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?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power