since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 2 - 1 (1) Gillingham

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Saturday, August 7, 2004

Referee: Andre Marriner

Manager: Joe Royle

Portman Road 15:00

Attendance: 23,130

Manager: Andy Hessenthaler

Match Number: 3060


 Richard Naylor (35)
 Dean Bowditch (46)
 Smith (24)


ByfieldJarvis (74)
SpillerSouthall (76)
RobertsSidibe (79)


 Roberts (1)

















Leon Johnson




Match Report

Ipswich add to Hessenthaler's aggravation

If losing the opening-day fixture was not painful enough, Andy Hessenthaler, the Gillingham player-manager, must today consider ways of handling a perplexing ban ahead of tomorrow's visit of Leeds United.

At Portman Road on Saturday, Hessenthaler was banned both as a player and a manager, which meant that he could not feature either in midfield, or on the bench. Against Leeds, he is still banned from the touchline, a result of a suspension received for comments made to a referee in May, but he is available to play.

Given that he wants to name himself as a substitute, he has a problem. "We have contacted the Football Association," said Hessenthaler, "and it's something they don't come across very often.

"So I have been told that even if I'm a sub I have to sit in the stands and if I want to bring myself on I cannot warm up on the touchline. Instead I've got to warm up behind one of the goals, probably the one where there will be 1,100 Leeds fans.

"And I'm not allowed to walk around the touchline to get to behind the goal, so I've got to spend the day of the game plotting my route. I'll have to go through the supporters somehow; maybe I'll dress up as the mascot.''

All of which Hessenthaler could have done without. He felt Gillingham deserved a draw on the billiard table that is the Ipswich pitch but, in truth, Ipswich deserved this win, the first time in five years that the club have won an opening-day game at home.

Ipswich's squad have suffered because of lack of funds. Of the 16 players on show in the Suffolk sunshine, eight had come through the junior ranks and seven were 20 or under.

Manager Joe Royle has seen Marcus Bent, Darren Ambrose and Titus Bramble, products of the club's academy, depart in recent seasons. Royle must now improve on last season's play-off place – the club won as many points as eventual play-off winners Crystal Palace – while fending off interest from richer clubs.

At risk is the highly impressive Dean Bowditch, 18, whose talent was shown by his stunning goal 32 seconds into the second half. Richard Naylor had cancelled out Paul Smith's 10th-minute opener before Bowditch delivered a delightful shot with his right instep.

"The kid's a talent," said Royle, who likened the goal to the type Matt Le Tissier scored regularly for Southampton. "He's a lovely boy, he's got no pretensions about him and he just gets on with it.

"The academy here has a great record and I think there's no better than if you look to Manchester United when Beckham, Butt and company came through.

"The club has sold on a lot of players who are academy boys but it doesn't worry me that I may have to sell more. Financially, we are much better than we were and so it meant we didn't have to take any silly bids for any of our younger players in the summer.''

Celtic and Arsenal have noticed Bowditch while Matt Richards, 19, and 20-year-olds Darren Bent and Ian Westlake have Ipswich's future in their hands.

John Ley (Daily Telegraph)

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2004-05 Reports