Football: Ipswich Town 3 Nottingham Forest 1 - Slick Ipswich punish pitiful Forest

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The Independent Online
WARM-DOWNS, dieticians, nutritionalists, fitness trainers and sprint trainers. It is fair to say David Platt has got everything a modern day footballer requires at the City Ground, except that rare ability to win games.

The former England captain, hailed as Nottingham Forest's saviour when he replaced Ron Atkinson as manager, has imposed a new regime at the club, techniques he no doubt encountered during his time in Italy's Serie A.

The five tortuous months he endured at Sampdoria have done little to dampen his spirits and he has even hinted at a playing return when he recovers from a minor knock.

However, to succeed where others have failed, Platt might do well to follow the lead of his opposite number on Saturday, Ipswich Town's George Burley.

The canny Scot spent wisely this summer, utilising the pounds 6m raised from the sale of Kieron Dyer to Newcastle with the purchase of Crewe's Jermaine Wright (pounds 500,000) and Tranmere's John McGreal (pounds 750,000) to confirm the club's ambition as promotion contenders.

Burley has missed out on the promised land by virtue of the play-off lottery in each of the last three seasons and is keen to avoid the system again. His reluctance to spend heavily attracted criticism of the club's ambition but Burley is patient enough to know that his, and Ipswich's, time will come.

Platt, meanwhile, has been occupied disposing of the cash which was made available when the club appointed their new board of directors in the close season. Riccardo Scimeca, a pounds 3m signing from Aston Villa, and the pounds 2.5m Italians Salvatore Matrecano and Gianluca Petrachi were all on show and provided evidence of Forest's spending power. But the Italians - including a free transfer signing, Massimo Mannini - were particularly disappointing, their lack of pre-season training having a profound effect on their performance.

Ipswich's slick passing had the visitors chasing shadows, and, once the impressive Richard Naylor had opened the scoring with a header, the result was never in doubt. David Johnson added a second from Naylor's elegant knockdown and James Scowcroft sealed the win in the second half before the Forest captain Chris Bart-Williams pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Of little surprise was Platt's declaration after this miserable performance that "the signings had not stopped there". Quite how a team that won promotion from the First Division becomes a team incapable of surviving in it is anybody's guess, but Platt plans to make wholesale changes at the City Ground.

Of the 11 who started the season in Forest colours, very few are likely to see the end of it wearing them. The question is, will Platt's Forest revolution eventually usurp Burley's evolution? Only time will tell.

Goals: Naylor (18) 1-0; Johnson (20) 2-0; Scowcroft (71) 3-0; Bart-Williams (pen76) 3-1.

Ipswich Town (3-5-2): R Wright; Thetis, Venus, McGreal; Stockwell (Wilnis, 80), Clapham, Holland, J Wright, Scowcroft; Johnson (Axeldal, 85), Naylor. Substitutes not used: Salmon (gk), Brown, Friars.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Louis-Jean, Bonalair (Harewood, 46), Mannini, Matrecano; Scimeca, Quashie, Bart-Williams, Rogers; Petrachi (Allou, 71), Freedman. Substitutes not used: Beasant (gk), Burns, Dawson.

Referee: P Richards (Preston). Bookings: Ipswich: McGreal. Forest: Matrecano, Louis-Jean, Bart-Williams.

Man of the match: Naylor.

Attendance: 20,830.