Swindon Town. . .1
(after extra time; score at 90 min 1-1)
IT IS heartbreaking to be a Swindon player, in the FA Cup now as well as the Premiership. After they had bravely fought back to earn extra-time through Jan Age Fjortoft's first goal for the club, Swindon finally came apart last night when a mis-kick by their goalkeeper, Nicky Hammond, gifted a goal to Ian Marshall and victory for Ipswich.
Displaying characteristically spirited commitment throughout, Swindon did not deserve to depart from the competition in such circumstances against an unconvincing Ipswich.
The through ball from Geraint Williams in the 107th minute was nicely-weighted and invited Marshall's powerful pursuit. Hammond was quickly off his line, but missed his attempted clearance and was left on his backside as Ipswich's leading scorer took his tally for the season to 11.
It left Ipswich anticipating a visit from Tottenham in the fourth round, assuming Peterborough do not pull off a major surprise at White Hart Lane tonight. Swindon return to the Premiership to make their remaining days there, for surely an escape from relegation is beyond them, as enjoyable as possible, while Fjortoft goes home to Norway wondering what might have been.
A pounds 500,000 signing last summer, Fjortoft had failed to make the scoresheet in five months and 21 appearances before last night. Restored to the starting line-up for the first time since 6 November, he saw a swerving first-half effort and a close-in jab after the interval denied by Craig Forrest's legs.
However in the 75th minute, he retained his composure to glide the ball home after the impressive Martin Ling had set him up. Three minutes later it was nearly two for the visitors when Nicky Summerbee rapped the post from a free- kick.
Ipswich had gained an interval lead through their stand- in striker, Mick Stockwell, after Gavin Johnson's shot had been parried.
They will not take much satisfaction from this win and in the end, as more shooting opportunities slipped away in extra-time, they were thankful for Hammond's assistance.
Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Stockwell, Youds, Wark, Linighan, Thompson; Mason (Whitton, 80), Williams, Johnson, Slater; Stockwell, Marshall. Substitutes not used: Palmer, Baker (gk).
Swindon Town (4-4-2): Hammond; Fenwick, Whitbread, Taylor, Horlock; Summerbee, Nijholt, Ling, Bodin; Mutch, Fjortoft (Maskell, 80). Substitutes not used: MacLaren, Cook (gk).
Referee: J Worrall (Warrington).Reuse content