since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 3 - 1 (1) Bradford City

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Sunday, March 4, 2001

Referee: A Durso

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 21,820

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2892























Match Report

Second half spectacular saves Town

Phew! What a relief. A storming second half comeback saved Town from an embarrassing result at home to Bradford, in front of a live Sky TV audience. It was a match that could almost be described as the Martijn Reuser show, as the Dutch playmaker finally grabbed his chance in the first team, and scored two stunning goals to rescue the game. The Blues had found themselves earlier trailing to a Benito Carbone strike. The match has already triggered what is being termed the ‘Reuser' debate, as the fan's favourite again proved he is a natural match winner of the highest quality, and his omission for much of the season has now got fans asking questions. While he sometimes doesn't always see enough of the ball, he clearly has that special ability to win matches. I have personally always sung Reuser's praises, and have been calling for Burley to give him a chance for yonks. Needless to say, I'm chuffed to bits about his match winning performance. While George Burley has made it clear in recent months he wants to sign a new attacking midfielder for the club, Reuser has made the point in the strongest possible manner, that the club already have one. Back to the match, and Town can congratulate themselves on job very well done. Before the game, we were saying the worse thing we can do today is concede the first goal to Bradford, as they will shut up shop immediately, and make it very hard for us to get back in the game. Well, almost predictably, despite dominating the game, Town did exactly that, and found themselves 1-0 down thanks to a Benito Carbone special. Bradford won a free kick, and Carbone curled the ball past an outstretched Wright, and gave the Bantams an unexpected and welcome goal. The talented Italian's shot was perfectly placed, but the lack of pace on the ball had Town fans questioning Wright's positioning before the strike. I think it was a great goal, not your fault Wrighty. Bradford did defend in numbers as predicted, doing everything to protect their precious lead, and succeeded in frustrating the Ipswich team. The Blues did create several chances, but most attacks were stifled by the way Bradford flooded their own penalty area. The first half finished, and Town fans were glumly predicting a negative outcome. When the teams trotted out for the second half, the question on most people's mind was how Burley was going to change things around. I suspected that he might take Reuser off, as he had had a relatively quiet first half, and in the past he has been the first to make way for someone else. But fortunately for everyone, Burley decided to give Reuser more time to make an impact, and it was an off-song Jim Magilton who made way for Alun Armstrong. This meant Scowcroft dropped off slightly to his favoured position just behind the front two. And what a difference the change made. Ipswich threw everything at Bradford, and it paid off. A flurry of corners didn't produce a goal, but kept the Bantams well pegged back. The new formation somehow freed up Reuser, and he began to work his magic as he found more space, weaving around defenders like they weren't there. The equaliser finally arrived in the 59th minute. Reuser dispossessed Andy O'Brien near the half way line, and galloped down the left. He entered the penalty area, skipped past a defender, and cracked a stunning shot from an acute angle. It was the sort of goal, that if scored by someone like Giggs, it would be replayed for weeks and weeks, and was the best strike by a Town player this season. The breakthrough brought relief all round, and how Reuser enjoyed the goal. You could see how much it meant to him as he celebrated. With the first goal in the bag, the excited crowd now expected Town to go for victory, and they were not disappointed. The second goal came in the 66th minute, after a sterling run from Herman Hriedarsson. The Icelander was making a welcome return to the team, and he was having a great game. His pace down the left side was frightening the Bradford players to death, and as he bared down once more towards the penalty area, he was cynically brought down to prevent further damage. Unfortunately for Bradford, up popped Reuser, to bend in a corker of a free kick that left Walsh with no chance. It was from an identical position to the Carbone goal, and Reuser's effort had the same lethal impact. Despite taking the lead, Ipswich didn't let up, as they were now ripping the despondent Bradford team apart. Another corner produced the third goal. Reuser this time turned provider, and whipped in a corner that found Herman Hreidarsson, and the big man headed powerfully into the back of the net. It was Herman's second goal for the club, and he celebrated by stage diving into the North stand, Richard Naylor style, of a few years back. The Icelandic international was very lucky not to get booked for his celebration, and Andy D'Urso, who has not been the most popular ref with Town fans recently (he was the idiot who sent McGreal off at Chelsea), let Herman off with a ticking off. The final few minutes actually saw Bradford create a few very good chances, and they must be wondering how they didn't score. Robbie Blake certainly will be, after watching his weak shot cleared off the line. It would have made a scary couple of minutes had they put one of their chances away. As it was, the final whistle came, and Town were back up to third in the Premier League. Well, it may only have been Bradford at home, but it was very important we got the right result today, as we are not back at Portman Road for a month- when we entertain Liverpool on April 7th. If we are going to realistically push for a European place, it was imperative we won today, as we have some very tough fixtures coming up. With all the talk of going up to third if we won, we could easily have ended up with eggs on our faces. But the team proved today they can do more than play pretty football. They can roll up their sleeves and battle, when they go behind. As for Bradford, there was no shortage of effort, but at the end of the day, they just aren't good enough to stay in the Premier League. There were some plus points. Hopkin was a constant worry for Town in midfield, while Carbone always looked dangerous in attack. But Town fans can once again bask again in the glory of being near the top of the table. Everyone in the media expected us to tumble down the league, but the boys are continuing to defy the odds. Today belonged to Martijn Reuser, who stole the show. He did it against Spurs, and has now done it against Bradford. If given the opportunity to play more often, I believe he could reap untold damage on other Premier League defences. Surely Burley can't drop him for the away game at West Ham, can he?

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