Goal feast as Blues serve up six

A TABLE football machine dominates the players' games room at the Ipswich training ground and first to 10 wins.The Portman Road crowd were treated to a full-size reality version where they saw 10 goals for the first time in more than 40 years in IP1.

A TABLE football machine dominates the players' games room at the Ipswich training ground and first to 10 wins, writes Derek Davis.

The Portman Road crowd were treated to a full-size reality version where they saw 10 goals for the first time in more than 40 years in IP1.

Not since Sir Alf Ramsey's championship winning side went on to beat Maltese club Floriana 10-0 in the European Cup, in September 1962, has so many goals been seen, unless of course you play on a machine like the one at the training ground.

Too often the Blues and reds stood static in line with no invisible hand to move them sideways or spin their legs quick enough to clear danger, usually emanating from a hopeful punt from the other end.

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The red keeper was hopelessly beaten each time, a combination of slow movement, poor positioning and great finishing.

In fairness, no-one would have got anyway near Tommy Miller's two early strikes, both from 25 yards, and shots of tremendous quality.

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It was the same when Martijn Reuser smashed in Town's third

But Trinidad & Tobago international keeper Clayton Ince will be disappointed to have been caught out by Shefki Kuqi's header for the third when he came and failed to collect a Matt Richards cross. He was too slow to get fully behind Pablo Counago's 22-yard shot and beaten for the sixth by a low Kuqi finish.

Nor was he helped by a young defence ripped apart by the bustling Kuqi, and clever Counago, backed by a fluid midfield in particular Miller and Magilton.

The Ipswich Town skipper played a big part in all three of Town's opening three goals but you could also see his concern when Town were two up and apparently cruising.

He was berating his front men for failing to keep possession or close down and at that point Crewe were threatening a comeback.

Miller had opened the scoring within three minutes when David Wright could only chest a Magilton long ball down as far as the former Hartlepool midfielder, who struck a right-foot shot in first time.

Six minutes later Magilton fed a good ball down the right channel for Counago to turn inside and lay off a ball for Miller to hit on the run, left-footed to beat Ince from distance.

He might have had his hat-trick but Ince saved on the line after Miller had steamed through the defence before shooting from the edge of the area.

Ince also beat away a John McGreal header, but the keeper didn't seem to known much about it.

But as comfortable at Town were looking the old habits crept back into their game and 15 minutes before the break they were given a warning by Dean Ashton, who looped a header over the bar. Five minutes later Kenny Lunt was allowed to travel up the Crewe right wing before delivering an angled ball into the area for Ashton to hook past Kelvin Davis.

Too often this season Town have allowed leads to disappear with disastrous results.

Little wonder, then, when the Blues' supporters feared the worst two minutes after the break when McGreal turned a low Ashton cross into his own net. But they should know Town can always score goals and they reached the 50 mark in the league when Kuqi won the ball in the air and Magilton in turn pushed out wide for Richards to cross and the Finland international finished with a powerful header.

But the table-football-style game continued as weak defending prevailed once more. This time Anthony Tonkin was allowed to cross and Richard Naylor could only clear as far as Ben Rix whose shot was blocked by Davis but fell against Richards and ricocheted back into the net. Much like those untidy scrambles on the machine.

But if you ever want a goal hero look no further than Martijn Reuser who once again made an impact.

He still claims the winner at West Ham was his, although it was credited to Counago, his free kick which went under the Derby keeper recently was turned in by Kuqi and last week, at Reading, one of his corners was finished by McGreal.

This time there was no doubting it was a Reuser goal. He picked the ball up wide on the Town right turned inside and hit a wonderful, venomous, curling shot, into Ince's top right-hand corner. Make no mistake – he meant it.

When Counago finished from 22 yards with a low curling shot, which Ince got his hands to but could not beat away, that should have been the end of the worry.

But oh no. Not this Ipswich. Indeed, Wright went searching for a goal against his old club and Ince pulled off a good one-handed stop to deny him.

But it was the Alex who got the ninth of the day when substitute James Robinson got on the end of a flick on from a deep free kick by David Wright and go the better of Richards to beat Davis.

In the last minute of normal time Kuqi latched on to a Counago ball, got a fortuitous rebound off substitute Richard Walker and curled in a low shot inside the far post.

Four minutes of time added on allowed time for a few more goals, but even though Wright forced a good save from the keeper and Lunt brought out an even better stop from Davis the whistle brought relief.

For the 22,000 it was 10 out of 10 for entertainment value too, but little or no marks for defending.

Crewe boss Dario Gradi and Town' assistant manager Willie Donachie were on the same coaching course last summer but it would appear both missed the day working on tactics for the back line.

But it is probably not all down to the rear-guard. Certainly if Counago, for his abundant skill, had Kuqi's work ethic and ability to win the ball back, the defence would not come under so much pressure.

The midfield also looks weak when it comes to getting the ball back and halting the opposition progress, especially as quickly and easily as Crewe did down the Town left.

For those that like virtual reality football with plenty of goals they may look at Town' s next league opponents, Coventry City. The Sky Blues scored six away from home in their win over Walsall on Saturday. We would never see 11 goals in a live game at Portman Road – would we?

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