Football: Johnson brings joy to Burley

Ipswich Town 1 Johnson 69 Bolton Wanderers 0 Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 17,696
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The Independent Online
IF GEORGE BURLEY was looking for comfort after last season's play- off semi-final defeat by Bolton, the Ipswich manager might derive some pleasure from his side's disciplined display at Portman Road yesterday.

Pitched against Colin Todd, the manager who denied Burley a Premiership place, this was Ipswich's first real test of the season and they stuck to their task despite Bolton's steely defence. The First Division leaders were rewarded with the game's only goal after 68 minutes when David Johnson scored his fifth of the campaign.

Ipswich began the match playing with the confidence and control which have elevated them to the top of the table. From the first minute, the partnership of Johnson and Richard Naylor, which has produced seven goals in the opening three games, was again in evidence.

Naylor was unmarked in the Bolton area with fewer than 30 seconds gone, but skewed his shot wide of Keith Branagan. He then turned provider, playing a neat one-two with Johnson who shot straight at the keeper. Bolton, without their transfer-listed striker Dean Holdsworth, looked dangerous on the break. Ricardo Gardner, sporting colour-coded boots, posed a threat down the left with his pace but his talents were wasted on the static frontline of Bob Taylor and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Ipswich showed few signs of a breakthrough after their opening spell and the pretty passing game which has become their hallmark clearly lacked impetus. The defender Mark Venus thought he had provided it when he moved the ball through midfield. Naylor dummied but Johnson's shot was easily saved.

Bolton threatened early in the second half when Gudjohnsen's half-volley was well saved by the England keeper Richard Wright who also dived at the feet of Neil Cox after the full-back received a pass inside the box.

After an hour, Jermaine Wright, the pounds 500,000 replacement for Kieron Dyer, drove forward and his swirling shot was tipped on to a post by Branagan. Naylor pounced on the rebound but the keeper already had the ball gathered. Ipswich were not to be denied and eight minutes later Johnson gave them the lead. The striker raced on to a long ball from Jamie Clapham to rob Mike Whitlow before rounding Andy Todd and slipping the ball past Branagan.

Manuel Thetis became the first player sent off in matches between these two sides when he brought down Gudjohnsen eight minutes from time. The Frenchman earned his second yellow card for the offence but Ipswich clung on to the three points despite a late effort from Cox which whistled over the bar.

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