Town win on sombre night

Sir Bobby would surely have approved.

Derek Davis

Ipswich Town 3 Real Valladolid 1

Sir Bobby would surely have approved.

Fine football on a moving occasion and a mix of good young talent and strong character helping the Blues to victory over Spanish opposition.


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Pim Balkestein equalised for Town after he had conceded the penalty that their skipper Baraja had scored from on the half hour.

Substitute Connor Wickham put the Blue sin front and an own goal from Luis Prietro made it a winning tribute for Sir Bobby Robson

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Town players and the officials wore black armbands and there was silence even before the referee marked the official minute and observed immaculately.

The warmth of the applause that followed was another tangible show of appreciation for Sir Bobby Robson - a legend.

The 5,873 crowd, boosted no doubt by Town supporters who also wanted to show their respect, enjoyed the match played the way the old Town boss would have approved, with any profit from the game going to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Many had already been to the Sir Bobby's statue in Portman Road to lay flowers, scarves, and messages or simply to be there.

Two white flags with the blue lettering 'Bobby' were held up in the corner of the south stand

The Blues fans chanted 'One Bobby Robson' and a second half chant of 'Stand up for Bobby Robson' was obeyed by the whole crowd along with another round of applause.

Even with all the understandable emotion that swept the day, there was an important build up match for Keane and his staff to prepare the players for.

It was clear from the off that Town were determined to be focused against their Spanish opponents and they started brightly.

Garvan's free kick was blocked and Martin pounced on the clearance but his shot from the edge of the area was parried by the keeper Justo Villar and cleared.

Moments later Stead got in a downward header but Villar held on.

Martin then lobbed the keeper from a tight angle but Aridane hooked the ball to safety.

Town keeper Richard Wright tipped over a cross from Marcos Garcia Barrero that threatened to sneak in under his crossbar and he made a save from Hector Font, although the whistle had already blown for a foul.

Wright also made a fabulous save low down to scoop away a powerful downward header by Nivaldo.

On the half hour Pedro Leon went over Balkestein's outstretched leg and convinced the referee to award the penalty.

It was a soft penalty but needlessly given away and a lesson

Real's skipper Baraja sent Richard Wright the wrong way with the powerful spot kick and the Blues needed pick themselves up.

Medunjanin tried his luck with the official as he went down under a Colin Healy challenge but play was waved on.

Delaney delivered a good cross which Stead met with a glancing header but it went wide.

The Town striker had the chance to put Town level when Lee Martin was brought down by the keeper. But Stead's penalty was tipped onto a post and cleared.

Moments later he smashed a header against the bar and when real failed to clear Balkestein hammered the ball in from 12-yards.

A flurry of substitutions followed and Connor Wickham, for Stead found the winner with a fine left-footed finish that went in off the far post.

Seven minutes from time Wickham secured the victory with his shot cum cross deflected past his own keeper by Luis Prieto.

Ipswich Town 4-3-3: Wright, Bruce (Ainsley, 73) McAuley, Balkestein, Delaney (Smith, 80) Norris (Peters, 57) Healy, Garvan, Walters (Quinn, 73) Stead (Wickham, 69) Martin (Lambe, 69) Subs not used: Supple.

Real Valladolid 4-2-3-1: Villar, Nivaldo, Prieto, Baraja (Bueno, 78) Rubio Arzo, 86) Medunjanin, Barrero, Font (Lazaro, 84) Leon, Manucho. Subs not used: Fabricio.

Referee: Dean Whitestone. Attendance: 5,873

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