Town hit magnificent seven in easy win

SEVEN unanswered goals and raft of decent performances left the 250 visiting Town fans and manager Jim Magilton in seventh heaven with their perfect start to their Belfast trip.

Derek Davis

Cliftonville 0 Ipswich Town 7

SEVEN unanswered goals and raft of decent performances left the 250 visiting Town fans and manager Jim Magilton in seventh heaven with their perfect start to their Belfast trip.

Town were three up by the break at the Solitude ground with goals from Gary Roberts, Alan Lee and Danny Haynes.

In defence Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley made his Ipswich bow on home soil, while left-back Ben Thatcher was given a run out for Town.

After Lee wore the captain's armband in the first 45 minutes, the second half side was skippered by David Wright as Jim Magilton continues to search for his skipper Fabio Capello style.

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Two goals from Alan Quinn and one each from Jaime Peters and David Wright wrapped things up in a lop-sided game.

The Reds claim to be Ireland's oldest football club and have a rich tradition. On Thursday they will entertain FC Copenhagen in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup in what Cliftonville described as their biggest ever game.

That didn't stop them putting out a strong side against Town that included new signings Ciaran Donaghy and Sean Cleary, although they clearly had Thursday on their minds.

It took nine minutes for Ipswich to find a way through as their fluidity baffled the Belfast part-timers.

Jaime Peters, who started as the right back, popped up on the left side and left winger Roberts, came in from the right to volley in left-footed from a tight angle.

It was a quality finish from a player still trying his hardest to force his way into Magilton's plans despite being on the transfer list.

Eight minutes later Roberts provided the deftest of touches to lift the ball over the defender for Lee to nod in unopposed.

Roberts picked out Danny Haynes who left the skipper Liam Fleming and keeper John Connolly floundering on the deck before picking himself up, turning and firing in off the far post from the acutest of angles.

Jordan Rhodes had a penalty well-saved by Connolly with the young striker winning it himself after being fouled by David McAlinden.

Connolly was the Reds' star making good saves to again deny Rhodes and Chris Casement.

Debut-making McAuley made a perfectly timed tackle in the area to deny Scannell.

Alex Bruce hit the crossbar from a Tommy Miller corner before Peters turned sharply to finish with a low drive 12 minutes after the break.

Miller also hit the bar but this time Alan Quinn followed up for the fifth and grabbed the sixth five minutes from time with a neat finish after Owen Garvan carried the ball well before timing his pass to perfection.

David Wright wrapped things up two minutes from time after being set up by Garvan.

The Reds offered little in the way of resistance and rarely troubled young Eire keeper Shane Supple.

Mark Holland looped a header over Supple but it lacked power and the Town keeper was able to turn round and take it with ease.

Chris Scannell clipped the top of the crossbar with a close range effort from a Stephen O'Neill cross.

Before the game Magilton presented Cliftonville Hugh McCartan with a crystal memento highlighting that off the pitch the public relations were as important as what could be gleaned on it.

Quite what 'Lars' the Copenhagen scout made of it is hard to say, perhaps we will all find out on Thursday.

Cliftonville: Connolly; Fleming (O'Hara, 46) Donaghy (Boyd, 58) McAlinden (Smyth, 46) R Scannell O'Neill (B Holland, 46) Catney, O'Connor (Gowdy, 71); C Scannell (O'Neill, 73), Cleary (Patterson, 46) Subs not used:

Ipswich Town first half team: Supple; Peters, McAuley, Smith, Thatcher; Haynes, Shumulikoski, Trotter, Roberts, Lee, Rhodes.

Second half: Supple: Casement, Bruce, Balkestein, Wright: Peters (Naylor, 63), Miller, Garvan, Quinn: Counago, Haynes (Rhodes, 69).