since 1878

Morecambe (0) 0 - 3 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Cup 3rd Round 2000-01

Saturday, January 6, 2001

Referee: U Rennie

Manager: Unknown

Christie Park

Attendance: 5,923

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2883

























Match Report

Morecambe's dreams ended

Town ended the hopes and dreams of Morecambe, with a hard working display. As brilliantly predicted by myself, Ipswich saw off Conference team Morecambe 3-0 at Christie Park. A professional display by the Blues saw them end the dreams of Morecambe, with goals coming from Marcus Stewart, Alun Armstrong and Jermaine Wright. The part timers put up a good fight though, and in the first half served up a football performance that defied their lowly status. But as the match wore on, the class of Town shone through as the Shrimps slowly ran out of steam. In the end Ipswich comfortably cruised into the 4th round, without really breaking into a sweat. Ipswich started with Reuser recalled to the starting eleven. He was given a chance ahead of Jamie Clapham on the left of midfield, while Jim Magilton was still on the bench. Because of injuries to Venus and McGeal, the versatile Hreidarsson switched from left back to central defence to partner Bramble, while Gary Croft was given another opportunity at left back. David Johnson was missing from the squad, which led to further speculation about his future, but it is thought that he pulled up in a training session with groin trouble. There was a bit of a party atmosphere at Christie Park, and the locals were obviously going to make the most of their day. The 900 Town fans who had made the long journey were housed in the Umbro stand behind the goal. Morecambe started well, and did not look like they wanted to hold on for a draw. They attacked brightly, and lifelong Town fan Walters tested Wrighty from 20 yards. But Marcus Stewart swiftly put paid to any thoughts that we could be in for an embarrassing afternoon, when he coolly slotted home his 14th goal of the season. After collecting the ball from Armstrong, he sidestepped a couple of defenders, before reversing the ball in the bottom corner of the net. It was a typical Stewart strike, taking his time before finally releasing the killer blow. However, instead of discouraging Morecambe, they enjoyed their best period of possession after the goal, and successfully put Town under the cosh leading up to half time. They thought they had been hard done by, when they failed to win a penalty. An aerial challenge between Hreidarsson and Quayle saw the Morecambe player go sprawling. It was never a penalty though, and the ref rightly waved play on. Richard Wright was called upon to make good saves from Quayle and Walters, but as half time approached, it looked like Town had weathered the brief Morecambe storm. They had put in a good show, but the second period saw Town dominate from start to finish. It looked liked Reuser was about to put the tie beyond Morecambe, when after a cracking move, he was given a free shot on goal from 10 yards. But the luckless Dutchman ballooned terribly on the bar. Whether or not he lifted his head, or the ball bobbled just before he struck it, is debatable. But it was a bad miss, and he was substituted for Clapham minutes later. The second goal finally came in the 65th minute, when Armstrong scored his fourth goal since his transfer from Middlesbrough. A brilliant piece of wing play from Wilnis saw him easily beat his man, and whip a perfect cross into the box. Armstrong leapt up and fired a bullet header from close range that gave keeper Smith no chance. Town began to relax after that goal, and their passing game got better and better. Jermaine Wright, who was enjoying his best game in while, marked his return to form with a goal ‘wright' out of the top draw. He volleyed a cross with a deft touch that looped the ball into the net. As the clock clicked down, the only dampener of the afternoon came when Titus Bramble picked up another silly booking for handball. For some reason he has recently decided to start trying to bang the ball in with his hands, and despite being booked at Sunderland, he did the same thing today. The game finished with the local residents of Morecambe running on the pitch and saluting their gallant heroes. It was not the result they had hoped for, but they paid tribute to the achievements the non-leaguers had made. The tie was played in the true spirit of the FA Cup, and a friendly atmosphere was enjoyed by everyone. An upset never really looked on the cards, although Morecambe can be proud of their efforts. They played good football, and were a credit to their league. You would not have thought we were playing a team four divisions below us. Had they been playing a 1st division team, I think they could easily have found themselves in the hat for the next round. But all credit to Town. Burley's hardworking team ethics meant we were never going to becoming a giant killing victim. While we were expected to win at a canter, these type of games are always tricky, and Town came through the test in flying colours. Next up is Birmingham in the Worthington Cup, and our opportunity to get into the first domestic final since we won the FA Cup in 1978. The treble is still on!

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