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Town 3 Ipswich 0
By: Paul Holmes
DESPITE missing all 4 member's of Paul Groves preferred back four, Grimsby Town romped home to an impressive 3 goal win over UEFA Cup hopefuls, Ipswich Town at Blundell Park.
Club captain John McDermott failed to make the 16 whilst Stacy Coldicott could only gain a place on the bench. Ian Ward slotted into the right-back slot with George Santos partnering Alan Pouton in the midfield. Steve Livingstone returned to the bench well ahead of plan.
Despite this being Ipswich's 3rd game in 5 days, manager George Burley fielded a strong team with Olympic gold medalist Finidi George on the wing and Ireland's highly rated World Cup star Matt Holland in the engine room.
From the start Town's intentions were clear, chase down everything and push Ipswich back. Santos playing in the middle allowed Pouton more freedom to press forward, Ward and Barnard played more like wing-back's with Cooke and Campbell cutting inside. The main threat was obvious from early on though - Kabba's pace. Every time the ball went into the Ipswich half Kabba was there, picking up the ball and running past his markers with ease.
Town's opener came on 8 minutes. Campbell's clever through ball was latched onto by Kabba who ran towards Andy Marshall's goal with a purpose. Upon drawing the keeper the loanee coolly slotted home. WE'VE SCORED!!!! AT HOME!!!!!
Ipswich almost grabbed an instant equaliser but Tommy Miller wasted a very good chance. Town's constant pressing continued with Santos and Pouton leading the way. On 18 minutes the hard work paid off again. Terry Cooke met a loose ball slap bang in the middle of the Ipswich half and played a through ball which Kabba pursued with Wayne Brown. Just as Kabba was about to take control of the ball Brown bundled him down. Kabba picked the ball up and walked to the penalty spot but regular spot-kick taker Alan Pouton took over and it was no surprise to the see the ball go into the bottom right of the keeper's net.
Kabba again broke through the defence with his pace but got his feet tangled up at the crucial moment.
The second half was not as frantic as the first but still entertaining with Town mixing one touch passing with break-away (not the chocolate snack's) attacks. At the break Ipswich replaced Tommy Miller with the much sought after Darren Ambrose. The youngster gave Ian Ward a good run for his money but Ward, with the help of Terry Cooke, managed to keep his threat in check.
It was a Town break away that resulted in the 3rd goal. An Ipswich corner was cleared, Kabba picked up the ball and proceeded to run at the defence before laying off to the left wing for George Santos. The big man produced a stunning first time cross into the box where Kabba stretched just enough to beat Marshall from close-range. Bobby Robson, who was at the game, later told Mariners Net "Had that been scored by Arsenal they'd have played it over and over again". The Newcastle manager was at the match as a spectator and no doubt keeping his eye on some of Ipswich's highly rated youngsters. Sir Bobby will also have been impressed by the performances of Town's youngsters as well.
Darren Mansaram was replaced by Steve Livingstone with standing ovation's for both Mansaram's performance and Livvo's return to action. Livvo put himself about a bit and could have scored on a few occasions but it was excellent to see him back playing after his awful injury.
One worrying spot was Steve Kabba's apparent hamstring/groin injury. The pacy front man was replaced by Paul Robinson, who missed two great chances as the game came to a close but at 3-0 your not in the mood to complain.
With 8 minutes to go Ian Ward was brought on and Stacy Coldicott went to right-back.
Overall an excellent game with good performances from the whole team. Bring on the Watford!
Coyne, Ward (Coldicott 84), Ford, Raven, Barnard, Cooke, Pouton, Santos, Campbell, Kabba (Robinson 73), Mansaram (Livingstone 63)
Subs not used: Allaway, Rowan
Marshall, Makin, McGreal, Brown, Clapham, George, Holland, Tommy Miller ( Ambrose 45), Wright, Counago ( Armstrong 72), Marcus Bent
Subs not used: Pullen, Gaardsoe, Westlake
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