Black brings out the best in Super Blues

IF THIS is what wearing Black does for the Blues then make them wear it all the time.After an excellent and even first 45 minutes Town came from behind to batter Rangers into submission.

By Derek Davis

IF THIS is what wearing Black does for the Blues then make them wear it all the time.

After an excellent and even first 45 minutes Town came from behind to batter Rangers into submission.

Jim Magilton has been seeing red after being in the red points-wise - one from a possible 12 - but chose black, producing a winning side that turned in a jackpot performance.

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Even before the three goals Ipswich had hit the post twice through Gavin Williams and Billy Clarke and the passion, belief and sheer desire and quality was pure excellence.

To pull a performance out of the bag after all that had gone before was outstanding and can only bode well for the rest of the campaign.

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The Rangers goal, when it came, was cruel on Town who were momentarily without Alex Bruce who was having a blood wound cleaned up. Dexter Blackstock peeled around the back behind Clarke and Kevin Gallen somehow bundled the ball in past Price.

But two minutes later Town were deservedly level when Gavin Williams went down easily with Damion Stewart nearby.

Simon Walton despatched the spot kick with confidence to beat Jones and find his first Blues goal after joining on loan from Charlton.

Five minutes later Town went ahead when skipper Jason De Vos capped a magnificent display by finishing left-footed after Alan Lee flicked on a Mark Noble corner.

Even better was to come when Williams again surged into the box and although his shot was deflected it bounced up for Dean Bowditch to nod in for his first goal in 21 months and more than 40 games for Ipswich.

Although he has scored while on loan at Burnley and Wycombe Wanderers, Bowditch's last Blues goal was at Coventry in November 2004.

It had been a pulsating first half, played at a terrific tempo and after soaking up some early Rangers danger, Town imposed themselves and showed plenty of attacking intent of their own. Jason De Vos was at his inspirational best with some forceful challenges and was a menace up front. too.

Gavin Williams got hold of the midfield and added to his fetching and carrying by winning tackles and distributing well, aided by a strong Simon Walton.

But it was Billy Clarke who caught the eye with his effervescent play. He was unfortunate not to find a goal after stretching Paul Jones and hitting the bar.

Magilton rang the changes by dropping Richard Naylor with Alex Bruce going in as centre half alongside De Vos.

It was Bruce's third position since joining Town on a free from Birmingham City and he got his body in the way during an early onslaught.

Fabian Wilnis kept his right-back slot after doing so well there at Peterborough and the Blues looked a tight unit despite the intense pressure.

Billy Clarke richly deserved his first league start for Ipswich after his goal, and superbly-struck penalty in the shoot-out at London Road. Clarke has been told to sniff out goals like his legendary namesake Allan Clarke, the prolific old Leeds United and England striker.

The 18-year-old Irish lad, who scored his first league goal while on loan at Colchester last season, came close to grabbing his first Championship goal for Town on 35 minutes when he raced on to a flick-on and crashed a shot against the crossbar.

Clarke was sharp to win the ball off Zesh Rehman and played a delightful back-heel in for Alan Lee but the striker could not get to it before Jones.

The youngster also executed a neat turn and shot from 30 yards that drifted wide but showed his confidence moments later when he forced a good save from Jones with a well-struck, angled volley.

Matt Richards tried a long-range left-foot half-volley but could not keep it down and it was the same with a 35-yard free kick.

Lewis Price, who lost his Wales starting place to the veteran Paul Jones, made a brilliant save to deny Blackstock after good work from Ward.

Paul Jones performed equal heroics when he got down low to push away a close-range De Vos effort but he had earlier fumbled under the Canadian's challenge.

Despite Town's poor start to the season the away supporters were in great voice and almost filled the upper tier of the stand behind the Bloemfontein Road goal.

They sang “Super Jim Magilton” and they showed their respect for Sir Bobby Robson, who is recovering from surgery, by chanting his name reverentially, as players and fans lifted each other.

If Town continue to play like this then the supporters will have plenty more to cheer about as they fly up the table.

Ticket details for the match against Colchester at Layer Road on Friday, September 29 have been announced.

Because Ipswich have received only a small number of tickets, the club will use the priority system, giving first priority to club members who have been to the most away league matches this season.

For further details visit

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