Town are down!
Ipswich Town have been relegated from the Premiership after losing 5-0 to Liverpool at Anfield. Goals from Riise (2), Owen, Smicer and Anelka ensured that we ended the season on the lowest possible note.
We knew at the start of play today that if we could sneak a win at Anfield and Derby could beat Sunderland then we would stay up. And things started well for us as we piled the pressure on Liverpool with a succession of dangerous free kicks and corners. But that was as good as things got as Riise fired past Marshall to give Liverpool the lead against the run of play.
Credit to the boys though, we came back strong and Darren Bent headed straight at Dudek. But things got even worse shortly after when news reached the stadium of a Sunderland goal. That was the moment when I realised that our two-year stay in the Premiership was over. Hope came back when I thought that Henchoz clearly handled a goal bound effort from Reuser only for the ref to award a corner. Interestingly enough, as Martin Tyler pointed out, it was the same ref, Steve Dunn, who let Henchoz get away with two hand balls in last years FA Cup Final.
Shortly after that we were lucky not to be firther behind after a magnificent pass from Steven Gerrard was controlled by Owen- fortunately Matt Holland was there to block Owen's effort. Sadly, from an England point of view, that was the last we saw of Gerrard as he was replaced by Vladimir Smicer. The extent of his injury is not yet known but let's hope that he is fit for the tournament in Japan/South Korea. Moments later and relegation was a certainty. A swift Liverpool counter attack resulted in a fould on Smicer but the ref played an excellent advantage and Riise drilled the ball home for his second of the match.
John Mcgreal's season came to an end before half time due to a shin injury and he was replaced by Fabian Wilnis. Reuser's shot hit the outside of the post soon after and I counted us unlucky not to go in at half time with at least a goal to our name.
The second half could not have possibly started any worse. Less than a minute in and Titus Bramble gifted the ball to Owen who cooly slotted the ball over the on rushing Marshall. 10 minutes later and it was 4-0. A nice bit of skill by Smicer saw him with just Marshall to beat and he bent it round him with the outside of his right foot.
Marcus Stewart, top scorer last season, came on for Darren Bent but not even he could provide the miracle that we needed. A Derby equaliser was not even cheered by the fans as they were simply too distraught. Both Bent and Stewart had chances but Dudek was out quickly on both occasions to prevent a goal. Nicolas Anelka came on to replace Xavier and within 3 minutes of coming on the enigmatic Frenchman rounded off the win. He ran on to Owen's pass and faked to shoot several times before tucking the ball home.
Looking back on the season, it was our early season form that cost us. As Matt Holland said in a post-match interview, 12 points at Christmas is not good enough. But there were a couple of crucial games that we lost as well. 6-0 to Liverpool was a body blow in February and we never recovered from that. A 4-1 defeat at Bolton in April was another game that we needed to win but didn't perform. And finally, today's game. In two games against Liverpool this year we failed to score and conceded 11- what a contrast to last season...
From The Terrace