since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 1 - 2 (1) Aston Villa

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, September 9, 2000

Referee: A Durso

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 22,065

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2860

























Match Report

Stewart Strike too little too late

Town were on the wrong end of 2-1 score line for the second time in the space of four days as the crashed at home to Aston Villa. It was a generally disappointing display by the Blues, despite looking the better team for much of the match. A late Marcus Stewart Strike was too little too late, after Hendrie and Dublin had put the visitors in a commanding 2-0 lead. George Burley opted to give last year's player of the year James Scowcroft his first start, replacing Marcus Stewart in the starting eleven. Operating a 5-3-2 formation, Mark Venus was brought back to partner Hreidarsson and Bramble in a central defensive trio replacing John Scales. Wilnis and Clapham kept their wing-back positions with Jamma Wright, Magilton and Holland in midfield. Villa were expecting to field the flamboyant Frenchman David Ginola, but he was again relegated to the bench, as Villa were unchanged from their midweek game against Liverpool. The brummies have had a troubled time as of late. Yet to win in the league, ‘Deadly' Doug Ellis had been given a vote of no confidence at the club's recent AGM. Pressure is certainly mounting on John Gregory's head, especially after his whinging in the national press over the increasingly boring Southgate transfer saga. It seemed, all things considered, a good time to play them at home. The match kicked off at a leisurely pace, with Ipswich attacking Churchman's. It wasn't long before the match ground to an abrupt halt when Richard Wright collided with Belgian international striker Luc Nilis. Nilis went down and was obviously seriously injured. He had broken his leg, with some suggestion it had actually snapped. Play was held up for almost ten minutes, while he was attended to by both the Villa and the Ipswich physios, and was eventually stretchered off. Nilis was replaced by Vassell, and rather than unsettle Villa, they began to dominate the scrappy midfield battle. However, as the half wore on, it was Ipswich who began to produce the slick passing football which had been evident in the first three games of the season, and looked more likely to score. Ipswich have learnt an important lesson this season (or should have learnt by now!), that mistakes in premier league rarely go unpunished. Giving away possession needlessly with careless passing can undo good work in a flash. This again was the case with Villa's first goal. A pass intended for Magiltion found Vassell, who quickly threaded though a neat pass to Hendrie. The talented youngster then curled home a lovely effort, which bent around Wrighty and into the top corner of the net. The goal geeged Ipswich up, but as they tried to pick the pace up, Villa continued to look dangerous on the counter attack. The highlight of the half from an Ipswich point of view was when Fabian Wilnis picked the ball up and dazzled his way down the wing. He eventually bumped into Ego Ehiogo, who had replaced Southgate, but the ball fell kindly to Jamma Wright, who blasted wide. The second half began pretty much as the first had finished, with Ipswich huffing and puffing, but never really looking dangerous. It wasn't long before Villa grabbed their second, as a 54th minute headed goal from Dublin looked to settle the game. Villa had looked dangerous at corners, with Ehiogu heading wide earlier, and once more slack marking saw an unchallenged Dublin head home. The former Cambridge striker had not looked like scoring before then, and it was the worst time to conceded a weak goal. Burley brought on Mcgreal to replace Venus, and Reuser on for Jermaine Wright in an effort to turn things around. Town had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, one on Jamie Scowcroft which appeared very legitimate. But Andy D'urso was not convinced, and waved play on. David Johnson, who looked the most ineffective he has been in a long while, was replaced by Marcus Stewart. Johnson seems to have lost his early season confidence, probably due to not yet opening his premier goal account, and rarely threatened the Villa goal. He was constantly caught off side, and it will be interesting to see if he is picked for the Leeds game ahead of Stewart. Town finally found the net in the final minute of normal time. Hreidsarrson crossed to Scowcroft, who headed down to the more lively looking Stewart. Stewart then calmly slotted passed David James from close range. With 5 minutes of stoppage time to play the crowd sensed an equaliser and got behind the team for a frantic finish, but to no avail. Villa held out for the win they had been craving, and condemn Ipswich to their first home defeat of the season. Overall, this was by no means a bad defeat. Aston Villa may not have had the best of starts, but their team is packed with stars. I always hate playing teams who are on bad runs or yet to win- it normally means they are due a good performance, and this was the case today. But the performance was well short of the standard seen against Man Utd and Sunderland. The ‘honeymoon' period is well and truly over now. This, and the defeat against Leicester, has really brought home the size of the task of survival. On paper, these looked like games where we could pick up points. A glance at the fixture list sees us next away to Leeds, followed by a home match with Arsenal. Not exactly games you would put your mortgage on. The main problem still seems to be in front of goal. Stewart's effort was the first scored by a striker all season. Scowcroft played well and it is great to see him back, but who his partner should be a hard question Burley must fathom. I would also question the 5-3-2 system. While it can be great away from home, it is surely too defensive at home. It is not all doom and gloom though, as we have not been outclassed or embarrassed by anyone yet. There will be many more defeats of a similar nature, but Town must now dig deep, and try not to have a long baron run without points, which will sap everyone's confidence.

From The Terrace

Match Gallery


2000-01 Reports