Guileless Town in goalless draw

IPSWICH Town had to accept just one point from their opening Coca-Cola Championship game of the season at Portman Road this afternoon.

Elvin King


Ipswich Town 0 Leicester City 0

IPSWICH Town had to accept just one point from their opening Coca-Cola Championship game of the season at Portman Road.

Leicester City, promoted from League One last term, had the better chances on a day when the home side found it difficult to put two passes together and were rarely in a position to win the 'second ball'.

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Chris Weale, in the Foxes goal, did not have a difficult save to make with Ipswich struggling to find any shape and pattern to their play. They were fortunate to open their league points account.

Town made nine changes from the side that began Tuesday's Carling Cup penalty shoot-out win at League Two Shrewsbury Town. David Wright and Healy were the only two who kept their places.

On the other hand, today's team showed just two changes from the one that lost 2-1 at Coventrry City in the opening Championship fixture last Sunday - D Wright and Healey replacing Bruce and the injured Norris.

Bruce was on the bench having played a full 120 minutes at the Prostar Stadium - and 90 minutes at the Ricoh Arena. There was no place even on the bench for Quinn, who was one of the stars of the Carling Cup victory.

Shrewsbury goal hero Wickham, 16, was on the bench along with August �1.7million signing Priskin.

Promoted Leicester, with wins in the league and Carling Cup behind them inside the last eight days, included former Ipswich defender Brown in their line-up.

There was a rendition of the late Sir Bobby Robson's favourite song 'My Way' prior to kick-off, and this was followed by a poignant minute's applause for the former Town manager.

Within three minutes the visitors missed a simple chance to go ahead. Dyer broken to the by-line down the left after a short free-kick, and from his pull-back Brown had a free header from six yards, but somehow cleared the bar by a foot.

There was a large-looking crowd who were basking in the August sunshine with Delaney firing well over after a mistake by a black-stripped Leicester defender. In the ninth minute Martin went racing clear down the left as the Blues attacked the south stand goal. He cut back but then lifted a close range angled effort into the grateful hands of Weale.

Home fans were getting disgruntled with the lack of cohesion being shown by Town, and when Howard found himself unmarked in front of goal following a 19th minute throw-in he should have done better that blast the ball over the bar.

Town were going nowhere with the brightness of the day not reflected on the pitch. So many passes were going astray and a Leicester goal looked likely at any time.

Neat play by Martin and Trotter set up Walters for a 22 yard shot in the 31st minute. At last there was something to cheer about - with Weale diving full length to his right to save.

Four minutes later Delaney combined well with Martin, and when the latter broke free his cross was headed behind for a corner by Brown.

This match is set to be the main game on BBC Television's Football League round-up after Match of the Day tonight.

McAuley, playing against his former club, became the first Ipswich player to be booked this season when he moved sideways to obstruct Howard in the 40th minute. Dyer's 19-yard free-kick flew 18 inches wide.

Ipswich made two changes at the start of the second period with strikers Priskin and Wickham coming on for Healy and Stead. This led to 4-4-2 formation with the substitutes paired up front.

R Wright was soon in action having to dive to his right to grab a 16-yard shot from Fryatt after some shabby defending.

Left-back Berner was the next to shoot for Leicester and R Wright was forced into another save; this one much more comfortable.

Trotter was now sitting in front of the back four, but Leicester went close yet again in the 58th minute when D Wright failed to clear on the edge of the six-yard box, and Fryatt swept a shot wide of the far post.

Ipswich were being willed on by the fans at every opportunity, but the visitors were still looking the most likely winners - if they could find their shooting boots.

Town's reclusive owner Marcus Evans was in his box having been at Coventry but missed the game at Shrewsbury in midweek and he will have been heartened by the sight of Walters forcing a save from Weale after a back header.

Peters was now on the left with Garvan in front of the back four and Trotter a free spirit in midfield, and although Ipswich were now in the authority a goal did not look as though it was coming with the visitors slowing the game down at every opportunity.

In the 79th minute a back-header from McAuley rolled right across his own six-yard box following a long throw-in by the visitors. It was an escape for the Blues, who were now looking ragged again after a brief promising spell.

Delaney headed over after a posse of Town players attacked a Garvan 87th minute corner and still a goal looked more likely at the other end of the field.

There were boos at the end as a drab encounter came to an end after four minutes of stoppage time.


Ipswich Town: R Wright; D Wright, McAuley, Balkestein, Delaney; Walters, Peters, Healy (sub Priskin 46), Trotter, Martin (Garvan 63); Stead (Wickham 46). Substitutes: Supple, Bruce, Colback, Smith.

Leicester City: Weale; Neilson, Hobbs, Brown, Berner; Dyer (Adams 75), Oakley, Wellens, N'Guessan (King 62); Howard, Fryatt (Waghorn 62). Substitutes: Logan, Morrison, Tunchev, Dickov.

Referee: Mr P Crossley (Kent)

Attendance: 22,454