since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 2 - 2 (2) Chelsea

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Referee: J Winter

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,237

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2880

























Match Report

Town fight back against Chelsea

Ipswich earn a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at home, despite going 2-0 down early on.

Town came back from two goals down to earn a draw against Chelsea, in a very entertaining clash at Portman Road. Big spenders Chelsea had stunned the Boxing Day crowd, when they stormed into a commanding two-goal lead, after some clinical finishing from Gudjohnsen. But Town gave their fans some Christmas joy by battling back, thanks to strikes from James Scowcroft and Marcus Stewart. In the end, we left the ground wondering how on earth we had managed not to take all three points, after chance after chance went begging. But realistically, you have to be happy with a point after having to overcome a two-goal deficit, and looking well out of it after only twenty minutes. Many teams would not have come back. Before the season started, this match against the star-studded big spenders was perhaps one of the more eagerly awaited fixtures of the season. Since then, Chelsea have struggled all season, while Town have surprised everyone, even their own fans. It felt a little strange then, when travelling to the game, that the prospect of this game now seemed to have the attraction of ordinary game against Bury or Port Vale. Anything other than a win against the mid table West Londoners would be considered a poor result. But you only have to read their team sheet to see that they have some top quality players, and it would be foolish to ever write them off. They proved this when, despite never actually looking a dangerous team, they scored a couple of quick goals against the run of play, thanks to quality crossing and lethal finishing. Town lined up with influential pass master Jim Magilton missing through injury. Scowie took his place in midfield, with Alun Armstrong starting his first game in a Town shirt. Titus Bramble was surprisingly preferred to McGreal in defence, while Hreidarsson replaced Gary Croft. The Blues started passing the ball around well, and there were few signs that we were about to give Chelsea a couple of Christmas gifts. Twice in the first 20 minutes, Eidur Gudjohnsen scored from almost identical positions from rare Chelsea raids. You can blame poor marking in the box, particularly for the second, but the clinical Gudjohnsen made no mistake when the chances came along. But rather than getting despondent, Town rolled up there sleeves, and went about the task of getting back into the game. Yet again, we witnessed the Blues easily out pass another team full of big money foreign imports. The pressure was being piled on, and finally it's dividends were repaid when Scowie halved the deficit just before half time. Fabian Wilnis looped over a cross, which found Scowie perfectly to head powerfully past De Goey. The goal set up an exciting second half, and while we expected Town to come out all guns blazing, it was Chelsea who looked more composed after the break. But gradually, The Blues began to exert their authority once more. It began to look as like the equaliser would never come, despite the domination, as nothing seemed to fall right for Town in the Box. But thankfully in the 82nd minute Marcus Stewart gave the Portman Road faithfully some festive cheer. He superbly volleyed a Scowie cross to send the home crowd into raptures. Town almost won it when Martin Reuser looked certain to score. He had beaten De Goey, but the ball was cleared on the line, after good work from Clapham. Overall, this must be considered a point won rather than two dropped, after going two down. Town were clearly the better team, and came back well when other teams' heads may have dropped. A win would have pushed us back to 3rd, but Town are learning in the Premiership that every team has quality players, and Chelsea showed glimpses of what they could be capable of. It was also reassuring to see that Town can still perform without Jim Magilton. The Northern Ireland international has kept the Ipswich midfield ticking over all season with his slick passing. He was missing today, but the Blues showed they can still be just as an effective passing unit without him. There were good performances all round, and while we did not get the desired victory, the performance once again reiterated that we are at home in the Premiership.

From The Terrace

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