How have Ipswich Town fared on the opening day since relegation from the Premier League?
- Credit: Ashley Pickering
Ipswich Town start a 14th straight season in the Championship away at Brentford tomorrow, as they once again search for a route back to the Premier League.
The Blues have a decent record on the opening day, having won seven of their 13 games since relegation in 2002; picking up two draws and only losing four times during that time.
Town have been on the road five times in the last 13 years, winning on three occasions, and there have been plenty of false dawns along the way.
Here, we look back on Town’s opening day record ahead of what is sure to be another exciting campaign.
2014/15: Ipswich Town 2 Fulham 1 – Portman Road – Saturday August 9
What turned out to be a spectacular season started in the manner in which it continued for Daryl Murphy, as he caught Kostas Stafylidis flat-footed before storming through on goal and firing past Jesse Joronen. Substitute David McGoldrick doubled Town’s lead on the hour-mark, with the Blues holding on despite Tim Hoogland’s late consolation.
See here for our report of Town’s win over Fulham2013/14: Reading 2 Ipswich Town 1 – Madejski Stadium – Saturday August 3
Things started so well for Ipswich as Jay Tabb reacted quickest in the area to fire past former Town stopper Alex McCarthy, but that’s as good as it got. Adam Le Fondre levelled before the break, with Danny Guthrie eventually winning the contest for the Royals.
You can read Stuart Watson’s report from Reading here2012/13: Ipswich Town 1 Blackburn 1 – Portman Road – Saturday August 18
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The season unusually started with a 3-1 Capital One Cup victory over Bristol Rovers, but the following Saturday Ipswich started their league campaign against Blackburn. They needed an own goal from Jason Lowe to get a point, but manager Paul Jewell was happy, saying: “I think the least we deserved was a draw, not because we were brilliant on the ball, but more because of our endeavour.”
See here for Paul Jewell’s thoughts on the draw with Blackburn in 20122011/12: Bristol City 0 Ipswich Town 3 – Ashton Gate – Saturday August 6
The comfortable win at Bristol City was something of a false down, as Michael Chopra’s double had Ipswich fans dreaming of a promotion challenge. It all looked so Chopra lobbed former England keeper David James before embarrassing the experienced stopper to add the third, after Lee Martin’s goal. The game also saw impressive debuts for Lee Bowyer and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, but things just didn’t work out as Town finished 15th.
Here’s our report of the game which gave Ipswich fans so much hope2010/11: Middlesbrough 1 Ipswich 3 – Riverside Stadium – Saturday August 7
Another false dawn for Town as goals from Tommy Smith, Tamas Priskin and Jon Stead got Roy Keane’s side off to a perfect start. Scott MacDonald had given Boro the lead before the Blues fought back, but Keane’s side never found any rhythm before he was sacked the following January and replaced by Paul Jewell.
See here for how we reported Town’s superb win in the north east2009/10: Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 1 – Ricoh Arena – Saturday August 9
There was a real feeling of expectation heading into this opening day, given the head of steam Roy Keane built up during his three games in charge at the end of the previous season. It was back down to earth with a bump, though, as a brace from Clinton Morrison secured the win for the Sky Blues, who withstood Town’s late onslaught.
2008/09: Ipswich Town 1 Preston NE 2 – Portman Road – Saturday August 9
The season could not have started any better as new signing Kevin Lisbie turned the ball home from close range after only two minutes of his debut. Town were behind by half-time though, as Simon Whaley and Paul McKenna struck to condemn Jim Magilton’s side to defeat. The game also saw a rare Ipswich appearance for Jordan Rhodes, who played the final 15 minutes as a substitute.
See here for our player ratings from Town’s tough opening day defeat2007/08: Ipswich Town 4 Sheffield Wednesday 1 – Portman Road – Saturday August 11
Three up inside 25 minutes and the Ipswich fans were dreaming of another promotion push. Alan Lee scored twice, either side of one from Gary Roberts, before Pablo Counago completed the scoring for the hosts on the hour mark. The game was also the Portman Road return for Francis Jeffers, who was roundly booed after turning down a permanent move to Ipswich during the summer.
See here for out match report from Town’s big win2006/07: Ipswich Town 1 Crystal Palace 2 – Portman Road – Saturday August 5
An familiar face game back to haunt the Blues as James Scowcroft scored Crystal Palace’s winner at Portman Road. The game was the first for new manager Jim Magilton, who replaced Joe Royle, with the Northern Irishman giving debuts to Alex Bruce and Dan Harding. Nicky Forster gave the hosts the lead, but Jobi McAnuff levelled before Scowcroft grabbed the winner three minutes later.
See here for our match report from the game2005/06: Ipswich Town 1 Cardiff 0 – Portman Road – Saturday August 6
The departures of Darren Bent, Shefki Kuqi and Tommy Miller left major holes for manager Joe Royle to fill, but things got off to a good start as Nicky Forster, one of the replacements, scored the winner in the second half.
The game also saw the Town bow of Sam Parkin, Kuqi’s replacement, who had his Ipswich career severely dented by a broken ankle.
2004/05: Ipswich 2 Gillingham 1 – Portman Road – Saturday August 7
What ended up being one of the most exciting Ipswich Town seasons in recent memory, the Blues got going with a hard-fought 2-1 win. Darren Bent, Tommy Miller and Shefki Kuqi went on to score 56 goals between them, but it was Richard Naylor and Dean Bowditch who did the damage against Gills.
Paul Smith, an Ipswich fan, had levelled for the visitor before Bowditch lofted the ball past Steve Banks to win it.
2003/04: Ipswich Town 1 Reading 1 – Portman Road – Saturday August 9
In what was the first of six straight home openers, Tommy Miller was the saviour as his stoppage time penalty earned Town a draw against the Royals. Georges Santos and Drissa Diallo made their first Ipswich appearances from the start, as Joe Royle laid down the roots of a streamlined squad which ultimately made the play-offs.
They eventually lost to West Ham over two legs.
2002/03: Walsall 0 Ipswich Town 2 – Bescot Stadium – Saturday August 10
It was a new dawn for Ipswich Town as the newly relegated team arrived in the West Midland. The likes of Matteo Sereni, Titus Bramble, Ulrich Le Pen and Amir Karic had moved on, albeit some only temporarily, and youngster Darren Ambrose was given a chance from the start in a week where George Burley had predicted 100 goals and 100 points for his side. Things started well, as a scissor-kick from Marcus Bent and Ambrose’s close-range sealed a win, but the bid for an instant Premier League return ultimately fell short.