IPSWICH CRUISE IN AS WARK SCORES HIS 32nd GOAL
Ipswich moved comfortably into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup at Portman Road last night with second half goals by Terry Butcher, John Wark and Paul Mariner. St. Etienne's consolation came from Jacques Zimako.
Cushioned by the 4-1 lead they had earned in France a fortnight earlier, Ipswich were able to play relaxed football which, at this stage of European competition, is something of a luxury.
In contrast St. Etienne played like men who carried a very heavy burden and did not really believe they could possibly survive.
So, Ipswich soon took control of a rather disappointing game. Muhren, Thijssen and Wark moved the ball about comfortably in midfield, where Platinin and his accomplished colleagues looked sadly out of touch.
The main danger to Ipswich was over confidence. They tended to waste useful looking moves with careless final passes or misdirected shots. Indeed, one beautiful piece of football by Thijssen ended with Brazil driving the ball wide from a good position.
Brazil, who seemed to be troubled by the leg injury that had made him a doubtful starter, also was off target when Wark pushed the ball through from midfield.
Meanwhile, Mariner, watched by England manager, Ron Greenwood,, looked as sharp as a razor as he approached the penalty box - although he, too, was woefully off target when two reasonable chances were offered him.
Still, Ipswich kept moving forward patiently, as though they were satisfied that goals would come eventually to enable them to widen a gap that already seemed vast enough to ensure then a semi-final place.
Only occasionally did St. Etienne threaten to break out of midfield and, when they did, the Ipswich defence quickly sent them back again.
So young Steggles, making his senior debut on the eve of his 20th birthday, was able to play himself in quietly against Rep, the Dutch World Cup winger, who made little impact on the game in the first half.
Even the most pessimistic supporter knew that victory had been put far beyond St. Etienne's reach after only two minutes of the second half.
Butcher, celebrating his selection for the England squad, rose powerfully above the French defence to head a corner from Thijssen firmly into the net.
Six minutes later, manager Bobby Robson decided that he could know afford to pull off Brazil, who clearly was below par, and allow him to avoid any further damage that might keep him out of the rather more difficult match facing Ipswich at Old Trafford on Saturday.
O'Callaghan took over and within 10 minutes, had forced Castaneda into an agile save.
Mariner, too, gave the French goalkeeper an opportunity to demonstrate his ability with a fierce shot, which Castaneda fisted around the corner.
After D'Avray had replaced Gates in the 75th minute, the game was drifting quietly to a close when Zimako brought it back to life by heading home a cross from Rep, in the 80th minute.
But, within a minute, Ipswich had hit back to reestablish their four goal aggregate lead. The marksman was Wark, who thumped home a penalty after Larios has handled, to bring his season's total of goals to 32, 11 of them scored in this competition.
With only a minute to go Mariner widened the gap still further by hammering the ball into the net after Butcher had been charged down.
Ipswich - Cooper; Steggles, Mccall, Thijssen, Osman, Butcher, Wark, Muhren, Mariner, Brazil (O'Callaghan, 53), Gates (D'Avray, 75)
St. Etienne - Castenada; Battiston, Zanon, Gardon, Lopez, Janvion, Zimako, Larios, Roussey, Platinin, Rep.
Donald Saunders (Daily Telegraph)