since 1878

Leicester City (0) 1 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Saturday, September 8, 2001

Referee: B Knight

Manager: Unknown

Filbert Street

Attendance: 18,774

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2906






 Lee Marshall (82)
 Matteo Sereni (58)




Lee Marshall














Match Report

Town denied first win

Ipswich were denied a vital first away win of the season at Filbert Street, when a last gasp goal from Dean Sturridge cancelled out Marcus Stewart's first half effort. But it was the referee who stole the show, with a terrible performance...

Before the yesterday's away game against Leicester City, most Town fans would have not been unhappy with a point. However, Town fans left an incident packed game at the lop-sided Filbert Street wondering just how on earth we managed not to win. I'm still can't believe we didn't pick up three points, against a poor Leicester team, that any neutral watching would have thought were the away team. At the least the match wasn't boring. But don't get me started on the ref. It was possibly the worse and most inept refereeing performance I have ever seen. This was Barry Knight's first ever Premiership game. Hopefully it will be a last, as he totally lost it and failed to control the game. Ultimately, he was instrumental in handing Leicester their unjustified equaliser. It's hard to be too critical of Town, as generally this was a good performance. Burley went for a brand new formation, when he packed the midfield with 5 players, leaving striker Marcus Stewart up front on his own. It wasn't a classic performance, but it was never going to be easy and Town dominated for most of the match, leaving City chasing shadows even when they had a player advantage. City needed to win this one, and were visibly giving it their all. As expected, after the comical pre-match announcement from the PA man pleading for fans not to be nasty to the Leicester team, the Foxes came out at a speedy tempo. They looked for an early goal, and with the crowd fully behind them, did their best to knock Town off their game. But gradually Town took control, and after 14 minutes Town took the lead. Holland picked out Stewart who fired home with an Owen-like shot that gave Ian Walker no chance. It's great to see Stewart finally off the mark after a relatively quiet start to the season, and hopefully this will be the start of another rich vein of form. It was a very nervy few minutes, when Leicester were awarded a free-kick inside the penalty area after an alleged back pass from McGreal, but the ball was fired straight at the wall camped on the goal line. The period up to half time was probably Leicester's best period, but Ipswich soaked up most of what they could throw up us. Bramble was having an outstanding game, and Jim Magilton was looking back to his best in midfield. The second half started with Leicester again trying to create something with their shear enthusiasm, and Sereni was forced to make one cracking save from Akinbiyi. Moments later, it was Stewart who was agonisingly close to scoring, as he tried to lob Walker from close range. Walker just managed to keep City in it with a fingertip save. But the fun really began in the 57th minute, when Town somehow pressed the self-destruct button. The whistle happy ref, who had been stopping the game at the slightest sign of physical contact, had unbelievably not spotted the antics of the disgraceful Robbie Savage. The animal ran around like a headless chicken for most of the match, kicking anything he could, except the ball. After yet another late challenge, this time on Matteo Sereni, he almost turned hero with his gamesmanship, going down like a sack of spuds when Sereni ill advisedly remonstrated with him. His acting earned Sereni an early bath, and a penalty. I know it must be hard, but Sereni shouldn't have reacted to Savage's tactics. You just can't do that, especially against players like Savage, who took full advantage of Sereni's loss of temper. The clueless Knight seemed unsure of the rules, as he consulted both linesmen before making any decision on the penalty. It looked for a moment, as if he was going to let Izzet take the spot kick without allowing Branagan to come on, but fortunately the Town players stood in front of Izzet and Knight changed his mind. It was a sweet, sweet, moment when Izzet blazed over, and Town fans celebrated more than when we actually scored. George Finidi was sacrificed for Sereni, as he had probably been Town's most quiet player. He showed a few examples of his skills, but was unable to get into the game, probably due to the fact the midfield was packed. The system obviously didn't suite the Nigerian. With 10 men, Town continued to stroke the ball around well, but with only Stewart up front, were unable to create too many clear-cut chances. With 10 minutes to go, it looked all over, as Lee Marshall was the next to go. With a one-man advantage, Leicester still couldn't get to grips with the Ipswich midfield. As Reuser teased Marshall, the Leicester defender brought him down, and then grabbed the Dutchman. Bearing in mind how the ref had acted in the other situations, it was a moment of lunacy by Marshall, who gave the ref no choice, but to show some consistency and level the teams up. In my view, the two sending offs were both very pointless, but also warranted, as tempers boiled over. As the game wound down, Leicester huffed and puffed but never looked capable of scoring. It appeared we were going to earn a very valuable three points, but Knight was determined to have the last word. He awarded another free kick to Leicester, another one for absolutely nothing, on the edge of the box. City managed to catch Town, and most of the crowd, unaware as they stole in with an equaliser before the Town team had had time to organise. That was the only way they were going to score, and Sturridge's goal has possibly kept Taylor in a job. Straight after the goal it was all Town again, and Reuser very nearly scored with a spectacular shot. Jim Magilton should have done better after a well crafted move, and sliced a golden opportunity terribly wide. It was the Leicester fans who appeared well happy with a point, and the Filbert Street faithful sitting around me were more than thankful for the final whistle. That speaks volumes for Town's overall performance. The only negative aspect was that Town should have finished the game off when 1-0 nil up. Chances went begging when we were seemingly coasting, and just one more goal would have finished Leicester. To cite the old cliché, a goal is never enough, and Town paid the price for their inability to score. It would have been great to win, but we're just not getting the rub of green at the moment. But if we continue to play in such a positive manner, the results will come. In Leicester we have now seen another club we should finish above, even if we are struggling for points at the moment.

From The Terrace

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