Ipswich Town. . 1
IPSWICH may have made themselves a reputation as one of the more aesthetically challenged Premiership sides but organisation they have in spades. Which was quite enough to confound a desperately limp Aston Villa.
Gavin Johnson's eighth- minute goal gave Ipswich only their second league win in 10 games - a decent answer to last week's 5-1 drubbing by Arsenal and their eviction from the FA Cup by Wolves.
Mick McGiven had responded by giving a debut to the 20- year-old Lee Durrant and bringing in Johnson, Paul Mason and Phil Whelan. He was amply rewarded. 'I couldn't have asked for more - they gave everything, played some good football and deserved their victory,' the manager said.
They had the best chances - the only chances - although the one from which they scored was the most unlikely. Mark Bosnich has proved himself well-nigh unbeatable from eight yards, stopping five out of six penalties not including his three shoot-out saves against Tranmere. But 20 yards proved more of a problem as Johnson's sketchy left-footed bobbler beat him at the near post to general astonishment. There was a hint of a deflection but the Australian went down as clumsily as Birmingham City. On second thoughts Villa's second-city neighbours are going down much quicker.
Bosnich could have been punished again shortly before half-time when he advanced from his area and then had to sound the retreat. He was saved when Ian Marshall's attempted lob was driven straight at him.
Having established their lead, Ipswich were content to withdraw into their shell, concentrating on making life difficult for Villa. They did not need any help. They were painfully laboured and with a little over an hour gone both substitutes were on although Andy Townsend had been withdrawn with an ankle injury at half-time. Villa at last began to produce some crosses but the most dangerous was at the other end where Chris Kiwomya should have buried the easiest of chances from the ubiquitous Johnson's precise centre.
Balding head belying his 23 years, the left-back had spent five games in the reserves. 'He has got his appetite and his zest back,' McGiven added.
Villa's hopes of finishing third and reaching Europe continue to recede and all eyes now turn to their trip to Wembley in two weeks' time.Reuse content