since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 1 - 1 (0) Arsenal

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, September 23, 2000

Referee: P Durkin

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,030

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2863
























Match Report

Bergkamp equaliser denies Ipswich second home win

Town were held at home by Arsenal, after a late Dennis Bergkamp strike ruled out a 48th minute Marcus Stewart goal. The Blues can feel hard done by, after dominating the game against the big spenders, and should really have had the game sewn up before the undeserved equaliser. After the midweek shock of losing to Millwall in the Worthless Cup, where Burley accused his players of being star struck, the lads today rolled up their sleeves and dished out another tremendous premier performance against one of the country's top teams. Ipswich took to the field with only one change to the side that played at Leeds. Mark Venus was recalled to replace the Jon Mcgreal in the heart of defence. Arsenal, playing with a strike force alone worth £29 million, were unable to find room for the exciting Kanu, while Patrick Vieira was suspended for one of his many recent sending offs. Paulo Vernazza, the young chappie who came to Portman Road on loan two seasons ago, but was unable to make any real impression, was also in the Gunner's squad. The match kicked off with Ipswich attacking the preferred south stand in the first half. However, it was Arsenal who actually did all the early attacking, and won a couple of corners before Ipswich had even won a ball. Another hammering by the Gunners looked on the cards, as they appeared to start in the same vein they had finished their midweek European Champion's League game. New-found prolific goal scorer Martin Keown came closest, having his shot blocked by Hreidersson. The other token English outfield player, Ray Parlour was also looking dangerous with some good runs from midfield. As the half wore on, Ipswich began to settle, but chances for both teams became few and far between. Town could not find there passing football, while Arsenal, after their bright start, were unable to exert any superiority. Ipswich should have taken the lead after 40 minutes, when the best chance of the game so far fell to Titus Bramble. A Town corner produced a goal mouth scramble. The ball was cleared, but only as far Mighty Titus. He smacked the ball towards the goal like a bullet. It unfortunately hit Vivas square in the face, who really did not know too much about it. I expect he thought it was unfortunate too, despite not conceding a goal. The first half finished with the home crowd applauding their men as they made their way to the tunnel. They may not have been winning, but after a slow start, did not look outclassed by their more illustrious opponents. Half time: Ipswich 0, Arsenal 0. The second half began, and soon Ipswich took the lead. A cross from Holland caught the famous Arsenal offside trap completely square, as Marcus Stewart found himself in acres of space. It looks like Wenger will have to show his defenders The Full Monty video in an effort to improve things in this department. Stewart, then showed his confidence by ‘showboating' his goal. While 20,000 were expecting him to head the ball in the net, he cleverly sent Seaman the wrong way by flicking the ball in with his shoulder! Obviously a well-perfected move on the training pitch, Stewart could set a trend up and down the country with this new technique. The goal set Portman road alight, and seemed to breathe confidence into team. Instead of sitting on the lead, it was Town were now finding more space and coming forward wave after wave. Arsenal attempted to commit men forward, but every time they lost possession, Ipswich were able to counter attack with pace. It looked like we were the multi-million pound team, not the North London outfit. Richard Naylor was given a superb reception when he replaced Jamie Scowcroft up front. The ginger striker's return was welcomed by everyone, as he took to the field for the first time since his Wembley goal and summer knee operations. He almost made a dream start to life in the premier league, when after being put through by Jamma, was clean through on goal. He took the ball down well, but unlike at Wembley, fired his shot inches wide. It was a marvellous chance, which would have put Town in a commanding 2-0 lead. The chance was Naylor's first touch since coming on, and really came too early. Most forgave him for his error. Ipswich again sliced the Arsenal defence wide open after some good work by Clapham down the left. Stewart headed on to Naylor, who again looked certain to nod home from a few yards. His glancing header had Seaman well beaten, but he did not get quite enough on it to guide it home. It flashed just wide of the left post. By this time it all seemed a bit too easy. But after watching your team miss chance after chance you often begin to wonder whether or not you will later regret them. This was predictably the case, as after 86 minutes, Arsenal undeservedly found the equaliser. A shot from Henry was parried by Wright, but not cleared sufficiently by the Town Defence. The ball fell to Dennis Bergkamp, who belted the ball into the back of the net. It was a cool finish by the Dutchman, and gave the previously silent Gunners fans an opportunity to wake up and burst into life for a few brief moments. With 5 minutes remaining we feared an Arsenal finish reminiscent of the one we saw on telly a few days ago. I expect they intended to pressurise for a grand finale, but it was Town who looked stronger towards the end. Henry nearly scored with an attempted lob straight after the goal, but that was to be their last goal attempt. To summarise, this can be seen as a good point against top quality opposition. Before the game I would have settled for a point. It means that from two very hard games, Leeds away and Arsenal at home, we have gained 4 precious points. However, it's still disappointing to have been so close a deserved victory, and only get a point. Earlier in the year I did not think I would be in the position of saying how disappointed I was at not beating Arsenal after watching us out play them. Oh, how things have changed.

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