since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 1 - 1 (1) Manchester United

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Referee: J Winter

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,007

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2857


 Fabian Wilnis 


P NevilleSilvestre






G Neville

P Neville














Match Report

United held in cracking game

Ipswich Town played their first eagerly awaited home game of the season this evening against the ‘mighty' Manchester United at Portman road. The match finished 1-1 in what was a cracking game, and sent the majority of fans home happy. Not only had they seen Town gain their first premier point, but had also seen their team more than match United on the night. Rather than holding them to a point, it was United who had held Ipswich to a point thanks to some great second half saves from their French 7.5 million summer signing Fabian Barthez. If most games at Portman Road this season are like this for entertainment, there will be few complaints come the end of the season. Few people, even the ever optimistic types like myself, expected anything from this game. Playing well despite losing against Tottenham was encouraging, but if we conceded three in that game, how many were we likely to give away against the likes of Giggs, Beckham, Cole and co. There was a surprise in the opening line up when Jamie Scowcroft had been replaced in the team by Jermanie Wright in a new look formation. With Reuser and Scowcroft both subs it seemed there was an awful lot of talent sitting on the bench. I suppose that is a good sign of the competition which now exists in midfield for the 1st team jerseys. Fabian Wilnis was also recalled, being preferred to Gary Croft. Venus had also kept his place, shrugging the ankle injury he picked up at Spurs. The noisy Portman Road crowd saw the players make an entrance to field of play amid a firework display which was reminiscent of the entrance seen at Wembley. Richard Wright had pleaded in the local press before the game not to give his new England chum Phil Neville stick over his Euro 2000 blunder. He need not have worried. It was Beckham who still takes the majority, and he had to endure the usual song about Posh's sexual preferences. There was however, a rendition of the very witty ‘If Neville can play for England so can I' echoing around the terraces. The match kicked off at a fast pace with Ipswich attacking Churchman's. It was Ipswich who drew first blood after 6 minutes with what was an excellently worked goal. Johnson held the ball well before feeding an advancing overlapping run from ‘Dutch raider' Wilnis. It caught the United defence completely cold. Wilnis, instead of belting the ball into the back of Churmans, surprisingly fired home coolly with the hapless Barzhez unable to do anything. The celebrations begun as Portman Road erupted ‘Bolton' style. To any of the national journalists who have in the past accused PR of lacking atmostphere, I hope you were there tonight. Even Alex Ferguson said after the game that the noisy made by 20,000 sounded more like 40,000. United slowly started to exert their control the game. Soon they were zipping the ball to each other in a very confident manor, and pinning Ipswich in their own half. All of a sudden Ipswich looked out of their depth. A Spurs Style collapse looked very much on the cards. Giggs stood out as he constantly found space skipping around the Ipswich back line. Ipswich did however, hold out until the 40th minute. Beckham floated in a free kick which somehow eluded everyone and everything including Wrighty's gloves. It again appeared to be another weak goal conceded. Beckham then ran towards the Ipswich fans to celebrate. I know he takes a bit of stick, but he does make life harder for himself when he does this. United nearly went behind just before half time when Dwight Yorke tried to punch the ball into the net. Bizarrely the player tried to claim a penalty from the challenge from venus. His protest went on after the whistle for half time, and he was booked on the way back to the changing rooms. The second half saw a much more confident Ipswich come out. Matty Holland was taken off (shock horror!) for what must be the first time in his Ipswich career and replace by Martijn Reuser. This gave Ipswich more creativity in midfeid, and soon it was Ipswich who were coming forward more strongly. Johnson was a constant threat, even out jumping Stam on a few occasions, while Clapham was having a much better game down the flank (mind you, if you can't beat Neville…). While Ipswich were attacking more, United were still very dangerous coming forward and Wright made one brilliant save from Beckham to keep Ipswich in it. Town's best effort came from a header from Johnson who saw Barthez save his goal bound effort. Magilton, Reuser and Stewart also all had good scoring opportunities to give what would have been a priceless victory, but there was always the feeling that all the good work could be undone again by careless defending. Not tonight. The defence held out magnificently, containing the league champions to a handful of shots. The final whistle was met with almost victory like celebrations. We did not win, and must remember that. We will only stay up if we win games. But I for one am now much more confident about our chances of suvival. It's not often you see Manchester United chasing the ball, and that is something they had to do for periods of the game tonight.

From The Terrace

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