since 1878

Grimsby Town (1) 2 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

Division 1 1999-00

Saturday, October 2, 1999

Referee: M Warren

Manager: Unknown

Blundell Park

Attendance: 6,531

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2814


 Jim Magilton 




















Match Report

Grimsby Town 2 Ipswich Town 1

IF IPSWICH fail to achieve their stated aim of automatic promotion from a keenly contested division and have to again endure the play-offs, they may look back on fixtures such as this trip to Blundell Park and bemoan the points lost.

Ipswich travelled without defender Gary Croft, their recent signing from Blackburn Rovers, who scored on his debut against Manchester City last week. The former Grimsby player's future with his new club is in doubt after he spent Thursday night in police cells after being charged with various driving offences.

Grimsby rely heavily on the work-rate of their front pairing of Lee Ashcroft and Jack Lester, and their tactic of getting the ball forward as quickly as possible unsettled Ipswich's three-man central defence. The home side had the best of a poor first half, and with wide players Kevin Donovan and Alan Pouton testing the visitors' wingbacks, Ipswich looked uncomfortable.

Grimsby took the lead in the 38th minute. Lester came deep to win the ball, skilful play by Pouton released Ashcroft down the left, and Donovan rose to meet his cross and head past Richard Wright in the Ipswich goal.

Sharp words were clearly spoken in the Ipswich dressing-room at half-time as they began the second half with vigour and purpose unrecognisable from the first. They had reason to thank the competence of Wright, named in the England squad this week, after his 49th-minute double save from Ashcroft, sent through by Lester after Jim Magilton lost the ball in mid-field, prevented his side going further behind.

Five minutes later the visitors were level when Magilton's right-footed free-kick from the edge of the Grimsby area left goalkeeper Danny Coyne flat-footed.

The relief of the travelling support was short-lived. Alan Buckley's side are characterised by their spirit and resilience and were always likely to hit back, but a mistake by John McGreal meant the home team had to wait only two minutes to regain the lead. His poor back-pass was intercepted by Lester, who played the ball square across the goal area to the unmarked Ashcroft to score.

Ipswich opened up the game considerably for the remainder of the second half, moving the ball around midfield and developing some width to their play as they pressed for an equaliser. David Johnson, called up this week by Wales, began to feature in and around the Grimsby area. But credit must be given to the home side for their effort, with the Lester-Ashcroft partnership constantly threatening.

The Ipswich defence struggled to cope. Magilton, McGreal and substitute Fabian Wilnis were booked for fouling the Grimsby strikers in separate incidents. On another day, with another referee, one or more might have been sent off.

Daily Telegraph

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