since 1878

Middlesbrough (0) 0 - 0 (0) Ipswich Town

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Referee: D Pugh

Manager: Unknown

Riverside Stadium

Attendance: 32,586

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2922

























Match Report

Town stay rooted to foot of table

Ipswich Town stay rooted to the foot of the Premier League table tonight, after being held by Middlesbrough in a goalless draw at the Riverside...

Another good performance by Town failed to produce the much-needed win to take us out of the bottom three. Again Ipswich dominated proceedings for most of the match and created the better chances, but once again lacked the vital cutting edge to take all three points. Twice the woodwork came to Boro's rescue, and we were also denied what looked like the most blatant penalty you'll ever see. However, we should take heart another solid performance, and what was our second successive clean sheet. In fact, if our need for points wasn't so crucial, this would have been a very creditable away point that we could take much more pleasure in. Burley kept faith with the majority of the team that beat Inter Milan, but he did reward Alun Armstrong with a place in the starting line up. And new £3 million striker Marcus Bent was given his debut, surprisingly ahead of Counago and Naylor. The first half was a fairly lively affair, but without too much in the way of good chances. Middlesbrough started brightly, and had their best period of match in the opening ten minutes. Alen Boksic was looking the most dangerous for the home team, and along with Marinelli and Greening, had efforts on goal. But the Ipswich defence held firm, with Bramble and Venus standing out. Having weathered the early storm, Ipswich began to create a few good chances of their own. Clapham, not long ago a Boro target, was enjoying his recall to the team, and caused problems with his crosses. He even went close with a shot from the edge of the area, but the ball flew wide. After a slow start Marcus Bent was beginning to show his speed and power, and in the 33rd minute was brought down by Southgate as he chased a through ball. It was a clear penalty, but somehow the referee didn't see it, and waved play on. I'm not surprised really, decisions like that just aren't going for us at the moment. 9 out 10 refs would have blown for it, but typically, we get the one who wouldn't. Veno so nearly scored with one of his blaster free kicks, but the ball took a deflection and just missed the target. Boro were also looking dangerous on the break, and nil-nil was perhaps a fair score at half time. In the second half, the chances continued for come for both teams, and you'd never have imagined the game would end up goalless. Peralta fired into the side netting, and Clapham had a free kick saved brilliantly by the veteran Mark Crossley. At the other end Sereni was called upon to make a good double save from Marinelli and Boksic. Midway through the second half Burley brought Counago on for the tiring Armstrong, and Naylor on for Bent in the search for a goal. The change nearly paid dividends when the two combined, and Counago powered in a shot that had Crossley easily beaten. But for the second league match in a row, the Spaniard had to watch his shot cannon off the upright. Tommy Miller came on for Peralta, making his Premier League debut. He made some good touches, and didn't look nervous. With five minutes to go, Big Herman nearly sent the Town fans home on their long journey happy. He rose unmarked and headed a Jermaine Wright corner downwards and goal bound, but typically his effort smacked the post. Herman should really have made no mistake, as it was a free header and a golden opportunity. The final whistle was blown, with neither set of supporters particularly thrilled with a point. But as games go, this was one of the more entertaining nil-nillers you'll see. Overall, the players should be pleased with the way they played. This was a good performance, and with a just a tiny bit of luck (are we EVER going to get any?), it would have been a victory. The team continued to play positive football, and I'm sure there was an emphasis on being more direct than normal- both Clapham and Hreidarsson were crossing with much more regularity. It didn't have the desired effect today, but chances were created against one of the recently meaner defences. Marcus Bent looked the part as well. It wouldn't be fair to be too critical on this performance, as he was thrown straight in at the deep end. But he was more than useful on his debut, and I'm sure soon his teammates will develop more understanding with him and use his quickness and power to devastating effect. It's very frustrating that we didn't get that elusive win, as we did deserve it. Instead a draw means we are now occupying the basement position in the Premier League. But that's what you get when you don't win a game in twelve attempts. Even so, hopefully this point does represent another sign that the tide is turning, and if we keep playing like this, we will win more than we lose. Today has seen us play another team we should be above, not below in the table. At least now the only way is up! From The Terrace

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