Great day for Richard

IT started with a guard of honour made up from the two teams and a standing ovation as Richard Naylor walked through with his two daughters and a niece.

By Derek Davis

IT started with a guard of honour made up from the two teams and a standing ovation as Richard Naylor walked through with his two daughters and a niece.

It finished with the naturally modest Naylor somewhat reluctantly doing a lap of honour after burying a last-second penalty to make a wonderfully entertaining match finish 3-3.

The intervening 90 minutes were a reminder of just how good that Wembley side of 2000 was, led once again by George Burley.

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They played bright, exciting football, with good passing and movement and players like Mark Venus, with his versatile left foot, Marcus Stewart's clever movement and predatory finishing, and Richard Wright's shot-stopping, showed the skills they possessed back then.

As much as Naylor tried to make this a celebration of that glorious May day back in 2000, to a man the starting XI from that play-off win the subs and others on the fringes, like Titus Bramble and Wayne Brown, who wanted to play but weren't allowed, all wanted Saturday to be about Bam Bam, whose goal that day did so much to make it his final.

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The North Stand chanted 'Pyscho' and the crowd of almost 10,000 stood as one to honour the club's longest-serving player, who made his debut 10 years ago after coming through the youth team ranks.

Naylor came off the bench, wearing the No. 12 shirt as he did at Wembley and so often in his early days at Town, and replaced Hibs manager Tony Mowbray, who handed the captain's armband to Matt Holland - all very symbolic.

The old boys, clad in orange and black were a goal down to the new pretenders, and that was as much about getting one over on the new boss Jim Magilton as anything else.

Jason De Vos had a word in Magilton's ear as the current team walked down the line shaking hands with the immortals from 2000.

It was the start of a little personal battle between skipper and manager that ended with the Canadian boosting the players' pool by £50 after he nutmegged the Irishman and ran off shaking a raised fist in joy.

De Vos also cleared a Magilton shot off the line and there was laughter when Alan Lee robbed Magilton and cheers when young Danny Haynes also dispossessed his boss, which led to the first goal as his cross was met by a grateful Lee, who stooped to head past Richard Wright.

Now it could be said Magilton has lost it, or it could be seen as outstanding management to boost confidence in young Haynes and ensured Lee got a morale-boosting goal.

Only Magilton will know for sure, and you can make up your own mind.

The new Blues went further ahead when Gavin Williams shot from the edge of the area and beat Wright, helped by a Naylor deflection - well, he did say he would play for both sides.

After getting good-natured stick from his current players, Magilton got his own back with a free-kick that Shane Supple saved, then he played a delightful ball over a static backline and Jermaine Wright controlled cleverly before rapping in.

Just on half time the old boys took advantage of slack defending with Magilton involved once more, along with Martijn Reuser, and the ball fell to Stewart, who showed he is still deadly from three yards.

Reuser and Stewart had both played the day before, with the Dutchman also attending a wedding on the Friday before getting up at 5.30am to make the trip to Ipswich, while Stewart had scored a cracker for Yeovil the night before, in his first game since signing on loan from Bristol City

Moments after the break came a controversial penalty when Hibs coach Venus tripped Haynes. Although Richard Wright asked advice from the North Stand about which way to go it didn't help as he flew the wrong way and Haynes stroked the ball in the opposite direction.

Wright got his own back with good save from the teenager and made another at Haynes' feet to prevent a repeat of the 4-2 scoreline from the 2000 play-off final.

Martin Brittain clipped the top of the crossbar, while Simon Milton, guesting for the Wembley side, missed an open goal from seven yards.

Even older than the veterans of 2000 is John Wark, and he showed a glimpse of his former self in a cameo role at Portman Road before going off to play for his Sunday morning team.

A thoroughly good afternoon of football enjoyment climaxed when Chris Casement conceded a soft penalty with a push on the man of the moment. Naylor picked himself up and, after a word from the keeper, sent Shane Supple the wrong way with the final kick of the game.

It was the right result really, although there is no need for any Italian prosecutors to get excited about.

One unsung hero who obviously could not be there on Saturday was Dale Roberts. But he would have been looking down proudly on a player he helped enormously and on a team in which he played a huge part in engendering the spirit that served so well and was so apparent even six years later.

Dale would surely have approved.

Ipswich Town XI: Supple, Castro (Synott, 71), Harding (Barron, 46), Richards (Moore, 46) Casement, De Vos, Brittain, Williams (Mulryne, 71) Lee (Knights, 60) Currie (Kuqi, 60) and Haynes.

Wembley 2000 XI: R Wright, Croft (Westlake, 46) Clapham, McGreal, Mowbray (Naylor, 18) Venus (Milton, 71) Magilton (Wark, 71) Holland, Stewart (Scowcroft, 46) Reuser (Miller, 46) and J Wright. Sub not used: Davis.

Referee: First half Mick Thorpe, second half Darren Deadman

Attendance: 9,902

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