GATES SAVES A FEW BLUSHES
Maybe he didn't think so at the time but the goal Eric Gates scored in Greece was just about the most important of his career.
Town had built up what looked like an unassailable 5-1 lead from the first leg. But with just over an hour gone in the return in Salonika, they were struggling to stay in the competition, and at 3 goals down looked dead and buried.
Gates however popped up in the 73rd minute with the goal that spared his side's blushes. Receiving a pass from Frans Thijssen, he struck home a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty area. The Greek goalkeeper had no chance and Town marched on to the second round.
It was not a match in which Town distinguished themselves at all and even Gates vital goal could not hide the fact that Ipswich had turned in a very disappointing performance.
The match was played in a very hostile atmosphere, with many of the Aris fans of the opinion that they had been cheated in the first leg when Portuguese referee Antonio Garrido had awarded Town a hattrick of penalties. Highlights of the game had been shown over and over again on Greek TV, and just to add fuel to the fire local newspapers were hinting that the match official might even have received a bribe.
Town's training session at the Salonika stadium on the day before the game had been gate crashed by some 200 fans, who hurled abuse at the Ipswich players for well over an hour. By kick-off time the following afternoon tempers in the home crowd were reaching boiling point and armed police, complete with riot shield, ringed the playing area.
Two goals by Aris in the first 22 minutes kept the home fans in good spirits, and when Zeleliolis grabbed a third in the 65th they were ecstatic.
Fortunately Gatesy's goal which rescued the tie for Town was a clear cut affair. Had it been disputed then it might easily have sparked trouble on the terracing.
At the end of the 90 minutes or torrid action, the giant scoreboard told the story of Town's progress to the next stage of the competition, and the bonfires set underneath it by the Aris fans, announced what they thought of proceedings over the two legs.
Aris Salonika: Pantziaras, Mokalis, Chatziantoniou (Zelidis), Michalitsos, Venos, Kuois, Zeleliolis, Balis (Tzifopoulos), Tsirimokos, Drambis, Semertzidis
Town: Paul Cooper, George Burley, Mick Mills (Captain), Frans Thijssen, Russell Osman, Terry Butcher, John Wark, Arnold Muhren (Kevin Beattie), Paul Mariner, Alan Brazil (Steve McCall), Eric Gates
Extract from Champions in Europe