since 1878

Bradford City (0) 0 - 2 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, October 21, 2000

Referee: P Taylor

Manager: Unknown

Valley Parade

Attendance: 17,045

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2867


 Petrescu (og) 
 Jamie Clapham 





















Match Report

Town hit even dizzier heights

The Blue army marched on today to even dizzier heights as they overcame a poor Bradford City team at the Bradford and Bingley building site, otherwise as Valley parade. An own goal in the 1st half from Dan Petrescu helped Town on their way, and Jamie Clapham doubled the lead near the end with a lovely curling 25-yard free kick. It was nothing less than Town deserved, as another solid professional performance saw Ipswich dominate from start to finish. This was Town's third consecutive away victory, and possibly the most important, as it is these teams at the wrong end of the table we have to get results from if we are stay up. Currently though, we continue to defy the pundits, and the victory means we are up to 6th in the table, looking more likely for a European place than relegation. Ipswich started the match playing with the same line up which had been cruelly denied a victory against West Ham on Saturday, playing with the familiar 5-3-2 system. Mark Venus kept this place ahead of Titus Bramble, still recovering from the flu. Bradford were also unchanged after their defeat at Maine Road last week, although most Town fans were pleased to see Dean Saunders return for a place on the substitute bench. Ever-popular with Town fans for past penalty antics and fluky goals, the Welshman received a few ‘tributes' from sections of the Town supporters. Marcus Stewart proved equally popular, as he was welcomed back to Yorkshire by Bradford fans, who fondly remembered his scoring exploits for neighbours Huddersfield. The game started with Ipswich defending the goal which had the Town fans packed behind in the Symphony Stand, which can best be described as ‘odd'. Possibly one of the smallest 2-tier stands ever built, it is cramped between the pitch and Coronation Street style housing behind. Bradford's tactics immediately became clear as they closed down Ipswich well and did not let any Town player settle on the ball. However, the first real chance fell to Ipswich, when Marcus Stewart had a golden opportunity to silent the Bradford supporters who had been jeering him. Richard Naylor fed a good defence splitting ball through, and Stewart unleashed a vicious shot which flashed just wide of the keeper's right post. Good chances for both teams were few and far between, but it was Ipswich who were dominating proceedings with their free flowing football. Italian Benito Carbone was looking very frustrated, while Stuart McCall was booked after a couple of late challenges. Bradford's best chance fell to Narwich reject Ashley Ward. He stormed down the right channel, and while most of us were expecting him to square it, he fired a shot in from a tight angle. Fortunately Richard Wright saw it coming, and pulled off a good reflex save. In the 34th minute Ipswich took the lead. Holland broke down the left, and crossed a low ball into the Bradford penalty area. The ball was met by Romanian Petrescu, who while attempting to clear the ball, rather kindly deflected it into his own net. It was met by surprise from just about everyone, and it seemed to take a good five seconds for us Town fans to realise we had taken the lead. Even the Town players, apart from Holland, did not seem to celebrate initially. It was a case of De-ja-Vue for hapless Bradford. They had given a similar gift to Southampton in the their last home game. After the goal, frustrated Bradfordians began to vent their frustration on the team. They now looked disjointed and directionless, and it was Ipswich who were perhaps the most disappointed to only be leading 1-0 at the half time break. Stewart so nearly gave Town a second, after great work from Jermaine Wright. I seem to have said this so often, but the boy is still looking better every game. He was celebrating his birthday today, and was putting in another great performance. Half time: Bradford 0, Ipswich 1. The second half saw a much more determined Bradford team come out and play with more urgency, no doubt after receiving a severe rollicking along with their half time cuppa. Town were immediately under the cosh, as Bradford had their first spell of real pressure. Carbone went wide with a 20-yard shot, while Lawrence had a good run into box thwarted. The Town defence held out each time though, and soon Ipswich were able to settle, and assert their authority once more. In the 64th minute, Town fans had the biggest scare of the game when McCall had a cracking goal bound effort brilliantly saved by Wrighty. The ball looked destined for the top corner, but Wright once again showed why he is highly rated. Town fans were by now begining to get nervy, as it looked once again we were about to chuck away a one nil lead. David Johnson replaced Marcus Stewart, and immediately he looked lively. He energetically put himself about, and was so unlucky not to get his first league game of the season. Jamie Clapham, looking more effective after Town had resorted to a 4-4-2 system centred a good cross which found Johnson, who powered a header towards the goal. It looked a certain goal, but somehow Matt Clarke managed to tip it onto the woodwork. The game was settled when Jamie Clapham curled a free kick into the goal after 88 minutes. Clapham was fowled himself, and we all expected Mark Venus to thunder a shot in. But it was Clapham himself who fancied a go, and duly despatched a corker which David Beckham would have been proud of. The goal sent the Ipswich fans wild as we could now celebrate another wonderful result. Once again the home fans flocked away in their droves before the end. It seems to be a new Ipswich trait now, that by the final whistle at away games, we are always playing in half empty stadiums! This was a very important result against a team we should definitely finish above. While we have always managed to raise our game for the ‘biggys', this game showed that Burley has moulded a committed team that looks determined to win every time they play. This was not our best performance by a long way, but it was never going to be easy against a team that knew if they have any chance of staying up, they must win at home to teams like us. They were unable to do so, and in the end Ipswich looked miles ahead of Bradford, a team which broke Suffolk hearts 18 months ago when pipping us to promotion. Maybe that extra season in the 1st division did us more good than we realised. Bradford should perhaps consider playing their mascot, ‘City Gent'. Bizarrely, this mascot is a fat Dean Saunders look alike wearing a bowler hat, and holds a brief case and umbrella, while sporting his City strip. He could do no worse than the real Dean Saunders.

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