Bowditch winner

SPARE a thought for luckless Coventry City defender Matthew Mills.Not only did he score an own goal to gift Ipswich victory but he then had to spend two hours in a car with Blues scorer Dean Bowditch.

SPARE a thought for luckless Coventry City defender Matthew Mills.

Not only did he score an own goal to gift Ipswich victory but he then had to spend two hours in a car with Blues scorer Dean Bowditch.

The duo, along with unused Sky Blues substitute Stuart Giddings, all made their way together to Norwich to meet up with the England Under-19 squad to play Czech Republic at Carrow Road on Wednesday night.

Big-hearted Bowditch, whose goal set Town on the way to victory, did buy the food as a consolation and hardly mentioned the game during the trip – much.

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Bowditch said: "It was a shame for Matt, who had a really good game for 89 minutes, just that one minute went wrong for him. Still, he is a good player with his whole career ahead of him – he will get over it."

Patrick Suffo levelled the scores before Mills, on loan from Southampton, inadvertently knocked the ball past his own keeper three minutes from time as Town went level on points at the top of the table with Wigan ahead only on goal-difference.

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Bowditch, who knocked in his third league goal in four starts, is hoping his finish, and all-round performance, will persuade boss Joe Royle to start him more often.

He said: "Hopefully we will use that formation more often and I will play but even if it is not three up front I feel I'm ready and able to play. There is a lot of competition with Shefki Kuqi and Pablo Counago as well but all I can do is keep scoring and playing well."

Bowditch had rattled the underside of the crossbar in the first half with a thunderous 20-yard shot but his goal was a simple tap in from a good Darren Bent cross.

He said: "The Gaffer has been telling me he wants more scruffy goals from us and really it was one I shouldn't miss after a great ball by Benty. The one that hit the crossbar I hit really well and thought it was going in. When it came back I thought it was going to be one of those days."

The Blues striker returns to the scene of his Ipswich debut when he plays at Carrow Road, and he is expecting to receive some typical Norfolk hospitality.

He said: "It will always be a special ground for me for that day with me making my debut and us winning, but I expect I will get some serious stick from the home fans. Still, it won't bother me. I'm really proud to play for my country wherever it is and this will be as good as the others."

Young Town team-mates Darren Bent and Lewis Price also represent their respective countries this week when England entertain Wales in the European Under-21 Championships at Ewood Park on Friday.

Price saved a first-half penalty when he denied Stern John after Drissa Diallo fouled Tim Sherwood and revealed coach Andy Rhodes had tipped him off about where to go.

He said: "He told me that he had hit a previous penalty to the keeper's left and scored, so I thought I would take a chance and go that way and saved it.

"I had to calm myself down after that and keep level-headed which I did. They had a few chances but there was some great defending in front of me."

Price believes it is written in the stars now that he will get one up on his house-mate Bent.

He said: "It would be nice now for me to go away with Wales and beat England, with me saving a penalty from Benty."

Jason De Vos is also away on international duty as Canada take on Honduras and Costa Rica.

More from Highfield Road – Pages 2-5

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