Football: Thompson inspires Ipswich

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The Independent Online
Portsmouth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Ipswich Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

THERE will be no cup heroics from Portsmouth this season - at least not in the Coca-Cola variety of knock-out competition. Ipswich came aplundering down on the south coast last night, did their damage early, and withstood a fearsome second-half battering in which the country's leading marksman, Guy Whittingham, did everything but score, to return home with a place in the fourth round.

These two teams were promotion rivals last season but now Ipswich, thriving on their higher status, were able to exhibit a greater sense of skill and teamwork that saw them take an immediate hold on the game. They were ahead after only seven minutes.

Clever interchanging is a feature of their game and Chris Kiwomya timed his run perfectly to take advantage of a lacerating through ball from Steve Whitton. The Welsh defender, Kit Symons, was penalised for holding back the striker and the offence, 25 yards from goal, did not appear to carry the threat to Alan Knight that was to materialise so spectacularly.

The full-back Neil Thompson let fly direct from the free-kick, the ball carried at some force over the defensive wall and over the goalkeeper, ricocheting off the underside of the bar before bouncing over the line.

It was some time before Portsmouth could announce themselves as an attacking force, a force that had yielded 12 goals in the previous five games.

They had been helped to those statistics by the return to form of the winger Mark Chamberlain. In the 26th minute he combined with Warren Aspinall to deliver a cross which found Alan McLoughlin rising at the far post. He was unable, however, to keep his header down and on target.

The pressure was building on Ipswich's lead and at last came reminders of the scoring potential of Whittingham, who has hit 16 goals this season. Three minutes into the second half, he challenged Clive Baker to Simons's accurate centre, won the ball cleanly, only to find the ever-alert John Wark mopping up on the line behind him.

Pompey were now encamped in the Ipswich half and an equaliser seemed inevitable. A double save from Baker kept out Whittingham at the far post, first blocking his header, then stopping his follow- up attempt with his feet.

Portsmouth: Knight; Awford, Daniel, McLoughlin, Symons, Aspinall (Walsh, 64), Neill, Chamberlain, Clarke, Whittingham, Maguire. Substitute not used: Burns.

Ipswich Town: Baker; Johnson, Thompson, Stockwell, Wark, Linighan, Williams, Goddard (Gregory, 89), Whitton, Dozzell, Kiwomya. Substitute not used: Whelan.

Referee: R Milford (Bristol).

(Photograph omitted)

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