since 1878

Millwall (1) 2 - 0 (0) Ipswich Town

League Cup 2nd Round, 1st Leg 2000-01

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Referee: R Styles

Manager: Unknown

The New Den

Attendance: 8,068

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2862

























Match Report

Millwall punish lack lustre Ipswich

Ipswich lost rather embarassingly 2-0 Millwall in this evening's Worthington Cup 2nd round tie. It is only the first leg, but after Town's recent results against top class opposition, most of us were expecting Ipswich to hand out a footballing lesson to the Nationwide division two side in their own back yard. As it turned out, it was Millwall who punished a lack lustre Ipswich performance with some clinical finishing. It is the first time Town have been unable to score in a game for a long time, a clean sheet being a feat no Premier League team have managed (I may regret saying that come Saturday, after the visit of the Gunners!). Burley ‘rang' the changes for the clash the South Londoners, using the game as a good opportunity to experiment with a few players. Maybe we are seeing the early days of the ‘Burley rotation system', as out went Wilnis, Bramble, Holland and Stewart. They were to be replaced respectively by John Scales, Martijn Reuser, Gary Croft, and David Johnson. There was, however, no room for new signing Amir Karic, with Burley stating the game had come too early for him, having only trained for one morning. The big surprise was that Mathew Holland was left out of the starting line up for the first time since his move from Bournemouth. This looked like a sensible move to give Matt another chance to rest his troublesome ankle. Records mean nothing and it's more important that he is fighting fit for the rigors of the Premier league. However, as it turned out, Matt was only left out for 45 minutes, before returning to the fray. Town started with a 5-3-2 system, with Clapham and Croft the wing backs, with a back three of Hreidarsson, Scales and Mcgreal. The game kicked of at a half empty New Den at a sluggish place with neither team really taking control. A scrappy midfield battle meant Ipswich were unable to settle into their usual passing football. Millwall were obviously up for it, and wanted to make the most of their chance of rubbing shoulders and comparing themselves with a Premier league team. Ipswich nearly took the lead after 12 minutes. Scowcroft, with the ball deep in his own half, fed Johnson with a ‘Beckham-like' pass. It fell to Johnson's wrong foot, and when he finally did get the shot in, it curled just wide. Millwall got the breakthrough after 36 minutes, and it would be harsh to say they didn't deserve it. The Ipswich defending had been looking very static all night, and a quality cross caught the Ipswich back line napping. John Scales seemed more interested in watching rather than challenging, and was an onlooker as Paul Iffy fired home into the top corner of the net. The half time whistle was greeted with cheers from the home side, while the 1000 or so Town fans were far from impressed. Millwall had certainly given a good display, and it was hard to see which was the higher ranked club. It had been a very disappointing display from Town, the worst seen so far this season, and were unable to get going against a hard working Millwall team. Reuser had been very quiet in midfield, which was disappointing, as I for one was looking forward to watching him make an impact, and give a nice selection problem for Burley for Saturday's game. Half time: Millwall 1, Ipswich 0. The start of the second half saw Burley break a habit of a lifetime, and make some changes BEFORE the last 10/15 minutes. Obviously not impressed by the dismal showing of his team, he replaced Rueser with Holland, and Wilnis with Croft. Millwall also made a change, replacing goal scorer Paul Iffy with Steven Reed. It had been a disappointing display by both Reuser and Croft, who surely would have been hoping to grab their chance with both hands. They were unable to make any impression, and Burley had obviously lost patience. He changed to the 4-4-2 system which had been so effective at Leeds, and immediately it began have effect. Holland looked fired up, and began breaking forward with the ball from midfield. After 48 minutes he did some great work to free Scowcroft, who fired a good shot wide. This was closely followed by another effort by Scowcroft who headed just wide after good work and a cross from Wilnis. Hreidarsson also went close with a header, and a great drag-bag and shot from Holland deserved a goal. Despite showing more urgency though, chances were few and far between, although in the 73rd minute Scowcroft hit the post with another header. Burley replaced David Johnson with Marcus Stewart in the 75th minute, as Johnson, who had looked lively in the first half, was again looking ineffective and disinterested. After 80 minutes the unthinkable happened. Millwall broke, and again found space. Tim Carhill jollied up the field and hammered home to put Millwall 2-0 in front. While it was against the run of play, Town could have no complaints, as again they were caught cold. The final ten minutes brought Town no closer to scoring, and the final whistle was welcomed by Town fans almost as much as the jubilant Millwall fans. Most had seen enough. This was by the worst display of the season, and hopefully the players will receive a severe rollicking. Millwall would understandable be fired up, but a more professional approach was required by the Town players. Admittedly, we would all rather play poorly tonight, and follow it up with a good result against Arsenal, but we now have a tough job to do at Portman Road next week, with a two goal deficit to overturn. We are by no means out of it yet, and some would argue it may not be a bad thing if we were, but the night belonged to Millwall. They worked extremely well as a unit and you can take nothing away from their victory. If we are honest, life has been a bit too rosy as a Town fan recently, and a bad performance like this is really overdue. It has served as a wake-up call, and let's face it; it's better to lose in a relatively unimportant match like this than in the league. It gives the player's something to think about, and should hopefully keep their feet on the ground.

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