since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 3 - 0 (0) Crystal Palace

Division 1 1998-99

Saturday, October 3, 1998

Referee: S Mathieson

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 16,837

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2762
























Match Report

Town go 5th after win over Palace

A performance like this should convince Ipswich Town supporters that they follow a side capable of staying in the promotion frame.

Palace seemed keen to provide a brand of `total football' that the Dutch introduced many years ago. They were flexible enough but suffered from a lack of understanding of a system new to them. Furthermore language barriers cannot have helped.

Town fans were treated to a display of some quality even though the match produced eight bookings, all coming by the 56th minute. If referee Mathieson had remained consistent throughout both teams might have been dramatically reduced.

Perhaps there were so many mistimed challenges because there were so many skilful players on view although some might suggest that Palace had a cynical approach. The match, though, is best remembered for Town's three goals and some bright build-up play that might have brought their tally to five or six.

Ipswich were unable to break through until two minutes and 41 seconds into the time added on for stoppages before the interval.

David Johnson, carrying his lively September form into October, led Palace a merry dance. He was brought down by Paul Warhurst as he burst through the inside-left channel.

"A penalty, but a needless one." was the verdict of Palace boss Terry Venables. Certainly Johnson would have done well to find a way past Fraser Digby from where he fell.

Mark Venus, having had his only previous spot kick for the club saved at Exeter in August, decided to blast a left footer high into the roof of the net to end the jinx that has seen failure from the spot in six of the previous seven attempts. He produced the sort of power that would have impressed even Ted Phillips, the Ipswich penalty king of the fifties and early sixties.

Venables complained that play should have been stopped in the build-up when James Scowcroft appeared to have fouled Sagi Burton. "The referee was going to do something about it, ran towards the spot, but then waved play on," said the Palace boss.

A one goal lead is never enough for comfort and Palace started to gamble for the final 27 minutes with Bruce Dyer up front alongside the Swede, Matt Svensson.

The new formation left them vulnerable and in the 82nd minute came an Ipswich goal that was the most spectacular seen at Portman Road for many a long day and a contender for goal of the season.

Matt Holland was brave in midfield and won a crucial challenge before sending Mauricio Taricco on a surging burst down the right from inside his own half. The Argentinian saw the Palace defence open up in front of him as he cut into the penalty area and unleashed a rising right foot drive that clipped the underside of the bar on its way into the net.

Digby was well beaten and the Palace defenders will, no doubt, be in the Selhurst Park dressing room this morning, together with their interpreters, to sort out what went wrong.

Part of the problem for Palace was the sheer speed of Taricco with the ball at his feet. It was estimated that he carried it 56 yards in just under seven seconds. That's some going.

Ipswich brought on Alex Mathie for Scowcroft late on, perhaps as a ploy to waste a few more seconds.

As it turned out Mathie's fresh legs were just what were needed to punish the Palace defence still further. Firstly he forced a diving save from Digby after a penetrating pass from Mick Stockwell.

Then Mathie combined with Johnson to drill home Town's third goal and his own second of the season. No doubt this will be noted by Reading boss Tommy Burns who wants to boost his front line but seems to have Gareth Taylor of Sheffield United as his prime target at the moment. Perhaps news of Mathie's lively contribution will lead to another offer from the Royals. Although Mathie likes Ipswich, he also wants regular first team football and would welcome interest from elsewhere.

Palace used their skipper Attilio Lombardo, normally a wide player, in central midfield. Sasa Curcic, the Serb, may have had other things on his mind because he was given a wide role and was seldom able to impose himself on the game.

Richard Wright never had much to do. There was a scare for Ipswich in each half.

In the 37th minute Lombardo robbed Stockwell who thought he had been fouled. The referee ruled otherwise and the Italian's though ball resulted in a moment's hesitation between Wright and Venus that almost let in Svensson. The Town keeper won possession at the second attempt.

Then in the 85th minute, with Ipswich already two up, Wright blocked a sizzling drive from Bruce Dyer.

Digby was always busy. He brought off some smart saves and recovered well in the 53rd minute when he slipped on the goalline and still managed to turn a header from Scowcroft round the post one-handed.

Johnson, so unselfish, chased a glorious defence-splitting pass from Stockwell after 63 minutes but Digby dived to block the low shot and Craig Foster completed the clearance.Defensively Ipswich had Venus as the strong and reliable type with Taricco making many vital interceptions and using the ball well.

Clapham, with Curcic a potential threat, looked more sound in his defensive role but Manuel Thetis leaves a few question marks with his impetuosity.

In midfield Stockwell, the old warhorse, showed good vision for the long pass. Kieron Dyer, who took a nasty knock on his ankle from Svensson early on, did enough to earn praise from Venables while Holland took the prize for tenacity. Petta underlined the limitations of football in China as he taunted Zhiyi.

Up front Johnson simply buzzed. Scowcroft was always a threat but seemed to be getting a bit uptight towards the end when coolness needed to be the order of the day.

Ipswich put new boy Paulo Vernazza on the bench but the loan signing from Arsenal was not required. He can expect an outing for the reserves at Fulham on Wednesday.

Result: Ipswich 3, Crystal Palace 0

East Anglian Daily Times

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