Plymouth Argyle. .1
THIS funny old game can be a right so-and-so even to those like Peter Shilton, who, at 43 and with a lifetime's magnificent service behind him, is deserving of better.
At Portman Road last night the grand old man of goalkeepers stepped out for his 83rd FA Cup tie and saw his team from the Second Division carry enough wit and attacking intent to have brought about a genuine surprise.
Instead Shilton, the Plymouth player-manager, headed back to his Devon outpost cursing the two late goals which ruined the third-round contest for him just as he was enjoying the spectacle of Clive Baker, in the opposite goal, working overtime to keep the Premier Leaguers in the chase. Ipswich now visit Tranmere in the fourth round.
He reminded us he is still capable of those special saves that illuminated all his yesterdays, a magnificent stop from Boncho Genchev at the start of the second half inspiring his men to take control. 'There's life in the old dog yet,' smiled Shilton afterwards, though he was clearly disappointed that their 'best performance of the season' found no reward.
Baker saved well in the second half from Steve Castle and then had to watch as Mike Evans went close. At that stage it was the underdogs who looked most likely to add to the early scoring but then suddenly Ipswich shook themselves out of their lethargy as the action transferred to the other end. Jason Dozzell, just one year old when Shilton was appearing in the 1969 Cup final for Leicester, headed home from Genchev's cross to put them back in front.
Even then Plymouth refused to submit and went on to enjoy their most productive period of the tie, though, to Shilton's mounting frustration, they were unable to turn promising opportunities into something tangible.
Kevin Nugent placed a header wide at the far post, Paul Dalton was through with only Baker to beat but allowed the keeper to save. From the corner Evans planted another headed opportunity astray. Then Chris Kiwomya dashed through and after he was held back by Steve McCall, Steve Whitton despatched the penalty with four minutes remaining.
Two magnificent strikes was the story of an even first half. Neil Thompson beat Shilton from 30 yards with a shot that swerved decisively after only six minutes play. In the 32nd minute Steve Castle proved just as accurate from distance with a free kick which evaded Baker's full-length attempt.
Ipswich Town: Baker; Johnson, Thompson, Stockwell, Wark (Youds, 87), Whelan, Williams, Genchev, Whitton, Dozzell, Kiwomya. Substitute not used: Goddard.
Plymouth Argyle: Shilton; McCall, Morgan, Hill, Morrison, Joyce, Skinner (Marshall, 76), Castle, Nugent, Evans, Dalton. Substitute not used: Edworthy.
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).Reuse content