since 1878

Ipswich Town (2) 2 - 1 (0) Middlesbrough

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, October 28, 2000

Referee: N Barry

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 21,771

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2868

























Match Report

Town up to fifth

Another polished performance from Town saw Town triumph at Portman Road. A 2-1 victory puts the Blues up to 5th in the Premier League.

It's all looking a bit too easy at the moment isn't it? Ipswich today notched up a well deserved and slightly overdue second home win of the season, this time sending Middlesbrough home with their tails firmly between their legs. Today a hard fought 2-1 victory was gained at a rain lashed Portman Road. Goals from Richard Naylor and Mark Venus gave Town a two-goal lead after a scintillating first half performance, when the Blues threatened to run riot. A deflected second half goal from Dean Gordon gave Boro some hope, and made it a rather nervy final 20 minutes, but they really looked like denying Town another three points, which moved us up to fifth in the table. ‘We're all going on the European tour' was the chant coming from the North stand. Either there were a lot of confident golfers in the Portman Road crowd, or expectations are starting to rise! While the tongue in cheek chant is somewhat optimistic, the early fears of relegation are looking more remote with every game. There were no changes to the Ipswich starting eleven, with George Burley keeping faith with the team that beat Bradford. That meant Mark Venus keep his place ahead of Titus Bramble, and Richard Naylor was also preferred in front of David Johnson and James Scowcroft. Middlesbrough were unable to bring Alen Bocsek or Ugo Ehigou back due to injury. Town started the game attacking the favoured South stand, and immediately they began to thread the ball around the boro players in their normal slick fashion. From almost the first kick they looked superior in most departments, with Boro looking committed to defending. Good chances for Town came at a hectic rate, but unfortunately they all went begging. Stewart was denied after a couple of times, and Matt Holland came the closest. He watched his powerful header cannon off the post, with Mark Crossley well beaten. Despite this positive start, the best chance of the game actually fell to Boro, after a momentary lapse of concentration. A defence splitting ball was passed to Columbian Striker Hamilton Ricard. He found himself bearing down on goal, with only Richard Wright to beat. When looking certain to score, instead of shooting, he decided to side foot the ball safely back to Wrighty. It was a perfectly weighted ball any defender would have been proud of, and Wright gratefully gathered the ball in his hands, while 22,000 fans chuckled in relief. Town continued to dominate, and finally got the breakthrough after 25 minutes. A long ball looked to have put Matt Holland through, as he raced forward. Keeper Crossley made the decision to run forward and try to clear the ball. Bearing in mind his kicking throughout the game was atrocious, this was possibly not the wisest decision he has ever made. He got to the ball first, but scuffed his clearance, and it fell to Richard Naylor, who was about 40 yards out. He took a couple of touches, and coolly lobbed the balled into the back of the unguarded net. It was good to see Psycho get his first goal of the season, and hopefully it will do his confidence the world of good. Confidence among the Town ranks were now sky high, as they began to play Middlesbrough of the park. They were toying with the North Eastern big spenders, and it was no surprise when a second goal was added. Town won a free kick outside the box after Naylor had been hauled down. From the edge of the area, it was Mark Venus who stepped up for one of his power specials. He hit the ball hard and low towards the keeper's right post, and into the back of the net. It was the second stunning free kick in as many games, and gave us all the chance to relax a bit, as the game wound down for half time. After 33 minutes Brian Robson showed his ‘managerial astuteness' by bizarrely replacing Ricard with Noel Whelan. Ok, the Columbian had missed a sitter, but he could hardly be blamed for his team's 2-0 deficit, something that Robbo seemed to be doing. Ricard then reacted by badly by heading straight to the dressing room, and by doing so, failed to shake the on-coming Whelan's hand. All in all, it seemed to sum up the team spirit, or lack of it, around the troubled club. Half time: Ipswich 2, Middlesbrough 0. The game continued with Ipswich dominating the game, and Wilnis showed his attacking qualities when he raced down the left, and centred a good ball, which unfortunately no one managed to get on the end of. Holland also fired a shot that went only inches above the bar. However, you could sense that Ipswich were once more sitting on the lead, and gradually Boro found themselves more possession, and stringing together some good passing movements, which had Town on the back foot. After 67 minutes Boro won a free kick in a similar position to where Venus converted his 1st half effort. Dean Gordon stepped up, and thanks to a wicked deflection which had Richard Wright diving the wrong way, watched his effort sail into the back of the net. It was harsh on Town, who until that point had been defending admirably. It woke up the silent Boro fans, who after watching their team look dead and buried, could now see a way back into the game. A tension swept across Portman Road, as the home fans envisaged another lead at home being thrown away. Boro pushed forward, but were unable to create many clear-cut chances of any note. Frenchman Karembeu, who in the 1st half had looked the best Boro player on show, displayed his Gaelic instincts, by slapping Jermanine Wright. He was lucky not to get sent off, as referee Neale Barry felt a good talking to would suffice. It was a bad tempered end to the game, as challenges went in hard from two determined teams. The final whistle was met with relief from the home support, happy to see their team finally kill off a team at Portman Road. Town are now showing that as well as playing good football they are also capable of battling hard, and grinding out results. After a good 1st half, they showed in the second half they will not always cave in under a bit of pressure. As for Boro, days look to be numbered for Robbo. His team looked second best in every department, and although he has key injuries at the moment, they do not look like a team that will finish in the top half of the table.

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