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Report: Ipswich 2-1 Spurs

Posted on 14 January 2002  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Sometimes football just ain't fair.

No points, two injuries and just to rub it in John McGreal, the Ipswich defender whose actions prompted Teddy Sheringham's red card in the reverse fixture at the Lane three weeks and therefore to sit this out, headed home the winner.

In a week where we'd already lost Steffen Freund for a lengthy spell with a knee injury, the last thing we needed was more casualties.

But it took only 20 minutes for Les Ferdinand to make Glenn Hoddle's worst nightmare a reality.

With no-one around him, the in-form striker collapsed in a heap and eight minutes later hobbled off.

Christian Ziege started hobbling after a challenge with Matt Holland and was replaced at half-time.

Despite that, this was hardly a contest in terms of possession. Our passing was more fluent and in these eyes, we looked the better team.

But in the end we were undone by not one but two headers from corners.

To have only a point to show for our efforts seemed a little harsh but to travel home pointless with another two injuries was just taking it too far.

There were changes aplenty from Wednesday's defeat at Chelsea.

Most notably, Neil Sullivan took over in goal from Kasey Keller, Dean Richards, cup-tied at Stamford Bridge, came in for Anthony Gardner and Sergei Rebrov started up front with Ferdinand with Simon Davies joining Keller and Gardner on the bench.

Tim Sherwood continued in midfield in place of injured Steffen Freund.

We dominated the early proceedings without causing too much alarm only for Town to grab the lead from their first attack.

Marcus Bent paved the way for the goal after 11 minutes with a delightful turn to win a corner off Ledley King. Mark Venus whipped in the corner and Bent, unchallenged eight yards out, emphatically headed home.

The scoreline was hardly reflective of the balance of power and we were straight back on the front foot after the goal.

Darren Anderton's free-kick caused all sorts of problems without the loose ball falling kindly and Les Ferdinand's header under pressure from Venus looped up nicely for Andy Marshall.

Then the sight no-one wanted to see as Ferdinand collapsed went down. He managed to battle on for another eight minutes but clearly in trouble, was replaced by Steffen Iversen with 28 minutes on the clock.

In-between the injury and substitution, Chris Perry needed to be at his best to avert danger as Alun Armstrong burst onto Bent's clever flick and Gus Poyet's speculative half-volley from 40 yards sailed over.

Iversen wasted no time in making an impact, his delightful curling cross fell perfectly for Rebrov but he failed to hit the target from eight yards.

The home side should have extended their lead after 33 minutes. Sherwood's clearance hit Holland who fed Martjn Reuser, he turned Perry and aimed for the top corner, Sullivan tipped that away only to the head of Bent - who did the gentlemanly thing and nodded into the recovering keeper's arms.

We continued to look the more fluent of the two teams as Rebrov's 25-yarder was safely collected by Marshall but, worryingly, Ziege finished the half limping after a challenge with Holland.

As expected, Ziege didn't make it for the start of the second half and Davies came on as we were forced into another change. Ex-Spur Jamie Clapham also came on for Reuser.

We came out brightly again and took just three minutes to carve out the first chance of the half. Good movement from Iversen created it as he slid a fine pass to Rebrov, 12 yards out, but the shot was skied over.

Ipswich, almost playing on the break, caught us again after 51 minutes. Bent rolled the ball into Armstrong, picked up the return and was through on Sullivan but curled his attempt inches wide.

Sullivan then produced the save of the season. Jermaine Wright hooked a cross in on the volley, Bent met it full on just eight yards out but Sullivan somehow palmed the effort wide.

Just a minute later and we had the ball in the net. Taricco fed Poyet and his cross was flicked home on the diving header by Rebrov only for the offside flag to rule it out. Television monitors above the press box suggested it was the right decision.

But we only had to wait another minute to get our deserved goal. Rebrov played a full part as he received Anderton's pass with McGreal all over him but he held him off, found Poyet and the Uruguayan drilled the ball past Marshall on his near post. Just over 30 minutes left and it was all square.

The dangerous Bent threatened again, this time his shot deflected wide and Anderton let fly from 30 yards, a matter of inches wide.

Referee Matt Massias, seemingly struggling with cramp, then left the field of play, replaced by Rob Styles.

The crushing blow came with 10 minutes left. Venus swung in a corner and McGreal, 10 yards out, headed home with Sullivan helpless.

We continued to press, Rebrov fired just wide and Poyet went close again, but in the end Town could have made it even worse as Stewart and Clapham conspired to miss Bent's cross with the goal gaping.