Armstrong sets Royle a poser

FA Premier Reserve League (South)Ipswich Town Res 2Southampton Res 0ALUN Armstrong gave the watching Joe Royle something to ponder after knocking in a double which saw off Southampton at Playford Road in the first reserve league game of the season, writes Derek Davis.

FA Premier Reserve League (South)

Ipswich Town Res 2

Southampton Res 0

ALUN Armstrong gave the watching Joe Royle something to ponder after knocking in a double which saw off Southampton at Playford Road in the first reserve league game of the season, writes Derek Davis.


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The former Middlesbrough striker opened the scoring two minutes after the break with a brilliant near-post header from an excellent Nabil Abidallah corner.

The second was equally well taken after pouncing on a knock-down to drive in from 15 yards with his left foot.

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He later admitted he should have had a hat-trick after seeing one shot cleared off the line, a free-kick shave a post and a good header loop on to the roof of the net.

Whether his brace will be good enough to prompt Royle to put him in the 16 for Saturday's home game with Coventry City is another matter.

While the Town boss has warned current top trio Pablo Counago, Marcus Bent and Darren Bent that they need to start converting chances, he has made it clear the future for free-transfer listed Armstrong lays elsewhere.

Jermaine Wright called in sick and pulled out of the starting line-up complaining of an upset stomach.

He was not missed as Adem Atay stepped into a young energetic Blues midfield who showed terrific movement, pace and accurate passing.

Youngster such as Erkan Okay and Gerard Nash also impressed, while evergreen John McGreal breezed through the game looking fit, strong and competent.

They stretched the Saints in the first half and were unfortunate not to convert any of the chances that fell to them. Ian Westlake, coming in from the left, could have scored from an Armstrong cross. Atay beat the keeper with a chip but it landed on the roof of the net. Antonio Murray rapped the crossbar with a terrific 25-yard shot after the break when Saints gave Town problems.

Andy Marshall made a couple of excellent saves to keep a clean sheet, including turning away a Chris Baird free-kick near the end. Baird played in last season's FA Cup Final and the Saints also included Marians Pahars who went off with a groin strain and were skippered by the experienced Francis Benali.

Ipswich Town: Marshall, Okay, Richards (Barron, 54) Murray (Kamara, 72) McGreal, Nash, Abidallah, Atay (Hogg, 80), Armstrong, Bowditch and Westlake. Substitutes not used: Reid, Flack, Price and Morrow.

Southampton: Blayney, Green, Benali, Baird, Byles (Mills, 22) Williamson, Gillett, Folly, Pahars (Poke, 30) Griffit and Surman (Anaclet (80) Subs not used: Hunt and Gleeson.

Referee: Norman Appleby (Herts )

Attendance: 250 (estimated)

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