Football: Kiwomya delivers Suffolk punch

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Ipswich Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Blackburn Rovers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

IPSWICH TOWN inflicted more damage to the championship aims of those above them in the table - a number dwindling with every game - with two late goals that scuppered the notion that Blackburn could win even without the mercurial Alan Shearer.

The Premier League's prime predator was missing with a knee injury, his first absence in a season that has yielded 22 goals in 25 games, and left the scoring honours to an unlikely Bulgarian- Yorkshire combination of Boncho Genchev and Chris Kiwomya, a mouthful and a handful Rovers believed they had contained until the last frenetic 10 minutes.

Their double Suffolk punch was sufficient to take Ipswich to fifth place just five points behind Norwich, another of the leading lights whose ambition they have dimmed in a remarkable end to 1992. Just what is going on in East Anglia or, for that matter, the championship? Nobody seems capable of extending a winning run.

Blackburn arrived gaining momentum and admirers. They had their eyes on a return to the top if Norwich had slipped and they took a 73rd minute lead through a 25-yarder from Roy Wegerle, Shearer's replacement. Momentarily the pounds 3.3m striker was forgotten.

Genchev, a pounds 250,000 signing from Sporting Lisbon, rates as a genuine steal by comparision. The Bulgarian import was making only his second start and produced a spectacular equaliser seven minutes later with a bicycle- kick after Steve Whitton had headed on a long throw. His other touches and tactical awareness marked him out as a player with a big future here but Genchev's presence may yet be shortlived. His eligibility has become a matter of dispute; the Football Association demanding clarification from Ipswich over the international record on which his work permit was recently obtained. Initially it was understood he had 12 senior caps for his country. New information, however, indicates that he has played only 68 minutes, and that in a friendly.

Even Kenny Dalglish, the Blackburn manager, found the situation amusing and quipped afterwards: 'That goal has probably earned him his work permit.' At Portman Road, however, the subject is a prickly one, Mick McGiven, the team manager, cutting short his press conference and saying only: 'He is here, he's in the team, and he looks a good player. That's all that concerns me, the rest is nothing to do with me.'

Genchev's acrobatics reminded Ipswich that they are seldom overturned on home ground, just one reverse here during their impressive year. It may also have jogged their memories back to this same day 12 months ago when, in a Second Division promotion clash, they were a goal behind and yet won with five minutes to go through Jason Dozzell.

There were eight minutes left yesterday when Dozzell hoisted the ball forward. Bobby Mimms came a long way to punch but could only find Kiwomya who lifted the ball over two retreating defenders, one of whom, Tony Dobson, tried to palm the ball clear but only helped it in. It was Kiwomya's 13th goal, a tally that corresponds neatly with his team's unbeaten run.

Ipswich Town: Baker; Johnson, N Thompson, Stockwell, Wark, Linighan, Williams, Genchev, Whitton, Dozzell, Kiwomya. Substitutes not used: Goddard, Whelan, Winters (gk).

Blackburn Rovers: Mimms; May, Wright, Atkins, Hendry, Marker, Sherwood, Cowans (Ripley, 83), Wegerle, Newell, Wilcox (Dobson, 80). Substitutes not used: Collier (gk).

Referee: A Gunn (Sussex).