since 1878

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

League Cup Semi-Final, 1st Leg 2000-01

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Referee: C Wilkes

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 21,684

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2884












M Johnson













Match Report

Stewart gives Town slender advantage

New penalty taker Marcus Stewart gives Town a 1-0 advantage in the 1st leg of the Worthington Cup.

I did it again! Your mystic FTT was spot on for the second game in succession with the match prediction, although I would have been much happier with a larger Town victory. Ipswich will take a slender, but all-important lead to St Andrews for the 2nd leg of the Worthington Cup, after beating Birmingham City 1-0 at Portman Road last night. Marcus Stewart brilliantly converted a hotly disputed penalty, conceded by former Town wide boy Danny Sonner. Despite second half pressure, Town were unable to build on their lead, and we now face a testing visit to Birmingham. Town started as expected, with Scowie replacing the cup-tied Alun Armstrong up front. Clapham kept his place in midfield, while Venus returned at the centre of defence. The early exchanges actually saw City look the brighter team. Their disgusting away strip seemed to dazzle the Town players, as they appeared very lethargic. In the very first minute Ipswich were saved thanks to the shooting inability of Dele Adebola, while 10 minutes later Peter Ndlovu lobbed the North stand after being put clean through. I don't know if it was down to nerves, or just not being up for it, but Town could not settle, and City looked much more organised, especially on the break. Slowly, Town began to come into it as their passing game came together. Scowie had a shot well saved, and Holland nearly opened the scoring from close range. In the 28th minute, City Keeper Bennett produced a stunning save to deny Scowie's headed effort. The former Town target was looking the busier of the two keepers, and was soon facing a penalty. An attempted cross from Magilton cracked Sonner's arm from 10 yards, and amid cries of handball, the ref looked to have waved play on. Thankfully, the lino flagged for the offence, and persuaded Clive Wilkes to blow his whistle. Sonner and his chums felt very hard done by, but fair play to the lino, for having the bravery to make the decision. Even I thought it was perhaps a tad harsh myself at the time. But after watching replays on TV, Sonner is defiantly guilty. He had time to move, but instead, actually raises his arm slightly to stop the ball entering the danger zone. Stewie calmly slotted the ball home so accurately, that no keeper would have had a chance. In the second half, a relieved Town really went for it. Hreidarsson smacked a header into the upright, and in-form Stewart performs his ‘miss of the season'. A cross from Wilnis beat everyone, and just as we were all scurrying to the bookies to put our mortgages on Stewart scoring, he blazed wide from close range. Another defence splitting pass from Magilton put Holland through on goal, but he was just unable to crack in a shot. The second killer bow did not materialize, and Birmingham regrouped. They had weathered the Ipswich storm, and went about their task of frustrating us. They never actually had a shot on target throughout the second half, and the impatience spread to the terraces. The match brought back memories of last season, when 1st division teams would come to Town and defend doggedly. It had many reflecting on how good it was to be out of that division, as they watched Birmingham bring Ipswich down to their level. The majority of the Ipswich crowd left disappointed not to have scored a second goal, but it sets the tie up very nicely for the return leg. While we did not play as well as we can, we can count ourselves as unlucky not to be two or three up. Brum will now really fancy their chances of beating us at home, and to be fair to them they will be a much more formidable force at St Andrews. But as I said in my match prediction, I did not think we would score many, and am very confident we will do the damage in the return leg. If we can score an early away goal, the tie will be over. They will have to attack us, and that will suit us down to the ground. As for the penalty, Birmingham can complain until the cows come home, and probably will. But by the letter of the law it was a penalty. Ironically, it was Birmingham who gave Town's promotion hopes a severe bow when they beat us 1-0 at Portman Road last year. It happened to be by- yes you've guessed it- a disputed penalty, after Thetis was harshly adjudged to have brought down Lazaridis. The phase Swings and roundabouts springs to mind…

From The Terrace

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