Panto on Ice
In Arctic conditions, which made one wonder strongly at Essex referee Brian
Daniels' decision to let this fifth round Cup-tie go ahead, Ipswich came out
of the cold from a seemingly hopeless position.
They equalised four minutes from time with a goal by Robin Turner. This followed
a previous one, scored in the first half - his first senior goals for the
club and really vital ones.
Fair enough - nobody really deserves to be a winner on a pitch covered with
snow and ice - but it could be a different story on Ipswich's fair pitch at
Portman Road in the replay on Monday week. Ipswich's class which showed so
strongly in the first half should see them through into the sixth round.
For a rumbustious period, though, in the second half, Rovers, with a crowd
of 23,000 Eastville partisans yelling them on, looked to have done the trick
with two sneaky revivers. They forced their way back into the game with two
goals by Williams after being outplayed and disheartened by a superior First
Division team in the first period.
Rovers manager Bobby Campbell's rejuvenated side, who had played seven games
without defeat before this Cup-tie and knocked up a pretty lethal new striker
from the West Country called Paul Randall, suffered from cold discomforts
for a long period of this pantomime on ice.
Randall never really got into the game or made much contact with his physically
strong and often bellowing colleague, Gould.
It was the enormous influence of Taylor, the tallest centre back in the Football
League, who did so much to encourage Rovers when they were behind.
Randall, however, had only been able to train 15 minutes last week, because
he was still suffering from a hamstring injury so there was an excuse for
his tepid performance.
Bobby Robson, the Ipswich manager, named Woods as his man of the match and
there was good sense in that - Woods constantly made the Rovers defence look
as petrified as Laurel and Hardy swinging on loose scaffolding with his control
and probing runs on a white carpet of icicles.
The players rarely got the better of the farcical conditions but they made
a brave go of it. Ipswich, push and running in the snow, were a goal up in
the 27th minute. Woods took on Talbot's throw in, made haste in the area and
Turner was waiting to jab in a short centre with his left foot.
Ipswich were nearly there with a second when Thomas fumbled a shot from Mariner
and Turner was an inch away from scoring. Then Rovers cheered up their chilled
congregation with two goals in the 58th and 64th minutes. Williams nudged
in the first after Cooper has made a mess of a corner; then the same player
deflected a long header from Barry past the Ipswich keeper.
Ipswich brought on Osborne for Viljoen in the 70th minute and Thomas had
to make some good saves as the Suffolk team strongly rallied. In the 86th
minute, Mariner finished a strong run with a centre, from which Turner hit
a post and the ball spun over the line before Osborne followed up to make
sure. Soon afterwards Thomas made a wonderful save from a Mariner header.