The Gloves are Back!
Ipswich produced a storming second have display against Helsingborgs. Three second half goals took the Tractor Boys through to the next round, and in the end, a fully deserved 3-1 victory...
The famous Tractor Boys go marching on. It was a proud, proud evening in Sweden last night, as Ipswich booked their place in the third round of the Uefa Cup. It was a roller coaster ride of a match, where Town again gave themselves an uphill battle as agian they conceded the 1st goal. But a second half similar to the one witnessed in Southampton saved the day, as the Blues overran their opponents with an attacking display we have witnessed far to seldom this season. The two and a half thousand Town fans in the ground ecstatically celebrated a wonderful night to remember.
Burley picked and attacking 5-3-2 line-up, with Clapham and Wilnis being picked as wingbacks. Sixto, Super Jim and Holland played in midfield, and Naylor returned to partner Stewart.
Despite a promising opening, Ipswich soon found themselves a goal down. A weak speculative shot from Hans Eklund from outside the area looked to be heading safely towards the safe hands of Sereni, but for once our Italian hero let us down. I don't know if he momentarily took his eyes off the ball, but the ball somehow sneaked through his hands.
The Swedes could hardly believe it, but you really can't criticise Sereni. He's saved Town so often this season; he's earnt the right to make one mistake. But again, it knocked Town for six. The rest of the half saw Helsingborgs look by far the strongest team, and they could have scored a couple more.
Ipswich had a few golden opportunities through Naylor, Stewart (re-gloved!) and Bramble, but were unable to take any of them. Makin replaced Wilnis early on, and the Dutchman was understandably unhappy. He went straight for the dressing room as he was substituted.
The second half belonged to Town. Bearing down on the end packed to the rafters with Town fans, Ipswich attacked the Swedes with vigour. But you had to wonder if it was going to be our night, when great chances again went begging. The most noticeable, a stunning header from Naylor that crashed against the upright.
It was in the 67th minute when the breakthrough finally came. Mark Venus was the provider yet again, in a goal that was not to different to the first goal against West Ham. Veno whipped in a superb Free kick that Herman connected with perfectly, and volleyed home a powerful shot that gave the keeper no chance.
All of a sudden Town were now in the driving seat, and you could already sense we were going to win. Helsingborgs began to play with urgency again, but this just played into Towns hands.
Darren Bent came on to replace Naylor (injured again?!!). It was great to see the pacey youth making his debut, and he was soon causing the Swedish defence concern. In the 81st minute, Town extended their lead. ANOTHER Veno free kick met Stewie this time, who headed into the back of the net.
It was party time for the Town fans, who were making the most of this incredible night. It more than made the journey worth it. Darren Bent very nearly scored on his debut, as he pounced on a loose ball in the area, but his snapshot was straight at the keeper.
A couple of minutes later, Stewie capped a brilliant night with a brilliant goal. A defence splitting pass from Holland freed the striker, and he lobbed the keeper with a delicious chip.
It goes without saying that this match will go down in Town's history. Town overcame recent disappointments, and even an early match setback, to storm through to the next round. The players proved there is still bags of quality and character still in the squad, and there were so many worthy performances. Everyone I have spoken to has a different man of the match, but for me, it has to be Veno. All our goals are coming from him at the moment, and his crosses have Beckham-like precision.
I could go on forever, but I'm knackered. Town fans can be reassured by one major contributing factor. THE GLOVES are back!!!
From The Terrace