since 1878

Crewe Alexandra (1) 2 - 3 (2) Ipswich Town

League Cup 3rd Round 2001-02

Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Referee: A Hall

Manager: Unknown

Gresty Road

Attendance: 6,116

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2912























Match Report

Crewe Alexandra 2 Ipswich Town 3

This may only be the Worthington Cup, but once again the entertainment value in this competition was first class. Both teams played attractive, flowing football and it made a very exciting spectacle. Five goals in all were enjoyed, with Town running out 3-2 winners. Ipswich were never behind at any stage, but they struggled to kill off a spirited Crewe team who fought until the death...

George Burley did, as hoped, decide to leave out players who took part in midweek internationals. He didn’t exactly ‘ring the changes’ Alex Ferguson style, but he did experiment with a new midfield partnership, as Tommy Miller and Sixto Peralta were given full competitive match debuts. Magilton and Holland were rested, bringing an end to Matty’s proud consecutive match record. It’s been almost 5 years and 237 games since Ipswich played a match with out Holland, and that will no doubt be a big disappointment to our captain marvel, but the rest will do him good.

Finidi was also rested, as Jamma was given the opportunity to face his former club. Bramble came into the back four in place of Hreidarsson, while Armstrong started alongside our skipper for the night, Marcus Stewart.

Martijn Reuser was celebrating his eagerly awaited return to full fitness, and it didn’t take him long to work his magic. After only four minutes, the Dutch superstar weaved his way through the Crewe defence and unleashed a magic shot that flew past Ademole Bankole.

But any thoughts of a relaxing evening against lower league opposition quickly evaporated. A Crewe corner was met by the unchallenged Rob Hulse, who powered home a corner. Again it was slack defending by Town, and it was game on.

The next fifteen minutes belonged to Crewe, who with the bit firmly between their teeth, took the game to Town and created the majority of the chances. Ipswich also looked dangerous, as chances began to rain in at both ends.

However, as the half wore on, it was the Premier League team who begun to look superior. On 35 minutes, Alun Armstrong struck to give Ipswich the lead after a long searching pass from Chris Makin. Armstrong only needs half a shot on goal, and although he didn’t appear to connect cleanly, he got enough on the ball to send it past Bankole.

The second half seemed, initially anyway, more comfortable for the Tractor Boys, as we controlled the midfield with both debutants in midfield getting more into it. ‘Mumo’ Peralta caught the eye with several battling runs. Eventually, Town went 3-1 up. It was that man again, Reuser, who hit the back of the net again in the 72nd minute. Stewart turned provider as he teed up Reuser up for his brace.

Now that should have signalled game, set and match to Town. But as usual, the dodgiest looking defence we’ve had for years had other ideas. Dave Brammer walked past a static defence to beat Sereni with an accurate shot.

It set the game up for an exciting finish, although from Town’s point of view it would have been better if the scores had remained at 2-1. The goal had renewed Crewe’s enthusiasm, and towards the end, we were hanging on not just to win the match, but also to prevent the unwanted prospect of extra time. The Railwaymen threw caution to the wind on occasions, piling men forward in their efforts.

The final whistle ended a fine evening of football, although Crewe will feel hard done by. They’re a good team and have some great prospects who will no doubt be playing at a higher level soon. This club has survived with its conveyor belt production line, and that doesn’t look like drying up. Hulse, Ashton and Sodje are players who would certainly be on my shopping list.

This was hardly a convincing performance from Town, but there were a few pluses to be had. Firstly, it doesn’t appear (although Armstrong was taken off early) that we have picked up any injuries. Secondly, a back-to-his-best Martijn Reuser is a very encouraging sight. Peralta and Miller both looked genuine prospects, and will only get better.

But there is still much food for thought for Burley. The Ipswich defence doesn’t look as if it could keep a clean sheet against a non-league team, and that is a major worry. Sloppy goals are now happening on a regular basis, and Crewe could have had a hatful. Things must improve before Saturday.

So we’re marching on to the fourth round of the Worthy, and who knows how far we can go. If only we can get some points and move up the league, I’d feel a whole lot more excited about this competition.

From The Terrace

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