Football: Croft caps promising debut with goal that sinks City

Ipswich 2 Manchester City 1

A WINNING goal on his debut from Ipswich's pounds 800,000 signing from Blackburn, Gary Croft, gave the Portman Road faithful reason to rejoice yesterday afternoon.

Victory lifted the home side above City on to the shoulder of the First Division leaders, Birmingham City, with the satisfactory by-product of ending the visitors' run of five successive League wins.

The goal itself, in the 67th minute, was something of a fluke, as Croft's shot from the edge of the box, deflected beyond Nicky Weaver's reach off the legs of City's central defender, Richard Jobson.

But the circumstances did nothing to dampen the celebration of the former England Under-21 defender, whose career has lost impetus in the last couple of years. The goal was a bonus for Croft, who demonstrated the versatility for which he was bought by Ipswich's manager, George Burley, in what was his first match of the season.

After starting on the left of midfield, Croft was switched to left-back and then across to right-back in the course of the second half. "He's a very good acquisition," Burley said. "He's desperate to play first-team football. It shines out of him. And that's the kind of spirit we need."

With funds to play with following Kieron Dyer's pounds 6.5m departure to Newcastle, Burley plans to strengthen his squad still further as he seeks to take his side further than the First Division play-offs. "It's a very competitive league," he said. "There are a number of clubs fighting for the top six places, never mind the top two."

Until Croft's fortuitous strike, this closely contested game appeared to be heading for stalemate after City had re-couped the home side's half- time lead through the opportunism of Shaun Goater, who made the most of Paul Dickov's 50th-minute break-away down the left-hand side.

Ipswich had gone ahead three minutes from half-time when David Johnson had risen above Lee Crooks to head a picture goal from Fabian Wilnis' right-wing cross, achieving such power that Weaver could only push the ball further into the top corner of the net.

City's manager, Joe Royle, believed his side were unfortunate to suffer their first league defeat of the season. "It was very tight, and I felt we were worth a point," he said.

Royle, too, foresees a long, hard struggle this season as he attempts to maintain his side's upward mobility. "Nobody will run away with it like Sunderland did last season," he said.

Royle was able, however, to contrast his side's performance with that they gave against Ipswich 19 months ago, when they lost 2-1 at home in what was his first game in charge at Maine Road. "Ipswich were light years ahead then," he said. "They aren't now."

Goals: Johnson (43) 1-0; Goater (50) 1-1; Croft (67) 2-1.

Ipswich Town (1-3-4-2): R Wright; Holland; Wilnis (Brown, 76), Thetis, Venus; Stockwell (Naylor, 82), Magilton, J Wright (Clapham, h-t), Croft; Scowcroft, Johnson. Substitutes not used: Salmon, Axeldal.

Manchester City (3-5-2): Weaver; Crooks, Wiekens, Jobson; Kennedy, Whitley, Bishop (Cooke, 76), Horlock, Tiatto (Granville, 77); Goater, Dickov. Substitutes not used: Alsopp, Taylor, McKinney.

Referee: A. D'Urso (Billericay).

Bookings: Ipswich Venus, Wilnis, Johnson. Manchester City Tiatto, Wiekens.

Man of the match: Croft.

Attendance: 19,406.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower