Football: Ipswich power on in style

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Ipswich Town. . .4

Leeds United. . .2

THERE could have been few finer advertisements for the virtues of the English game than this demonstration of almost incessant attacking football. From first to last it was full of passion, strength and skill, and though Leeds were eventually well beaten they made a significant contribution to an afternoon of rare entertainment.

Ipswich's inspiration, John Wark, who would have had a hat-trick but for a superb late save by John Lukic, felt that the victory confirmed Ipswich's coming of age in the Premier League. He thought it was realistic to anticipate that his team, who have lost only one game this season, would finish 'in the top six'.

After Leeds had almost managed to establish an early ascendancy, Ipswich took the lead with a goal after 25 minutes that was the result of a series of defensive errors. Initially, Chris Whyte gave the ball away inside his own half and Jason Dozzell's pass sent Paul Goddard, returning after a four-game absence with a knee injury, sprinting towards the penalty area. Although Goddard's shot was turned over by Lukic, from the resulting Neil Thompson corner Kiwomya found it surprisingly easy to nip into space on the edge of the six-yard box and score with a straightforward downward header.

That kind of defensive uncertainty continued and it was hardly surprising when Ipswich scored a second goal after 36 minutes. From a free-kick, conceded when Chris Fairclough fouled Kiwomya a couple of yards beyond the left side of the penalty area, John Wark sent a viciously swerving drive past the wall and though Lukic got a hand to the ball, the power and spin of the shot was enough to carry it over the line.

Ipswich were helped by a Leeds side continuing in their self-destructive vein. Two minutes before the interval, David Batty, who was continuing in his unlikely role at right-back, fouled Goddard almost on the goal-line and Wark dispatched the penalty into the roof of the net.

To Leeds's credit, they maintained their commitment to attack and were rewarded after 55 minutes when Gary McAllister's long, low cross from the right was guided by Chapman's thigh past Craig Forrest and just inside the near post. That gave greater respectability to the scoreline and, frankly, greater justice.

With 25 minutes remaining, Leeds forced their way back in contention, albeit for a brief period. Strachan's corner from the right missed Chapman but Gary Speed, making a late run into the danger area, headed the ball high into the net.

For a while Ipswich seemed to lose their self-belief. But their veteran midfielder, Wark, quickly restored it. Finding space for the umpteenth time on the right flank, he drove a cross deep into the heart of the Leeds penalty area and Dozzell, not for the first time getting goal-side of his marker, placed his header precisely in the corner.

Ipswich Town: C Forrest; P Whelan, N Thompson, M Stockwell, J Wark, D Linighan, G Williams, P Goddard, G Johnson, J Dozzell, C Kiwomya. Subs not used: E Youds, G Pennyfather, C Baker (gk). Team manager: M McGiven.

Leeds United: J Lukic; S Sellars (D Rocastle, 71 min), A Dorigo, D Batty, C Fairclough, C Whyte, G Strachan, E Cantona, L Chapman, G McAllister, G Speed. Subs not used: J Newsome, M Day (gk). Manager: H Wilkinson.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).

Goals: Kiwomya (1-0, 25 min); Wark (2-0, 36 min); Wark pen (3-0, 43 min); Chapman (3-1, 55 min); Speed (3-2, 65 min); Dozzell (4-2, 71 min).

(Photograph omitted)