since 1878

Southampton (0) 0 - 3 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Monday, April 2, 2001

Referee: A Wiley

Manager: Unknown

The Dell

Attendance: 15,244

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2895

























Match Report

Stewart hits hat-trick

Marcus Stewart becomes the Premier League's highest goal scorer, after a memrobable hat trick in Hampshire.

Yes! Ipswich stormed back up to 3rd position in the Premier League, after another away ‘special' from Town. I feared I was being too optimistic when predicting a 2-0 victory, but even I underestimated the super blues this time, as they scorched to a 3-0 win. Some great passing and clinical finishing from hat trick hero Marcus Stewart did the damage for Town, and ended Southampton's run of seven games without conceding a goal. It was a miserable night for the Saints, who initially seemed determined to start the post-Hoddle era with a win. But the last ever game under floodlights at the Dell was well and truly spoilt for the home fans, as Town ran riot. Ipswich were rocked before the game by the news that Fabian Wilnis had twisted his ankle in training, and could be set to miss the rest of the season. They lined up with a central defensive duo of Mcgreal and Bramble, with Makin and Hreidarsson as wingbacks. Scowcroft partnered Stewart up front, with Reuser playing just behind the front two. To be fair to Southampton, they really seemed up for it in the early stages, and looked very aggressive. They didn't let us settle when we had the ball, and created several good chances after forcing our defence into errors. Both Bramble and McGreal were guilty of nearly gifting the Saints an early goal, but fortunately the shots from the Saint's forward line were high and wide. Eventually, and almost predictably, Town started to play their way into the game and soon had the game by the scuff of its neck. Reuser signalled an early warning of what was to come, when he fired a 30 yard shot against the inside of the post. Stewart came so close to scoring when he swivelled in a shot, but Paul Jones pulled off a miraculous reaction save. Next it was Makin who was holding his head in his hands, after watching his angled shot skim past the far post. Just as we thought we were going to rue the missed chances, Stewart tapped home after a majestic passing move that split Saint's defence apart. Hreidarsson raced down the left flank, before feeding an advancing Clapham, who squared the ball in front of watching defenders. Stewie was perfectly positioned to tap the ball home. The goal took the wind out of Southampton's sails, and they never looked like equalising before half time, in fact they hardly had a shot. When the teams came out for the second period, it was once again Town who carried on where they left off, although Southampton did have a couple of chances. Reuser, proving again what a great player he is, looked to have scored a good goal but it was adjudged off side. He then stung Jones' hands with a fierce shot from an acute angle, but the full talent of the Dutchman was illustrated when he hit the bar from about 50 yards. He spotted Jones off his line, and his brilliant lob deserved a goal. When that didn't go in, you knew it was not going to be his night, although he was again playing superbly. Missing great chances can so often spur the opposition on, and Southampton nearly punished Ipswich. Tessem tried his luck from 30 yards, and his dipping shot looked to be going in, but thankfully an awake Richard Wright tipped it over the bar. Tessem again counted himself desperately unlucky when another shot hit the inside of the post, and went to safety. It was our one desperate moment of the game, and could have changed the outcome of the game had it gone in. But bearing in mind all the chances we had had, we deserved a bit of luck. Stewart sealed the win with another great goal. Herman, changing from solid defender to silky winger, beat three defenders and crossed the ball. Stewart flicked the perfect cross into the top corner, giving Jones no chance. Moments later it was all over, when we were awarded a penalty after Holland was adjudged to be pushed in the area. It looked harsh, but seemed to be justice done, as Holland had only just had a much more blatant penalty turned down. Stewart cheekily clipped the ball in ‘Di Canio' style, to make him the first Town player to score a hat trick in the top flight since Kevin Wilson in 1985. While many may see Town's emphatic victory as sign of the ‘Hoddle hangover' Southampton were suffering, I believe this was a great Town performance. The saint's were really fired up ‘early doors' (as Hoddle would say), and looked a more than useful team, being very organised. Most teams would have buckled, but not Ipswich. It was memorable way for Town fans to say goodbye to a ground that has not been the kindest over the last few years, and again the noisy Town support gave their full appreciation to the Town players. On a mild and rainy night, there were great performances all round. It's easy to single out Mucus Stewart, and surely a watching Eriksson MUST take note, but he was not the only one. Hreidarsson played a large part in two of the goals, and although he cost us £4 million, must still be one of the bargains of the season. And what about Chris Makin? What a valuable signing he is looking. He looked so assured going down the right, and filled the injured Wilnis' boots admirably. Martijn Reuser, the match winner of two of the last three games, did everything but score, but showed again why Burley must play him. So, we are back up to 3rd. With only seven games left, four at home, we are almost in the home straight. What a great ‘natural high' it is to be a Town fan at the moment. Next Tuesday it's Liverpool at Portman Road, and what a night that could be.

From The Terrace

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