since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 1 (0) Wigan Athletic

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Referee: Richard Beeby

Manager: Joe Royle

Portman Road 19:45

Attendance: 28,286

Manager: Paul Jewell

Match Number: 3085


 Richard Naylor (66)
 Darren Bent (89)
 Baines (57)


TealeGraham (78)
MahonWright (80)























Match Report

Bent takes Ipswich to the top

Striker Darren Bent took Ipswich to the top of the table last night when they leapfrogged last night's opponents thanks to his 89th-minute goal at Portman Road.

Both teams showed that they have the class to make it to the Premiership and when Wigan took the lead in the 56th minute following a stunning long-range shot from Leighton Baines it looked as though the visitors would stretch their lead at the top.

But Ipswich hit back in the 66th minute through defender Richard Naylor and with time running out sent their fans home happy thanks to Bent's goal.

Both defences played well in an entertaining contest and Wigan, who did the double over Ipswich last season, were left shattered at the final whistle when they thought they had done enough to capture at least a point.

Both teams showed quality expected of the better teams in the division with a full throttle opening to a game that was played with a mist swirling round the ground.

Wigan, with much more money to spend than their impoverished hosts, made the better start and Jason Roberts could have scored three times in the opening 11 minutes.

In the fifth minute he beat Naylor to a cross and centred low where Gary Teale had only home goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to beat. Davis came out well to block the shot to the relief of the near capacity home crowd of 28,286.

A minute later Roberts's pace took him beyond Matt Richards and Davis had to save again, this time in more comfort.

As the match progressed in a high tempo a cross by full back Baines in the 11th minute was met by Roberts who sent a powerful header just wide.

After this Ipswich, with an unbeaten home record, took the upper hand although they always had to be aware when Wigan counter attacked with menace.

After 29 minutes neat play by Darren Currie - making his Ipswich full debut - saw Bent run for goal from the halfway line. He cut inside but missed the target with his left foot.

And with five minutes left of the first period Shefki Kuqi sold a perfect dummy to Baines following a lob forward by Tommy Miller. Kuqi motored towards goal but blasted over the bar from an angle.

Two minutes later the Finland international headed a cross by Currie beyond the post from close range as Ipswich remained on top until the interval.

The home team resumed control after the break and when John Filan saved from Currie neither Bent nor Kuki could net the rebound in the 53rd minute.

A minute later full-back Fabian Wilnis joined in the fun as Ipswich continued to push forward sending a scorching effort just wide.

However, in the 56th minute Wigan stunned Ipswich with scored a magnificent goal.

Baines, who was sent off in the corresponding fixture last season, picked up a loose ball and let fly from 35 yards giving Davis no chance.

However, Ipswich were in no mood to surrender and 10 minutes later they equalised.

Ian Westlake was fouled, and from Currie's free-kick Naylor back-headed the ball beyond the reach of Filan and into the net for his fourth goal of the season.

Wigan took the ascendancy as the game went into the final stages, but Ipswich had the last say when they scored what could turn out to be a valuable goal.

Miller pumped a long ball forward in the final minute of normal time and when Kuqi challenged Ian Breckin the ball ran loose in the penalty area where Bent was to it like a flash to nip ahead of Matt Jackson and loop the ball over Filan and into the net.

In the final minute of stoppage time Kuqi had an effort saved by Filan as Ipswich finished the stronger.

Richard Bright (Daily Telegraph)

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