Bruising Battle in Baghdad
Ipswich Town manager Bobby Ferguson
was pleased with the performance of his team
in this bruising battle in Baghdad yesterday.
His team failed to make it a double success
in the sun following their 1-0 victory on
Sunday against the Iraq National side, but
they showed the right spirit to see off the
challenge of a much improved home team.
In temperatures reaching 80 degrees
Fahrenheit Ipswich kept going in what was
generally a scrappy, poorly refereed affair.
“For part of the game it looked as though
the war zone had moved to Baghdad. Their
pride was dented by their defeat on Sunday
and they wanted to make sure it didn’t happen
again,” said Ferguson.
“But we achieved the objectives of the trip.
Two games in the sun that will have
sharpened the side up for the final vital weeks
of the season.”
The luckless Irvin Gernon sustained an
ankle injury after just five minutes and is
likely to be out of action for up to a fortnight.
Gernon, who only this season recovered from
a badly broken leg, had to undergo a shoulder
operation last year and has just returned to
He was given a chance to play at left back
yesterday with Steve McCall pushed into
midfield. But his first team comeback lasted
just 300 seconds.
He was replaced by Mark Brennan who
suffered a bruised calf in Sunday’s game.
Brennan took another kick on the calf and did
not come out for the second half.
Trevor Putney, the scorer of the only goal
on Sunday, went off with a slight hamstring
strain but both players are expected to be fit to
face Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on
There was another disappointing crowd of
around 4,000 but Baghdad is a football hotbed
at the moment with Chelsea due to play the
national side today.
Ipswich left Iraq early this morning and are
due back in England this afternoon.
Yesterday’s starting line up: Cooper,
Yallop, Cranson, Butcher, Gernon, Stockwell,
McCall, Putney, Dozzell, Wilson, D’Avray.
Newspaper article 5th March 1986