Gallery: Nine goals for Town in opening friendly

PABLO Counago bagged a hat-trick in super quick time as Ipswich Town cruised to a 9-1 victory in their first pre-season friendly at Newmarket Town last night.

Counago netted his three goals midway through the second half, in a 10-minute spell.

And there was a welcome return to action for Luciano Civelli, after 16 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury. The Argentine played the final half-hour and set up Counago’s second on a plate.

It was Lee Martin, one of Town’s eight transfer-listed players, who broke the deadlock on 10 minutes. He raced onto Tamas Priskin’s pass and drilled his shot past keeper Rob Mackney.

Owen Garvan, another of the transfer-listed brigade, doubled the lead on 14 minutes by clipping home a low cross from Jaime Peters.


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And the goal avalanche continued with Grant Leadbitter smashing a low 18-yard drive through a crowd of players, and beyond a frustrated Mackney, to make it 3-0 in the 18th minute.

Just before the half-hour mark, Garvan helped himself to his second goal and Ipswich’s fourth. The Irishman took full advantage of Peters’ run to round keeper Mackney and slide into an empty net.

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The only surprise was that the visitors did not add to their tally during the final 15 minutes of the first period.

And Newmarket, against Ipswich’s second-half side, pulled a goal back just two minutes after the restart thanks to Jonathan Olive’s smart finish.

Civelli was given a good ovation by Town’s travelling supporters, when he appeared for the final half-hour.

But it was Counago who then took centre-stage with a quickfire hat-trick.

Counago’s first was a powerful long-range shot on 66 minutes, and he followed this up by tucking home Civelli’s accurate pass and then completing his hat-trick with a simple finish.

Late goals from Colin Healy and Alan Quinn completed a satisfactory evening for Roy Keane’s men.

Teams

NEWMARKET TOWN (starting XI): Mackney, King, Hall, Brown, Eady, Jones, Bell, Grainger, Lynch, Lane, Hall.

IPSWICH TOWN (first half): Murphy, Peters, McAuley, Delaney, O’Connor, Leadbitter, Norris, Garvan, Walters, Priskin, Martin. Second half: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Bruce, Brown, Ainsley, Hyam, Quinn, Healy, Stead, Counago, Martin (sub Civelli, 61).

n Ipswich Town’s pre-season friendly at Southend United, scheduled for this Friday evening, has officially been cancelled.

New Shrimpers boss Paul Sturrock, who was appointed to the Roots Hall hot seat on Monday, contacted Roy Keane to explain that his club could not fulfil the fixture due to a lack of players.

Sturrock currently has nine players at his disposal, and he is also prevented from signing any new players due to a transfer embargo.

Town acted quickly to arrange a replacement pre-season friendly for the same evening. Keane’s men will therefore be taking on Histon in Cambridgeshire this Friday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

Histon are managed by former Cambridge United boss John Beck, and play in the Blue Square Premier League.

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