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sql/match-reports/1999-00/1999-8-28-0.htm

Sheffield United (0) 2 - 2 (2) Ipswich Town

Division 1 1999-00

Saturday, August 28, 1999

Referee: C Foy

Manager: Unknown

Bramall Lane

Attendance: 12,455

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2807

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 Smith 
 Murphy 

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Tracey

Kozluk

Quinn

Craddock

Murphy

Sandford

Ford

Derry

Marcelo

Smith

Woodhouse

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Match Report

Sheffield United 2 Ipswich Town 2

PROMOTION has proved to be a mirage for Ipswich in recent years after failures in three successive play-offs and a persistent flair for faltering at critical stages in the chase for an automatic Premiership place.

The manner in which they conceded this season's 100 per cent start after leading 2-0 inside 10 minutes and controlling the first half at Bramall Lane confirms that a crucial psychological flaw remains.

True, Sheffield United deserve credit for their dramatic recovery and Adrian Heath's side showed great spirit after gifting Ipswich those early goals and being outplayed for long spells, but they should never have had the chance to salvage the point which lifts them off the bottom of the First Division.

Goalkeeper Simon Tracey's astonishing miscalculation of a mis-hit shot by James Scowcroft after two minutes, and appalling defending when David Johnson headed in at close range following a corner kick, left United fans in another below average 12,455 crowd fearing a second successive drubbing - and one that might even top the six-goal thrashing from Manchester City at Maine Road.

Tracey, however, kept United in the game when, on 32 minutes, he brilliantly snatched the ball off Johnson's toes as the striker tried to dribble round him. A second-half switch to 4-4-2 then provided the inspiration for a remarkable revival.

"We had to do something because we couldn't let Ipswich carry on dictating the pace of the game, and, playing with much more passion, in the end we looked more likely to win than them," commented Heath.

It was not without irony that Martin Smith, who rejected a close-season move from Sunderland to Ipswich in favour of teaming up again with Heath, reduced arrears on 54 minutes. He was aided though by Richard Wright, who failed to hold on to Curtis Woodhouse's tame shot.

Ipswich suddenly resembled a side that had won the Lottery but feared losing the ticket. Their self-induced doubt was epitomised by United's 82nd-minute equaliser which stemmed from a needlessly reckless challenge by John McGreal.

The free kick led to a corner and when Marcelo met Smith's cross with a header which hit Wright on the line, Shaun Murphy scrambled the ball into the net. Marcelo claimed the goal, but referee Foy confirmed Murphy as the man who ensured Ipswich paid for not playing at a peak for 90 minutes.

Daily Telegraph

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