Kevin Beattie, once the most admired defender in English football and dubbed "the new Bobby Moore" during his short-lived pomp, knows a thing or two about centre-back play. On Saturday, after seeing David Unsworth marshal 10-man Burnley to a goalless draw at Portman Road, he heralded the 34-year-old former Everton, West Ham United, Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic man as the visitors' inspiration and the reason they became only the second team to return from Suffolk this season with a point.
"He was just about the oldest man on the field," said Beattie, now 54, who won a mere nine caps in an injury-hit career."But he made that look so easy. He read everything in front of him and organised them so well. He hardly had to break sweat."
It was, said Beattie, a supreme example of a defender demonstrating the art of an unfashionable job against an Ipswich Town side that, it has to be said, lacked width and wit as they failed to turn numerical advantage into goals.
Unsworth, winner of one England cap (against Japan in 2005), did not have to live up to his Evertonian nickname of "Rhino" as a naive Ipswich failed to break down a solid second-half resistance.
Indeed, more often than not, Ipswich's diagonal crosses appeared to be aimed at his head, or that of his central partner Steven Caldwell, on a bitterly cold afternoon that suggested Ipswich may need to dip into new owner Marcus Evans's 12m promotion war chest to boost their hopes of elevation. Pablo Counago lacked intelligent support and sorely needs a supplier.
The Burnley goalkeeper, Gabor Kiraly, he of the 1960s tracksuit bottoms, made a few smart saves and Tommy Miller drove against the bar in the first half before John Spicer was dismissed for a two-footed tackle on Jonathan Walters.
"It's not the end of the world," said the Ipswich manager Jim Magilton. "We've dropped a couple of points, but we're still unbeaten at home."
His counterpart Owen Coyle said: "Ipswich have a remarkable home record, so to get a point here in normal circumstances would have been a good result, but to do it after having a man sent off was magnificent.
"Ipswich have some very talented individual players, but we coped admirably and relatively comfortably. We showed real resilience and everyone learned a lot about the spirit in this team," said Coyle.
Ipswich (4-4-2): Alexander; Wright, Bruce, De Vos, Sito (Wilnis, 20); Walters, Miller, Garvan, Haynes (Williams, 74); Counago, Lee (Rhodes, 85). Substitutes not used: Supple (gk), Clarke.
Burnley (4-4-2): Kiraly; Alexander, Unsworth, Caldwell, Harley; Elliott, J O'Connor, Spicer, Lafferty; Blake (Jones, 60), Gray (Akinbiyi, 70). Substitutes not used: Jensen (gk), G O'Connor, Jordan.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Burnley J O'Connor, Alexander, Elliott.
Sent off: Burnley Spicer (45).
Man of the match: Unsworth.
Attendance: 20,077.Reuse content