West Ham United 1 Ipswich Town 3
Town's new manager Jackie Milburn saw for himself just how Ipswich played when they carried off the Championship. He, together with a vociferous band of supporters, must have been elated as he watched the team, brimming over with confidence, produce 90 minutes of vintage football at Upton Park yesterday morning.
It was as if the players had stolen a fragment of last season's happy memories and planted it in the midst of a grim battle against relegation. Ipswich scored their third consecutive away win, overcame the toughest hurdle of their Easter programme, and continued their revival which has brought them seven points from a possible eight.
On this form it would be a sad loss to the First Division if Ipswich were to drop out. They were solid in defence, full of ideas in attack, and seemed to have the edge in fitness over a West Ham team which promised much but had to play second fiddle after the Town had nosed their way into the lead.
Only twice in the league this season have Ipswich been able to field their full Championship winning side, and this certainly appears to be the most effective line-up they can muster. Phillips was in one of his most menacing moods, Crawford ploughed through more work than one would deem possible, while Moran made up an inside trio which spelt danger whenever they moved upfield.
West Ham's scheme of using their wing-halves to mark Stephenson and Leadbetter was not altogether successful and, but for the old curse of missed chances, Ipswich could have won more convincingly.
Apart from an unsteady opening 10 minutes, during which Scott put the Hammers ahead, the Town defence covered skillfully, tackled with venom and appeared to have redeveloped the understanding between themselves which was the foundation of last season's great record. Bailey's complete authority in his goal area was heartening and, in addition to going the simple things faultlessly, he brought off a great save from Hurst and stood no chance with Scott's seventh minute goal.
Carberry and Compton trailed their wingers relentlessly and to good effect while Nelson's rugged tackling against his former club, together with superb cover from Baxter and Elsworthy, kept the £65,000 Byrne and his colleagues subdued.
The Town's story of missed chances started in the 13th minute when Crawford dribbled round Standen and, with Kirkup on the line, he hammered the ball against the full-backs legs. Phillips collected the rebound, but his shot cannoned off Burkett.
Four minutes later Moran ran onto a pass from Stephenson and slid the ball just inside the post, but the effort was disallowed because the referee had whilstled a split second earlier for a foul on Stephenson. It was hard luck because the Hammers could have done little about Moran's shot.
A minute before half-time Moran's luck changed when a drive from Phillips hit Standen and the inside-right was on to the rebound like a terrier and pushed the ball into the net. The move stemmed from Baxter and Stephenson.
In the 50th minute there was a disaster for West Ham as Standen unaccountably allowed a header from Phillips to slip through his hands. Stephenson provided the centre with a spectacular overhead kick.
Leadbetter, whose energy is like the Witches curse, made a chance by sheer persistence but, having robbed Kirkup, he shot over the bar.
It was in the 74th minute that Ipswich made the game safe with the best goal of the match. Phillips put a glorious pass to Leadbetter, the winger rounded Peters and centre from the by-line. Crawford glanced the ball brilliantly with head past the advancing Standen. It was a picture goal.
West Ham: Standen, Kirkup, Burkett, Peters, Brown, Moore, Bradbrook, Boyce, Hurst, Byrne and Scott.
Ipswich: Bailey, Craberry, Compton, Baxter, Nelson. Elsworthy, Stephenson, Moran, Crawford, Phillips and Leadbetter.
Referee: Mr. P. Bye (Bedford)
East Anglian Daily Times