since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 1 - 2 (2) Leeds United

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, February 3, 2001

Referee: P Jones

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,015

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2889


 Mark Venus 
 Mark Venus (og) 




 Marcus Stewart (74)


















Match Report

Stewart dismissal costs Town points

Town put in a heart-warming performance, despite this setback.

When it rains, it pours. Town's recent bad run continued at Portman Road, when they were beaten for the fourth game on the trot. The Blues went down 2-1 to Leeds United. However, unlike at Birmingham, Town did not deserve what they got, and must be wondering how on earth they were on the wrong end of the score line against a multi million pound outfit. I know I am. To add to our woes, Town were victims again to another disgraceful refereeing performance that included Marcus Stewart being bizarrely sent off, and with it practically ended any hope of the Blues getting what they deserved out of the game. Stewart is now likely to be suspended for three games, and Burley must be wondering when we are going to get a break from the men in black. I know it's all too easy to blame refs for defeats; most of the time they are the easy way to vent frustration. But Peter Jones made mistake after mistake, and his decision to send Stewart off was so bad, it was almost laughable. The damage was done in the first half, when somehow we found ourselves 2-0 down, despite looking the much more dangerous outfit. Town, playing with a 5-3-2 formation looked bright early on, much better than Wednesday night, and created some good chances. Gary Croft continued to deputise for the injured Wilnis, while Alun Armstrong returned to partner Stewart up front. Bramble also returned to form a central defensive trio with Veno and Hreidarsson. The referee was already becoming unpopular with some strange decisions. He gifted Leeds a free kick after Venus won the ball fairly. Fortunately the free kick came to nothing. Scummer reject Danny Mills started kicking anyone who came near him, but somehow the ref missed everything.

Stewart, Armstrong and Clapham all had shots well saved from Nigel Martyn, as Town dictated play. Leeds were reduced to playing on the break, and had hardly had a shot on target when they found themselves 1-0, courtesy of Mark Venus own goal. On a rare raid forward Lee Bowyer, whipped in a cross that should have been dealt with by either Venus or Wrighty. As Wright came forward, Veno put his foot in, and sliced it straight into his own net. It was a bitter blow, after playing so well, and it's hard to blame anyone. It just summed up the way things have been going for us lately. It was similar to the mix-up between Wright and Croft at Birmingham, and maybe Wrighty has got to be more authoritative and vocal in these situations, either claiming the ball himself, or leaving well alone. Either way, it gifted a goal to Leeds against the run of play. Despite the set back, Town continued to play confidently, and very nearly equalised with a lovely move. Scowcroft whipped in a great cross from the right channel, and Armstrong was free to score from close range. However, his weak shot hit Martyn, when it looked easier to score. With the clock ticking down toward half time, Leeds made it 2-0, after another defensive blunder. A Mills cross should have been cleared by Bramble, but the youngster missed the ball, and Keane slotted home close range. Town went in to the interval 2-0 down, when they should have been leading. Leeds must have been laughing, they had had one shot, and were leading 2-0. Burley decided to keep faith with the same eleven that started the game, and was rewarded with a gallant attempt of a come back. Town piled forward, but the resolute Leeds defence restricted Town to only a handful of clear-cut changes. Again, Town were hampered by ridiculous refereeing decisions, but in the 63rd minute, we were given some hope. Radebe upended Scowie, and Peter Jones saw fit to finally award us a free kick. Mark Venus hit one of his specials from 25 yards, and atoned for his earlier faux pas. It took a slight deflection on the way in, but it was another fine strike from the dead ball specialist. Just as hopes were raised of a possible comeback, Peter Taylor came up with his party piece, and sent Stewart off. Left back Harte skilfully turned Stewart, but the tenacious striker put in another quick challenge in an attempt to win the ball. There is no denying he caught Harte, and a free kick would have sufficed. However, Taylor consulted the lino, and went straight for red as Harte was wriggling around as if he had had both his legs broken. To give away a red straight away, means the ref thought Stewart deliberately went out to hurt Harte, which is ridiculous. While it was a fowl, even a yellow card would have been harsh. No one could believe it when Stewart was giving his marching orders for a run-of-the-mill challenge. Ian Harte then got up, and was fine. Funny that. Cheating git. Ipswich huffed and puffed for the final 15 minutes with 10 men, and nearly paid the price as they threw caution to the wind. Viduka put the ball in the net, but to the amusement of the Ipswich faithful, was adjudged off side. It was the about the only thing that went right for us on the day. While we lost, the players must hold their heads up; it was never going to be our day. But if we continue to play like that we will win more that we will lose. That's the second time I've seen us play Leeds this season, and we've looked a better team on both occasions. It is just a pity we didn't get anything from the game, as we now face a daunting trip to Highbury, and a fifth defeat will dent confidence further. As for the ref, I hope for his sake he doesn't come back to Portman Road for a long time.

From The Terrace

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