Football: Ipswich invasion

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The Independent Online
Ipswich Town. . . . . . .1

Marshall 60

Swindon Town. . . . . . .1

Fjortoft 15

Attendance: 14,934

TIMES are pretty bad at Ipswich when the home fans invade the pitch mobbing their players in celebration of a 1-1 draw with Swindon. But although a single point might seem cause for delight after eight games without a win, it was not surprising that the mood of the 200-odd pitch-invaders soon turned from pleasure to protest.

What they had seen was yet another uninspiring performance from a team that earlier this season could mix it - and often sweetly - with the best, but they are now at risk of relegation, especially with Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester United and Blackburn being their three remaining fixtures.

This is the second time the fans have demonstrated their frustration, and their demands were for the heads of those deemed responsible - the Portman Road board and Mick McGiven, the manager - and for a return to the style of passing football that Ipswich teams traditionally play.

For Swindon, who were the better side for much of the match, the draw is not enough, though results elsewhere mean that relegation is not a certainty. John Gorman, ever the motivator, though, was not to be kidded by mathematical possibilities and he talked not of survival but of his ambition to be promoted straight back to the Premiership in a year's time.

At least Swindon would go down with pride, he said, and indeed there was plenty of that in their first-half performance, with John Moncur establishing himself clearly as the most accomplished midfielder on the pitch. Chris Kiwomya had an early header hit the top of the crossbar, but Swindon's superiority paid off after 14 minutes when Craig Forrest, the Ipswich goalkeeper, spoiled a shot from Moncur, allowing Jan Age Fjortoft to dash in and tuck home the goal.

The second half was much more Ipswich's, with Simon Milton stepping up for three consecutive cracks at goal. The first was well saved, the second went just wide and when the third was blocked by Vic Callow, the referee, it seemed right that Ipswich's equaliser should soon follow, with Milton starting the move.

His pass found Gavin Johnson on the byline and he cut the ball back to Ian Marshall, who had all the time he could have wanted to pick his spot and fire home from six yards.

The goal, a triumph of sweet, simple passing that Ipswich eschewed for most of the game, had the frustrated fans roaring in relief and urging the Suffolk side on to another. It did not come, and it was the supporters, not their team, who had the last word.