since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 0 - 1 (1) Derby County

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, December 2, 2000

Referee: M Halsey

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,003

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2875

























Match Report

Curse of the Manager of the Month award

Town's great run comes to an abrupt end at home to Derby. After going a goal behind, Burley's boys never recover despite constant pressure.

What hope did we really have? The writing was already on the wall. As soon as it was announced yesterday, that George Burley had deservedly won the dreaded ‘Manger of the Month' award for November, we were staring defeat in the face today. The ‘kiss of death award' syndrome struck again, as Ipswich went down 1-0 at home to struggling Derby County. Town today reminded their fans what it was like to leave Portman Road really frustrated, after they were unable to score against visibly inferior opposition. Derby took a first half lead with a deflected shot, and then desperately held out for the reminder of the game. Despite spending much of the second period camped in the Derby half, the blues were unable to create enough real clear-cut goal opportunities to complain too much about the result. On today's showing, it is hard to see how we managed to score in every Premier league game against much more accomplished defences. The main change Burley made to the starting line up was up front, where Burley decided to pair Marcus Stewart with David Johnson. Jon McGeal, Mark Venus, Matt Holland and Jim Magilton were all declared fit, and were able to return to the team. The first half was mainly a laborious affair; Derby set out their stall like many teams have recently, to try to knock Ipswich out of their stride. They did this successfully, and neither team looked like breaking the deadlock. Derby took the lead on one of their infrequent jollies into the Ipswich half. The ball was robbed during an Ipswich attack, and the Ipswich defence were quickly backpedalling. Rory Delap cut into the area and managed to strike the ball before being challenged by Venus. The shot deflected off Venus as he lunged in and tried in vein to block the shot. The ball looped helplessly over Brannagan. Wrighty's stand-in had little chance, and could only watch, as the ball sailed over him and into the back of the net. It was the luck Derby seemed to have been waiting for, and they certainly made the most of it. There wasn't really any other chances of note other than the goal, as play had not exactly been enthralling. However, the Town players did seem to step up a gear after the goal, and played with more urgency. The closest we came to equalising was just before half time, when Hreidarsson connected with a corner from Jermaine Wright. The Icelandic international was unable to get any power in his header, and Poom, in the Derby goal, collected the ball safely. It was probably the worst half witnessed at Portman Road this season, as Ipswich failed to impose themselves on a hard working Derby team. In reality, both teams looked dreadful. We had hardly had a shot on target, while Derby hadn't exactly offered much themselves in attack either. But they were presented with one chance, and took it. You can hardly blame them for that. Half time: Ipswich 0, Derby 1. Fabian Wilnis was a casualty of Burley's half time tactics, and was replaced at right back by Titus bramble. A few minutes later he also lost patience with Johno, and brought Scowie on to try and inject some life up front. Bramble, while using his awesome running power to burst through the Derby wall, kept annoyingly giving the ball away with some very careless passing. This is an aspect of his game he must improve on soon. He keeps getting away with it, but soon his sloppiness could be costly. Scowie became a target man for the midfield to aim for, and seemed to make a very positive impact. As Ipswich's onslaught gained full momentum crosses rained in from Clapham, Venus, Hreidarrson and Wright, but nothing seemed to drop kindly for Town. Derby defended in numbers, and had everyone behind the ball for the majority of play. Bearing in mind their league position, you can almost understand their tactics, but they will win few friends with this ‘eleven man behind the ball' approach. The crowd became more and more frustrated as the clock ticked down, although Town nearly equalised when McGreal received the ball on the left side, and fired a shot into the side netting. Stewart connected with a good header, but it was too good, and was directed straight at Poom. Magilton also sent a free kick high into the North stand. As a final measure, Burley shunted Bramble up front. He proved a handful for the over worked Derby defence, but again, we just didn't get the rub of the green, as nothing bounced in the right direction for Town. The final whistle signalled a much-needed win for Derby, while it meant Town had failed to score in the league for the first time this season. Final score: Ipswich 0, Derby 1. If there are any positives to gained from this performance, it is that we have seen another team that we should stay above. Derby came to Portman Road and defended in depth, hoping to grab a chance on the break. They succeeded, and sent the Ipswich public home frustrated. They needed the win badly, and fair play to them. In my match preview I warned we should be a bit wary of them as they have some quality players, but they actually went down in my estimation today, and it was obvious why they have struggled so much this season. When we were promoted, we were faced with reality that we probably would not win the majority of matches. But when we are faced with eleven man walls it makes it all the more annoying. We are still in the top five, an amazing feat really, so we should not get to despondent with this small set back. After all, we are not going to win them all. This match was not exactly ideal preparation for our next game; a trip to Anfield, and work must be done in training to make Town's attacks more penetrative.

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