second yellow, and the ref immediately went for his book as he blew. But when realising it would be a red, he totally bottled it and decided to give him a ticking off. It was another sign of inconsistent refereeing, and sign that Bolton still haven't changed their ways. Ipswich continued to plug away, and Mark Venus nearly found the breakthrough with a powerfully hit free kick. If anything, he hit it too well, and flew directly at Jasskelainen. Countless corners were taken and all squandered, as the clock began to tick down with haste. Ipswich's integrated passes through the middle seemed the best route, but sometimes the ball was overplayed. Peralta wasted the best chance of an equaliser, after a great move. He was clean through and had a choice of shooting from an angle or cutting back. He opted to shoot but the best he could do was hit the side netting. Ulrich le Pen came on to a warm welcome with ten minutes to go, and Naylor swapped places with Bent with five still to play. Neither really had much time to make an impact, although N'Gotty made a severe impact on Le Pen. Just as the Frenchman was shaping up to shoot in injury time, he felt the fully force of N'Gotty's challenge. It looked, by the other players reaction, as is something was broken, and the sight of him being stretchered off just completed the wretched weekend. To summarise, things haven't changed. Bad defending has let us down again, and you have to wonder where the next win is going to come from. We've lost that winning habit and I can't see it returning. We've been beaten again by a team, that player for player, aren't as good. For most of the half Bolton were just happy hoofing the ball anywhere, but they know how to win, and that's something sadly lacking in Town's game. Ipswich again didn't play poorly, and if you take away the two badly conceded goals, it was another game we easily dominated. But we did give away the goals, as we always do, and something just isn't right. Time is running out, and with hard games coming up, I can't see us climbing out of the bottom three for a while. This is now our worst run for years, and the longest run since a victory under Burley's reign. If we had been playing badly in every game and been turned over week in week out like we did in 1996, it would be more understandable. But the is truth is we're not. There is only perhaps the Man Utd game where can honesty say we deserved nothing at all. There were a few plusses to take from the game. Sixto Peralta is looking better and better every game. His dribbling ability is a refreshing weapon and the ball seems to stick to his feet as he weaves around players. At times you think he has holds on to the ball too long, but he'll always win free kicks in dangerous areas with his persistent mazy runs. Darren Bent showed great potential and will get better, but I fear it is asking a little too much of the lad to expect him to fill Stewie's boots. We need a striker now, and someone on loan at the loan least, is a must. What about Scowie? He's not in the Leicester front line at the moment. . . From The Terrace

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