since 1878

Fulham (1) 1 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Referee: M Riley

Manager: Unknown

Craven Cottage

Attendance: 17,221

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2915






 Luis BoaMorte (45)











Luis BoaMorte








Match Report

Town boosted by encouraging away point

A new-look Ipswich were held 1-1 at Fulham, in a game that neither team really created enough chances to justify a win. But the game was played in difficult conditions in South West London, and Town should be boosted by this very encouraging away point...

When it rains, it pours. And boy, did it pour today. Hundreds of Ipswich fans failed to make it for the 1pm kick-off after having to contend with floods that caused chaos on the A12. But those who did manage it to make it, were treated to a match that, while can never be described as a footballing extravaganza, wasn't short of incident either. In a see-saw game, Fulham found themselves one up after finishing with practically their first shot on goal. Things looked to have gone from bad to worse in the 27th minute, when Fulham won a penalty. Conceding again would surely have been the end of Town, but Boa Morte's comical miss proved the pivotal point in the match. Boa Morte was later shown the red card after diving in the area, and with a one-man advantage, Town grabbed a deserved equaliser through Jermaine Wright. Town fans were hoping that the blues could go on to push for a winner, but it wasn't to be. It has also come to light that Finidi George, who had to leave the pitch after only ten minutes, is set to miss two months after sustaining a fractured cheekbone. Nobody could have guessed the changes Burley was to make for this game. Marcus Stewart, who has been verbally critical of the Ipswich team since the Helsingsborgs game, was left on the bench as Alun Armstrong played as a lone striker. Sixto Peralta deservedly held the central midfield berth ahead of Magilton, and Clapham came in for Reuser. Chris Makin was also recalled, relegating Mark Venus too the bench. The match kicked off with neither team playing particularly well in the atrocious conditions. The flow of the game wasn't helped by a number of bad decisions from referee Mike Riley. It was after only ten minutes that Town had to reshuffle. Finidi George bravely challenged a Fulham attack, but clashed heads leaving him receiving treatment. However, it was obvious he couldn't continue, and Stewart was quickly introduced to the fray. I don't know if Ipswich had done something to upset Mike Riley, but he didn't seem to like us. He booked Peralta, Armstrong and Wilnis for absolutely nothing as the players struggled in the conditions. It was from the free kick conceded by Wilnis, that Fulham took the lead. An unmarked Barry Hales swept the ball home from only a few yards. So, another sloppy goal, and things didn't look to have changed at all. The team spirit quickly disappeared, and a comeback did not look on the cards. In fact, it looked even less likely when Riley punished Jon McGreal for ‘handling' in the area. It was a case of ball to hand, rather than hand to ball as it struck McGreal, but Riley was not in an understanding mood. But up stepped Boa Morte, to generously give some inspiration back to Town. His sweetly struck penalty went west, and was a great sight for sore eyes. It brightened up the damp day, and restored hope that our luck may be about to turn. In the 34th minute Mike Riley did his best for Fulham again, by somehow not sending off Boa Morte for punching Fabian Wilnis. A red card looked a formality after the Fulham Striker had struck Wilnis, but he only produced a yellow. I will be very interested to see how he justifies that in his report. He obviously saw it, as the player was booked, but it was red card offence. To be fair, at least he was being consistent. Consistently bad. As it turned out, Boa Morte's reprieve didn't last long. Not being happy at just striking Wilnis, he decided to try and win a penalty out of him just before half time. But his theatrical dive was something Riley couldn't ignore, and his second yellow card earnt him an early bath. It was another boost to Town, and there was a definite upbeat feeling at half time. We were still in a match that we could have lost. This new found optimism must have transferred to the players, as they came out and took the game to Fulham. After 54 minutes, Martijn Reuser, who had come on for Makin, produced a cross that Jermaine Wright drilled home past Van Der Sar. It was an exquisite finish from Jamma, who promises so much with his shooting, but usually fails to deliver. This time he made no mistake. We were all hoping that would kick start a Town avalanche on Fulham's goal, but it never came. Fulham were happy to sit back and soak up what we could throw at them, and in terms of real chances, that wasn't exactly much. The match fizzled out with neither team threatening the other's goal. I think Town can take heart from this game. A draw hardly helps us much in our points predicament, but it's a step in the right direction. Any point away from home is good, and many teams will come here and lose. We now have something to build on, and it should go a long way into restoring confidence. You never know, this could be our turning point. I was convinced we were going to lose today, so I'm pleased we've got something for our troubles. Losing Finidi is a big blow, and is something we could have done without, but we still have a good squad of players that can haul us up the table. Peralta again looked bright, and I believe he can play a very influential role in our season. It's still early days for him, but he's looking better and better.

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