Football: Roy wins respect

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Ipswich Town. . . . 0

Nottingham Forest. .1

Roy 40

Attendance: 18,882

ONE of the key questions of the new Premiership campaign was answered early. Ipswich no longer have an unerring talent for sending spectators into a deep sleep. Unfortunately for them they are still fairly inept.

Their willingness to move out of their own half yesterday was not accompanied by much finishing skill. That probably cost them a point against Nottingham Forest.

The goal which won it for the side returning to the top division after a year's absence was quite glorious but it came almost exactly mid-way through a fitful display which lacked impetus as much as great skill.

For just over 30 minutes the sides treated each other with an odd, mutual respect - something to do with the new regulations, perhaps. There were a few opportunities at either end but many more missed passes, with both midfields guilty.

It was as though Forest then realised that the season had begun. Between the 34th and 36th minute they had four clear chances. Two were tipped over the bar by Craig Forrest - the first from Jason Lee's shot was especially smart - and two were cleared off the line. The goal came at the end of this bright patch, in the 40th minute, and was scored by the new Dutch signing Brian Roy. Largely unimpressive for Holland during the World Cup, it was natural that he should look uncomfortable in unfamiliar company in yesterday's opening exchanges, but on receiving the ball on the edge of the area he left two defenders groping for air, glanced up and slickly cleared the goalkeeper.

It was a breathtaking goal which helped to salvage the game and represented a swift return on his fee. It also prompted Ipswich into being still more adventurous. They put the Forest central midfield and defence under fairly constant pressure but Chris Kiwomya, their most skilful player, hit the post in the 57th minute from six yards and curled a 12-yard shot wide 12 minutes later. Forest managed to hang on in some comfort but they can expect to find it a little harder from now on.