Doogie`s Derby-day strike
Doogie`s Derby-day strike fails to halt Tractor Boys
Ipswich Town (1) 3 Colchester United (1) 2
Lee, 31 (Pen)
Iwelumo 90 (Pen)
Saturday, 20th January 2007
Matthew Calmus, Portman Road
A finish from Colchester skipper Karl Duguid was not enough to put the brakes on a Tractor Boys home revival, as the U`s brought around 2,000 travelling fans over the Suffolk border for the 'A12 Derby`.
The paying public, who could not complain about a lack of goals at a near-full Portman Road, saw Ipswich equalise through top-scorer (11 goals) Alan Lee, from the spot. Two further strikes -by veteran Sylvan Legwinksi, and late Town sub Danny Haynes- sealed the points, rendering Chris Iwelumo`s 90-minute penalty merely a consolation goal.
The opening ten minutes - surprisingly dominated by Colchester - saw the U`s give away three fouls in looking to get amongst the opposition. Hogan Ephraim, this week extending his loan spell from West Ham, looked desperate to prove that his selection (in place of Jamie Cureton, kept out by a hamstring injury) was no fluke.
Colchester duly took the lead through Karl Duguid after a quarter-of-an-hour, with a drilled right-footed shot, from the left-side of the penalty area. Doogie`s second goal against Ipswich this season, stabbed home from twelve yards, gave United the advantage.
Ironically, the goal came just after Ipswich had looked the likelier to score; Jamie Peters put a fizzing drive impossibly wide. The Ipswich No. 12 made in-roads all afternoon, but no amount of pace could make up for this distinct lack of end product in the final third of the field. An apparently legitimate goal for Ipswich had also already been ruled out.
Town then began to assret themselves - after what their Manager Jim Megilton admitted was 'falling asleep' when conceding - and were fortunate to win a penalty with 29 minutes on the clock. Alan Lee converted from 12 yards, after the foul by a returning U`s man Gary Richards. Richards was making only his third start of the season.
The Colchester fans were very much awake in the Cobbalt stand, out-singing the home contingent early on. Approximately a thousand more from Essex did their best to lay low elsewhere in the ground, but some tested the patience of stewards in the crowd (expletive deleted) and were ejected accordingly.
There was little to do at half time but absorb the sheer size of Portman Road, and take in the cheerleading entertainment. The mind questioned the impact of the seating, especially when compared to Layer Road, because fine stadium though it is, atmosphere can suffer.
A high vantage point did emphasise the lightweight nature of the football, which, after this week`s harrowing wind conditions across the country, tended to resemble a balloon, - or beach ball - making the men between the sticks look like incredibly bad kickers.
After the re-start, former U`s loanee Billy Clark turned to fire a shot from the edge of the area, only for rookie goalkeeper Dean Gerken to pull off a fine save - no wonder he is keeping Davison out of the team. Gerken, however - whose key attribute is his agility - was found wanting on several occasions during the game. Town, having already hit the bar twice, were guilty of wanting to score a picture-book goal, when a simple tap-in might have sufficed.
Colchester were certainly missing the predatory threat of the prolific Cureton up front, which was shown by Geraint Williams` decision to replace a tired-looking Ephraim with Jamie Guy after just 63 minutes. By this time, Ipswich had taken the lead, with Legwinksi heading home a Gavin Williams corner, from six yards. Town added a third to their tally when substitute Haynes put the ball past Gerken, after an assist from the ever-present Peters, to make it 3-1.
United`s consolation goal was a Chris Iwelumo penalty. The U`s top goal-scorer dispatched his fifth spot-kick of the season after Ipswich new-boy David Wright, given a red card, had handballed on the line.
The final score made the short fifteen-mile trip to Suffolk worthwhile, and now only six points separate Colchester and Ipswich Town in the Championship standings. That cold stat just goes to prove the warmth and beauty of a claim that, in this division, any one side is capable of overturning another.