From Celina to Mariner - the best goals ever scored at Portman Road

Bersant Celina celebrates his goal just before the break with a lift from teammate Sone Aluko.

Ipswich Town's Bersant Celina celebrates his extraordinary goal in the clash with Crewe Alexandra - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Bersant Celina's outrageous chip in Ipswich Town's 2-1 win over Crewe Alexandra is one of the best goals ever scored at Portman Road. Mark Heath takes a look at the other contenders....

Bersant Celina v Crewe, November 2021

We have to start with the most recent on this list before we judge the other contenders to the crown.

Celina killed a long ball from George Edmundson stone dead - somehow tracking the flight of it despite a defender in the way - before taking a glance up and deftly lofting the perfect chip diagonally over the keeper's head and into the net.

Most times a keeper is chipped he's off his line - but in this case Crewe's Dave Richards was in his own six-yard box and well-placed. It was just the perfect shot. Extraordinary.

Macauley Bonne v MK Dons,  August 2021

Before Celina's sublime effort, we thought we'd seen Town's goal of the season already, just a few weeks into the campaign.

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Bonne started the season like his shorts were on fire and this is surely the pick of his 11 goals thus far.

Kane Vincent-Young played a beautiful flighted ball diagonally across the pitch to set Bonne away and the Chantry boy took it superbly, drifting away from the defender with his first touch before hammering home with his 'weaker' left foot.

Would be goal of the season in almost every other season.

Finidi George v Sunderland, December 2001

The goal on this list most similar to Celina's in terms of style, skill and finish.

Nigerian George was certainly a mixed bag after his much-trumpeted arrival at Town, but this was the sort of thing he was capable of, and fans were expecting.

He initiated a lovely three pass move, which ended with him charging onto a pass down the right wing as the  Sunderland keeper advanced.

But George got there first and simply stroked a lofted, curling effort into the empty net. Sublime.

Aaron Cresswell v Crystal Palace, April 2013

When many fans discuss this topic, Cresswell's ripsnorter against Palace is usually pretty high up their lists.

A left back with a sledgehammer of a left foot, Cresswell let it all hang out here, taking a ball on the run and nodding it down in front of him as he galloped forward.

From there he uncorked a wicked, swerving rocket of a shot which blazed into the top left corner of the Palace net.

As commentator Brenner Woolley exclaimed, 'What a goal!'

Connor Wickham v Sheffield United, February 2011

Do you remember how excited we all were about the manchild Wickham, a 17-year-old in the body of an elite athlete ten years his senior?

This goal showed exactly why he was one of the hottest properties in the game, as he surged forward with the ball from deep in his own half, beating one defender and galloping into the penalty area.

Once there he turned the final Blades defender and their keeper inside out with the same move, before calmly slotting into the net.

His career may not have hit the heights that everyone was expecting, but what a talent Wickham was.

Leighton Baines v Ipswich Town, December 2004

Yes, yes, I know - this wasn't a goal scored by Ipswich Town. But there's no way you can have a list like this without it.

Baines scored his first-ever career goal at Portman Road with a thunderbolt from 40 yards, taking a touch as the ball broke to him before unleashing a missile with his left foot.

The leathered ball travelled straight and true into the top corner of Kelvin Davis' net and would probably now be orbiting the earth, still gathering pace, were it not for the onion bag in the way.

There can't be many first-ever goals better than this. But that's a list for another day.

Dalian Atkinson v Middlesbrough, April 1988

The mercurial Atkinson was seemingly capable of almost anything on a football pitch and, on this April day at Portman Road, he was unstoppable, netting a hat-trick as Town saw off 'Boro.

Ether of his first two strikes would merit a place on this list, but my pick was his second.

Picking up the ball wide right, he shifted inside on his right foot, accelerating away from a couple of defenders like they were standing still, before hammering a shot into the top corner.

Would, of course, go on to score one of the best goals of all time against Wimbledon, while playing for Aston Villa.

Paul Mariner v West Brom, November 1976

If Baines' goal was extraordinary for a first-ever strike, how about this for Mariner's Town debut, in a 7-0 win!

In truth, both Trevor Whymark and Kevin Beattie also scored goals in this game which probably merit a place on this list, but the effort from the late, great Mariner stands out for me.

Having set up Whymark for the second of his four goals on the day in a wonderful team move, Mariner took matters into his own hands to open his Town account.

After the ball broke to him following a midfield scuffle, Mariner went charging off up field on his own, one man against a sea of yellow and green.

No matter. He cut inside, evading one Baggies' challenge, before lashing the ball into the roof of the net with his right foot from outside the area.

What a player. What a team.






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