since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 2 - 0 (0) Everton

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Referee: G Poll

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,220

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2891






 Alex Nyarko (71)





Alex Nyarko






Abel Xavier







Match Report

Barren spell ends

Goals from Holland and Armstrong give Town their first win since January 14th.

Ipswich brought their recent baron spell to an end at Portman Road, when they beat Everton 2-0 (again, finely predicted by myself in my match preview), and with it, completed their first double of the season. It was a case of another Ipswich late show, as Town fans had to wait until the final 10 minutes before the deadlock was broken. Just as it looked like we were heading for a goalless stalemate, up popped Matty Holland, and scored with a peach of a shot. Moments later it was Alun Armstrong who made the game safe, with an unstoppable header. As expected, Ipswich lined up with Celtic loanee Mark Birchill having to take up the unenviable task of replacing Marcus Stewart. But what an impact the youngster made. He had been described as speed merchant, but in all honesty, this is almost an underestimation. The Scottish international was responsible for creating the both goals, and was a constant threat to the Everton defence, snapping at their heels constantly. Also back in the line up was Jon McGreal and Fabian Wilnis. In the early stages of the game, it was looking as if Town were set to run riot, as they piled forward. Holland saw a header blaze wide, and Clapham saw his shot charged down by Gerrard. But the biggest talking point came when Burchill had a penalty claim turned down. The Everton defence were having trouble getting to grips with Birchill's pace, and he pounced on a back pass. After steeling the ball in front of Gerrard, the Everton keeper bundled the striker down, well inside the box. It was the clearest penalty you will ever see, as clear contact was made. To everyone's dismay, the ref waved play on. It was a comical decision from Graham Poll, and one that looked like it would cost dearly. Everton gradually started to play themselves back into the game, and to be fair, looked the better team towards the end of the 1st half. They surprised me with the their style, passing the ball around in a manner that belied their lowly league position. Unlike many teams that come to Portman Road these days, they showed they were willing to attack in numbers, and to the frustration of the crowd, kept Town on the back foot. Gravesen probably had the best of their chances, firing wide twice, from almost the same position. To be honest, while both teams were being positive, neither team actually looked like scoring, and it was a rather forgettable first half. Another Titus Bramble ‘special' woke the crowd up just before the whistle. His run rampaged through the heart of the Everton defence, and after finally being disposed in the box, he won the ball back, fed it to scowcroft, but Scowie couldn't direct his shot goal bound. Burley made an immediate change at the start of the second half, bringing on Alun Armstrong for Fabian Wilnis. Scowie reverted to midfield, and Jamma took up a wingback position. Wilnis had had little impact on the game after his recent lay-off, and in all fairness looked rusty. The change had a positive effect, and Town began to dominate proceedings once more. However, the game was finely balanced, and while trying to attack, Town had to be wary of Everton breaking. It looked like it was going to be another frustrating afternoon, as it didn't look like either team were going to break the deadlock. Burley went for the jugular with about 15 minutes to go, bringing on the Dutch duo of Reuser and Abidallah. It was Abidallah's first taste of Premiership action, and the highly rated Dutch youngster was given a rousing reception as he trotted on. In the 70th minute, Town's cause was helped when Everton were reduced to 10 men. Titus Bramble, while charging down the field in his familiar style, was halted when he had his legs taken away by Nyarko. It was not the worse tackle you have ever seen, but it was a cynical tackle that was designed to do nothing more than bring the flowing Bramble to his knees. Having already been issued with a yellow, a second yellow was followed with a red. Perhaps a little harsh, it is the first thing to go in our favour from the men in black for quite a while. Having a man extra can so often work against you, but fortunately it gave Town the inspiration they needed to start a final onslaught. Town brought relief all round when they eventually took the lead. Burchill instigated the attack, by whipping in a cross to Holland. Struggling to control the ball, Holland headed the ball downward into the ground, before despatching the rising ball with a corker, that gave Gerrard no chance. Moments later, the game was safe. Martin Reuser, who was again looking impressive (is he ever going to be given a run in the team?) picked out Burchill with a lovely ball. Burchill then centred for Armstrong, who squarely headed home from 6 yards. It was a great move, and deserved a goal. The Everton fans headed home in their droves before the final whistle, in a manner reminiscent of the way they piled out the game at Goodison with 20 minutes to go. Are they not aware a game of football is 90 minutes long? The Town fans were able to enjoy a relaxing end to the game, and with it our first win for quite a while. To summarise, this was not one of Town's more impressive home performances- we probably played better when we lost at home to Leeds- but the result was all-important. The boys managed to grind out a victory against a hard working Everton team that looked like they have more than enough survive from relegation. They can count themselves a bit unlucky, but it's time we had a controversial refereeing decision go in our favour. Despite the recent spate injuries, we proved we do have a squad of players who can still compete. And with players such as Abidallah coming through, the future looks bright. As for Burchill, he's got to be my man of the match. At times he looked a bit rusty, but when you consider he has not started a 1st team match for a while, has come straight into a Premier League match with players he does not know, he has done remarkably well. He will only get better, and I can't wait to see more of him. And to think I was worried we would miss Marcus Stewart. He may soon have to fight for his place!

From The Terrace

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