Back to winning ways
Ipswich Town got back to winning ways after three straight First Division defeats and the happiest man in Suffolk tonight is 23-year-old left-wing back Jamie Clapham.
The former Tottenham Reserve at last got a goal for the club after a year on the staff. He let fly with a rasping right foot shot in the 40th minute after cutting in from the left. Vale keeper Paul Musselwhite had no chance as the long range effort flew in and Clapham had at last broken his duck.
So often this season the Blues number four has been unlucky, as he has fired in efforts in search of that elusive opening goal for the club that spent £300,000 on him last January. Today it happened and Clapham's venomous strike gave Town just the pep they needed.
The home side should have had more goals, but they didn't and there were anxious moments over the closing stages. But they held out and, even though they never played near their best, George Burley's side were still worthy victors and they completed a league double over a Vale side they beat 3-0 in the Potteries on August Bank Holiday Monday.
New loan striker Marlon Harewood showed promise. He looked strong and quick. Home debutant midfield man, the loanee Jim Magilton, was also a useful performer.
A Vale team under a new management of Brian Horton, worked hard but Town deserved their success and now look forward to next week's away trip to Bury.
Blow by blow
Ipswich Town were out to pep up their First Division promotion hopes against relegation battling Port Vale at Portman Road today.
George Burley's team had lost their last three League matches and had scored just five goals in league and cup since Boxing Day, and one of those was an own goal.
Second from bottom of the table Vale came to Suffolk looking to impress new manager Brian Horton, who was in charge for the first time after taking over from the long serving John Rudge.
Town made two changes from the side that last Saturday lost 1-0 at Everton in the FA Cup fourth round. Marlon Harewood, signed on loan from Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, came in up front to partner David Johnson. Loan midfield man Jim Magilton from Sheffield Wednesday, cup tied for the Everton game, came in for his home debut.The inclusion of Harewood and Magilton meant that Bobby Petta and Mick Stockwell were on the substitutes bench.
Second from the bottom of the table Vale, beaten by Town in the Potteries 3-0 on August Bank Holiday Monday, paraded new loan attacker Craig Russell from Manchester City. His inclusion meant that they were parading a 36th player used so far this season, a club record for this stage of a campaign.
Desperate to get back into scoring form was Town's 11 goal joint top scorer Johnson. He had been short of goals before a cartilage operation and has not got off the mark since coming back from the surgery. All in all, Johnson has gone eight and a half matches without scoring for the Blues.
Town took the field in their blue and white against visitors paraded in an all yellow strip. The home side were operating their normal 5-3-2 formation against newly managed visitors operating a 4-4-2, but with number three Tankard, normally the left back, operating in central midfield and doing a patrolling job around Dyer.
Town's loanee pair of Magilton and Harewood were in action early on. Magilton chipped forward and Harewood chested down, but the striker's chested effort went to an opposition player.
Holland evaded a challenge from Talbot to get in a shot that earned a corner. Clapham took the flag-kick and Thetis got in a header that was blocked.
Soon after, following another Clapham corner, Harewood flicked on with his head and the ball was cleared. Then Thetis got forward again to go wide with a shot. The Frenchman needn't have bothered as the whistle had gone for off-side.
Town, so desperate to get back to winning ways, were looking lively but Vale then had a bit of a spell going forward. Bogie made space and tried to pick out Foyle, but Thetis was on hand to intercept. Soon after Thetis, involved in so much of the early action whether at the back or front, made a solid challenge to dispossess Foyle.
In the 11th minute Harewood wearing the number 10 shirt, drew generous applause from the fans. He cut in from the left to let fly with a right foot shot that was not that far off the mark.
After 13 minutes Johnson, the England B International striker who so badly needs a goal, missed a chance. Venus sent in a ball to the near post and Johnson, being marked by Gardner looked well capable of getting in a header to test Musselwhite, but Johnson could only get in a rather half hearted attempt that caused no problem.
Johnson tried to pick out Holland with a good ball but Talbot came across to relieve the pressure for Vale. There was then a good Town move with Wilnis and Dyer combining to set up Harewood.,the on loan striker from Nottingham Forest got in a useful cross that Vale defenders managed to clear.
Harewood was certainly looking a danger on his Town debut and he burst down the right on to a ball from Wilnis to fly past Gardner but the cross by Harewood was cleared for a corner. Clapham took the flag-kick but Musselwhite got to the ball well to catch cleanly.
Vale were working hard but it was mainly Ipswich. Johnson fed Dyer and the little England Under 21 man sped forward, but McGlinchey was quick to react to block the danger for the visitors.
In the 20th minute Thetis, so involved in this match, latched on to a loose ball on the right to fire in an angled shot that Musselwhite had to touch over the bar.
Then, two minutes later, Town earned their sixth corner of the game after another bright attack. Bogie then bundled over Thetis as the French defender got too near a corner flag on a run. Clapham took the free kick but once again Musselwhite caught well.
In the 28th minute Johnson was fouled by Talbot on the edge of the penalty area. Talbot was booked for the foul and Foyle was cautioned for arguing.
Town were presented with a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Magilton stepped up to take it and chipped in a lovely effort that Musselwhite did well to touch around the post. Magilton went over to the left to take the resultant corner kick himself. It ended with Mowbray getting in a header and then Venus heading the ball into the net. But the referee blew up as it was clear that Mowbray had fouled Gardner.
In the 35th minute Thetis was booked for a foul on Foyle. It was his 12th booking of the season. The Frenchman is already set for another two game ban for reaching 11 bookings and will be appearing before the FA in London.
Johnson sent Holland away on to a pass but the home number eight was off-side. Then Magilton sent in a free-kick from the left, Harewood nodded down but there was no Town player on hand to latch on to it. The Blues were having the vast majority of the play, but so far in this first half their final balls and the occasional cross had let them down.
However, the Portman Road scene brightened in the 40th minute when Town opened the scoring. The man who broke the deadlock was CLAPHAM and it was the former Tottenham Reserve player's first goal for the club since his move from White Hart Lane just over a year ago.
Left-back Clapham latched on to a ball on the left and the Blues player wearing the number four shirt cut in to unleash a shot with his right foot from 25 yards that flew high into the top corner of the net past a helpless Musselwhite.
Clapham has been a constant trier on goal this season, but has been unlucky so often in attempts to break his duck for Town. But this time it all came good for him, it was a peach of a shot at the end of a powerful run.
Just before the half-time whistle Wilnis broke forward to whip over a centre but it was too high and caused no problems to the Vale defence.
Half-time: Ipswich Town 1, Port Vale 0
During the half time interval Suffolk boxing hero David Starie displayed his British and Commonwealth title belts, and the second period began with his team Town looking to show even more punch than they had in the first period.
Soon after the restart Rougier earned a corner for the visitors. Russell took it and Town skipper Mowbray was on hand to head away.
In the 49th minute Magilton picked out Holland with a good ball and the Blues number eight was wide with his shot. Wilnis got in a thunderous challenge to rob Russell and as the game continued, Johnson burst forward for Town only to be tackled well by Gardner, and then Foyle found Bent on the right and from the cross Wright did well to catch cleanly.
In the 56th minute Vale came close to levelling. Talbot drifted over a cross from the right and Bent got in a header that Wright had to touch over the bar. It was a warning sign to the Town that they had to tighten up.
Vale's Tankard became the fourth booking of the game. His offence was a foul on Wilnis. Play continued with Johnson cutting in from the left for Town but the number nine could only fire across the face of goal.
Johnson found Wilnis out on the right with a good ball. The Dutchman crossed and Clapham came close to a second goal. Clapham latched on to the ball well but seemed to choke his shot a bit and Musselwhite dived to his left to save comfortably.
Harewood had been quite impressive on his debut, but the 19-year-old who has been suspended at Forest this season for bookings, was cautioned in the 62nd minute. Musselwhite had the ball at his feet and he tried to slip past the approaching Harewood. But Harewood tripped the Vale keeper and went into the book.
Vale then produced a substitute, their first of the game, Russell was withdrawn in the 64th minute and on came Beadle.
Bent then burst into the penalty area from the left for the visitors, but Thetis handled the situation well. Clapham then earned a corner at the end of a good run and, in the 67th minute, Magilton let fly with a long shot that was not far off target.
In the 71st minute Dyer could possibly have scored for Town to increase the lead. Harewood came deep to receive the ball and he turned to break forward through the heart of the Vale defence. Harewood then played out to Dyer who raced for goal with just Musselwhite to beat. Dyer, who last Saturday at Everton made his 100th Town appearance, unleashed a right foot shot which Musselwhite dived to send for a corner. It was a good chance missed and Town came close from the flag-kick. Clapham centred from the right and skipper Mowbray got in a header which Musselwhite just managed to keep out.
Tankard supplied Talbot with a good ball out from the right for Vale. Talbot though made a hash of things from there on. His cross was poor and Town were able to come away with the ball.
Venus had a crack with a long range free-kick in the 76th minute and then, a minute later, Dyer made a great run and burst into the penalty area from the right. Gardner brought him down but the referee was not prepared to give a penalty. Vale then brought on their second substitute when, in the 77th minute Corden came on for Rougier.
Venus tried to pick out Johnson with a really long pass forward, but Musselwhite was as alert as ever. The Vale keeper came out to relieve the situation.
Town's left-wing back Clapham had scored his first goal for the club and the right-wing back, Wilnis, was now having a crack. In the 81st minute the Dutch newcomer forced his way powerfully into the penalty area from the right to end with a shot that went across the face of the goal. It was a worthy effort by Wilnis and the crowd appreciated it.
Harewood sent his strike partner Johnson away with a lovely ball. Johnson went to go past Aspin, the Vale defender sent off in this fixture two years ago, and was duly upended. Not surprisingly Aspin went into the referee's note book.
In the 83rd minute new Vale boss Horton made his last roll of the dice substitute wise. He brought on Burns for Talbot.
The closing minutes were an anxious time for Town. They should of had more goals, but they hadn't and now they were going through a jittery period to make sure they hung on for this much needed victory that was very much in sight.
Town made their first substitution in the game in the 89th minute. Johnson went off and on came Naylor, wearing the number 12 shirt.
Town managed to hold on although Beadle gave an anxious moment when he turned to try and get in a shot in time added on. But Mowbray, so reliable as always, put his chest in the way.
Result: Ipswich Town 1, Port Vale 0