Ben & Jerry look a tasty double act

IPSWICH Town's very own Ben & Jerry are looking forward to tickling the taste buds at Portman Road.Ben Patten and Jerome Sobers completed their move from Ryman League club Ford United this week and both made home debuts for the reserves in a 1-0 defeat by West Ham last night.

IPSWICH Town's very own Ben & Jerry are looking forward to tickling the taste buds at Portman Road, writes Derek Davis.

Ben Patten and Jerome Sobers completed their move from Ryman League club Ford United this week and both made home debuts for the reserves in a 1-0 defeat by West Ham last night.

The defensive duo, like the American ice cream, look tasty prospects, but in their first-ever interview admitted to being nervous after making their bow just hours after seeing the Ipswich stadium for the first time.

Patten, who was 18 on Monday, was just another student at Redbridge Technical College less than a fortnight ago before making the giant leap into professional football.


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He said: “It has all come as a big shock but it is starting to sink in now. The standards are much better than anything I'm used to - the stadium, the crowd, everything.

“It is already better than going to college every day. Instead I will be training and playing, it is incredible.”

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Sobers, 17, was not having much joy finding work as a painter and decorator, and had almost given up hope of achieving his schoolboy dream of becoming a professional footballer.

He said: “I really tried to make a go of it and now I have made the first big step. I didn't expect to play against Arsenal for the reserves so that was a big surprise, but once I got the first five minutes out of the way it went well.

“Now I know I have to keep trying, keep progressing. First to be a regular in the reserves then push for the first team.

“It really has been an incredible two weeks but so far it has been brilliant. This is my dream and I'm starting to live it.”

The pair have been inseparable since their pre-teens, having played for Ford's youth, reserve and first team, and represented Essex County and gone on trials together.

Ipswich moved quickly to take the pair from under the noses of Fulham, West Ham and QPR, who were among a number of clubs who showed an interest in them.

They were spotted by Town Academy coach Ian Smith, who acted on a tip-off and brought them to the club for trials.

Ford United have accepted a nominal fee for the two players, which will rise according to appearances and any subsequent international honours.

Town will also play two pre-season friendlies at the east London club as part of the package.

The duo are the first players to sign for Town from non-league game since Simon Milton joined from Bury Town in February 1987 - incidentally the same day that Blues chairman David Sheepshanks joined the club.

Patten and Sobers went on as 70th minute substitutes last night and after a nervous-looking start settled down well in a game Town were unfortunate to lose.

Sam Morrow was rightfully aggrieved to have a goal ruled out three minutes after the break when he got up well to head in a Scott Mitchell cross but was judged to have fouled a defender.

Moments later he got on the end of another good Mitchell cross but this time he directed it just wide.

Reserves skipper Mitchell went close himself in the first half with a powerful 30-yard drive, which went over the bar. Hammers keeper David Forde kept out Martijn Reuser strikes on three separate occasions.

Town custodian Lewis Price made a terrific save to deny Adam Nowland after he pounced on a dangerous pass by Chris Bart-Williams and got beyond Alfie Kamara for a clear run on goal.

Ipswich's annoyance with the officials grew when Kamara was denied a penalty after being tripped in the area and another when Anton Ferdinand appeared to handle.

Ferdinand, brother of banned Manchester United defender Rio, skippered the Hammers, who also included Michael Carrick's younger brother.

West Ham's winner came in the 72nd minute when French forward Sebastien Carole stroked home a Jobi McAnuff cross.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Price, Mitchell, Barron, Boardley, Collins (Patten, 70) Santos (Patten, 70) Reuser, Kamara, Counago, Morrow and Bart-Williams (Flack, 63) Unused subs: Abidallah and Peat.

West Ham Reserves: Forde, McClenahan, Quinn, Lee, Ferdinand, Lumsden, McAnuff, Lomas, Pearson, Nowland, Carole. Unused subs: McMahon, Behcet, Parrington, Tattam, Carrick, Bunce.

Referee: Patrick Miller (Flitwick, Bedfordshire).

Attendance: 847.

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