since 1878

Ipswich Town (3) 5 - 1 (1) Exeter City

League Cup 1st Round, 2nd Leg 1998-99

Tuesday, August 18, 1998

Referee: F Stretton

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 7,952

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2751

























Match Report

Town find their scoring touch

Ipswich Town swept aside the challenge of Third Division Exeter City at Portman Road last night to reach the second round of the Worthington Cup, a competition which has often been a money spinner for the club in the past. The Devon side held out bravely for half an hour but then Ipswich started to pick up the goals which must surely build confidence for the League programme ahead.

A header from Mick Stockwell two minutes before the interval was special because it was such a rarity.

Ipswich continued on the rampage in the second half with further goals from Alex Mathie, an imperious low shot from the edge of the area, and Paul Mason three minutes from the end. It was Mason's final goal of the night that brought the house down. Top scorer two seasons ago but out injured for most of the last campaign, Mason proved that he has not lost his touch. He scored with a clinical angled volley after a penetrating diagonal cross from Mathie.

Mason is trying to prove his fitness to earn a fresh contract and, although he was on the field for only 14 minutes he looks to be on his way back.

Exeter's consolation goal came from Jon Richardson just before the interval but they were rearly at the races once they had fallen behind.

It would have been an ideal night for Ipswich had David Johnson got off the mark for the season on a night of dominance, but he found that his best efforts were all blocked by Ashley Bayes whose first half hour was inspirational.

Ipswich started full of fire with Bayes flapping at a cross from Petta which bounced wide of the far post. Then the experienced Gittens rose to head away a dangerous cross from Mathie on the right.

Power stopped Stockwell in his tracks as he raced into the penalty area but the first real chance came in the tenth minute.

Taricco started the move before Mathie slid a great low through ball for Johnson. Bayes was off his line quickly to smother the shot. It was a brave save from a keeper with a big reputation as a shot stopper.

Stockwell was in the wars and needed treatment and then Rees checked the skilful Dyer with a foul, but Exeter were putting up a creditable show early one. The Devon side earned their first corner in the 15th minute when Taricco headed a cross from Rowbotham behind, but it was generally a question of Exeter working hard to deal with an Ipswich attack that was flexible with Petta having a free-role.

After 19 minuets Clapham put in a dangerous cross from the left. The danger was cut out with Power heading back to Bayes who was forced to dive to prevent an own goal.

Then Bayes had a purple patch. He brought off three breath taking saves in quick succession. In the 24th minute Stockwell played in Johnson who was hungry for his first goal of the season. The Town striker aimed a low drive just inside the far post but Bayes stretched to touch the ball away one handed.

Then Petta crossed for Johnson who close range header was blocked by the acrobatic keeper. While the crowd was still buzzing Taricco centred from the right but Bayes managed to keep out Petta's close range header. The ball ran loose but Gittens booted it away.

No defence could expect to hold out against such persistent pressure and in the 30th minute the Exeter rear guard cracked.

Petta's cross was headed away by Flack, but only as far as Taricco who cracked a right foot drive from 22 yards just inside Bayes' right hand post.

The keeper must have seen the ball late through a crowded penalty area. Within 25 seconds Ipswich were two up and any tension, not that there was much, disappeared as it became carnival time.

Johnson Found Holland with a low ball across the penalty area and the Town midfield man, who had scored at Exeter with a header, swept his shot into the net.

Ipswich were now producing polished football. In the 39th minute Dyer, Mathie and Taricco combined cleverly forcing Clark to conceded a corner. Then Mathie did his best to lay a goal on a plate for Johnson but last season's leading scorer sliding in, was just unable to make contact with the cross.

Two minutes before the interval Ipswich scored a third. Petta fed Clapham down the left and Stockwell rose to head home a pin point cross from ten yards.

Then Ipswich let their concentration lapse and paid the penalty. Power headed down for Rowbotham whose low shot was blocked by Wright. The ball flew out to Richardson who fired home.

Richardson had scored in the first leg at Exeter as well, but before that his record had been just six goals in 195 games. Exeter switched to a flat back four in the second half with Gardner coming on for Power and Gittens switching to right back with Gale moving to the left.

Then Ipswich introduced Holster for his first home game giving Dyer a chance to rest his groin.

Play became a bit dreary as Ipswich let Exeter enjoy a spell of pressure but in the 56th minute a great ball by Clapham sent Johnson to the byline on the left. He knocked the ball back into the goalmouth only for Clark to clear.

Then Petta split the Exeter defence and sent Mathie through, but Bayes was off his line to gather the ball cleanly at the Scotsman's feet.

Breslan, Exeter's teenager, almost scored with a header at the wrong end after 61 minutes when stretched to deal with a cross from Taricco. In the 65th minute Exeter brought on Holloway, another youngster, who put Wright under pressure to gather a cross from Rowbotham after 71 minutes as Exeter's challenge was still flickering.

Better control by Mathie might have led to a fourth Ipswich goal in the 75th minute he failed to make the most of a splendid crossfield ball from Petta.

Nine minutes from the end Mathie made amends, Holster and Taricco made the opening and Mathie swept home a low right foot drive from outside the area that curled just inside the post.

Five minutes from the end Ipswich had a goal for the taking only to be denied by the woodwork. Petta's cross from the left provided Mathie with a close range header but his effort crashed down off the underside of the bar.

Then Clapham almost got in on the act with a low 22 yard drive that Bayes turned round the post.

Mason's goal rounded off an entertaining night which should give Ipswich the tonic they need after a slow start to the season.

East Anglian Daily Times

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