LINES FROM LONDON V IPSWICH



Saturday's result was a great one but the match itself was grim on the whole. This evening's game will be a major test and if we win, then I'll start to seriously consider that we have a chance of promotion. Hull's match is postponed so we can catch up on them while Lincoln are playing Portsmouth so something has to give there. Ipswich have lost two already so we shouldn't be too afraid of them and we do keep creating plenty of chances even if we fail to convert most of them. I really liked Scowen but in recent games he's gone off the boil and he missed three good chances against Gillingham so I'd prefer that he didn't start tonight. The way Diamond smashed his goal in against Carlisle showed that he at least knows how to hit the target and I, like many, would like to see him on at some stage tonight. It was great that we got back to not conceding on Saturday but I think we'll probably let one in tonight and getting my hopeful head on, my match prediction is a 2-1 win.

When I got the team-news around 6.15, I saw the only change was Maguire in and O'Brien out, which seemed a good idea, so Willis' injury was clearly ongoing. I tuned into SAFSEE only to hear that the match had been postponed till 7.30 for technical reasons so I hoped that wouldn't affect our players' focus. Anyway, both Charlton and Portsmouth were 1-0 up in the first ten minutes. I was pleased to hear that Ipswich defender Nsiala had given away a penalty in each of the last two games so I hoped he'd make it three in a row.

We won the first corner of the game in the seventh minute but it was cleared though a minute later we were ahead. A Gooch cross was met by Wyke and he got the better of a defender to drive the ball under goalkeeper Holy. Wyke's really coming good now and as his confidence must be high, here's to many more. Let's hope Danny Graham can come good too. News came through that Fleetwood had pulled two goals back against Charlton to make it 2-2 and that was pleasing. Nothing much happened for around ten minutes but Ipswich were attacking in a patient way without creating any chances and Ward seemed to be in the thick of their moves. Then Scowen got himself into a good position to meet a Hume cross but he headed over. By the midway point we were still comfortable. Scowen conceded a free-kick just outside our box but it hit our wall and the danger was gone. It turned out the free-kick had hit Scowen right in the face so he needed some treatment before carrying on. We won our second corner in the twenty-ninth minute but it was eventually cleared. Soon Wyke had a decent header but it went just over the bar. In the thirty-eighth minute Lankester got the equalizer when out ot nothing he hit a shot across Burge and into the far corner. Maybe Burge was feeling a bit rusty, having had little to do, but he should have done better. We'd allowed Ipswich to have too much time on the ball and after their goal they livened up and won their first corner. Wyke got it away but Ipswich kept the pressure up for a while. There were two minutes of stoppage-time and I was glad that was all as we'd lost control of the game and Burge had to save well in the last minute after Wright and Hume got themselves mixed up.

By the time we kicked off again Portsmouth were 3-0 up at Lincoln while Charlton had regained the lead and Peterborough were also winning so we really needed to pull our socks up and get a second goal. Power had replaced Scowen, quite possibly because of that injury he'd had. Early on Ipswich had a penalty appeal waved away when Lankester went down near the edge of our box and we breathed again. Wyke was down injured for a minute or so but he recovered, thankfully. From our third corner, twelve minutes in, Flanagan flicked it over the bar and next thing Burge fluffed a stop and had to hastily put the ball out for a throw. Then I thought we were going to concede when Flanagan lost the ball but Lankester failed to capitalise on it. We'd done bugger all to threaten and with twenty-five minutes to go we really needed to make a change or two to put some pep into our side. We soon brought Graham on for Maguire, who'd failed to get into the match disappointingly. Suddenly Ipswich were down to ten men when Dozzell clattered into Leadbitter and the replay showed that his studs were up. I'd thought we were never going to get that winner but my hope was rekindled and with at least fifteen minutes to go we had plenty of time to do it in.

We had our first chance all half but Wyke lobbed his shot over the bar and we then got our first yellow-card when Leadbitter was booked for a foul. It was a scrappy game but we still had one more substitution to make to try and make that vital difference. In the eighty-third minute we were awarded a penalty for the second match in a row, for handball in this case, and Leadbitter rolled it into the corner to put us ahead. O'Brien had been waiting to come on but after the goal he sat back down again. Could we hold out for six more minutes? It was going to be nervy. I was glad that we didn't sit back and we went close when Graham fed Wyke but he put it over again. Ipswich got their second corner with about a minute left and it led immediately to another corner as we entered stoppage-time. We replaced Gooch with Sanderson and five minutes of stoppage-time were announced, which wasn't exactly music to my ears. We held out, though, and it ended 2-1.

This was a great result, but it has to be said it was no classic. Can we have a penalty and a member of the opposition red-carded every game, please?


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