Ipswich Wanderers suffer at the hands of five-star Norwich United striker
- Credit: Archant
Unstoppable Matt Blake powered in five goals on Saturday as Norwich United defeated Ipswich Wanderers 6-2 in non-league’s Old Farm derby.
Goal machine Blake, now just one strike short of scoring 100 goals for the Planters, was at his clinical best at Humber Doucy Lane, punishing baffled Wanderers defenders in the most ruthless of fashions.
After just 36 minutes, he had helped himself to a hat-trick with three excellent finishes, and by full-time, he had nearly grabbed two match-balls with two smashing finishes less than 60 seconds apart in minutes 87 and 88.
Wanderers centre-halves Mark Goldfinch and Dan Hitching must have had a weekend of headaches and nightmares as they attempted to get close to a striker that has scored 26 goals in the opening three months of the season! There’s still another six to go!
And while 6-2 was actually a flattering final score-line, with Wanderers pulling the game back to 3-2 at one point, and having chances to equalise, it was Blake who stole the show.
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The 2014/15 Premier champions, already 14 points clear at the top of the table this season, started on the front foot, and after just eight minutes, took the lead when Blake timed his run perfectly to meet Tim Henery’s slipped pass behind Goldfinch, rolling past James Bradbrook.
Bradbrook had been preferred to fellow promising youngster Jack Spurling in the Wanderers goal for this game, but he was picking the ball out of his net again in the 16th minute when Adam Bennett’s excellent lofted ball was finished by Blake’s pink left boot.
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Planters ‘keeper Lee Pacey didn’t touch the ball with his hands until the 22nd minute, collecting Dan Tredray’s innocent cross, as the Norfolk side asserted their authority.
Wanderers then improved for a spell and a flowing move saw Matt Mackenzie miscue with a header from a promising position following Tom Bradlaugh’s excellent cross.
But Blake helped himself to his third in the 36th minute after picking the ball up some 40 yards from goal before running and running, remaining unopposed, before burying a shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
It could have been easy for Glenn Read’s Wanderers to fold, but on the stroke of half-time they gave themselves hope as Bradlaugh’s free-kick found its way through to Billy Holland, who finished brilliantly.
In the 57th minute, a comeback looked to be on the cards as Mackenzie pounced on Pacey’s mistake – allowing Craig Jennings’ header to slip through his hands, with the ball hitting the post.
But the ‘keeper made up for the error just moments later when he excellently blocked with his feet from Holland as Wanderers sensed an equaliser.
That sense was short-lived though when some magic from Henery presented Adam Hipperson to score goal number four.
But Wanderers never gave up and things could have been different had the sliding Ben Deacon got a touch on Bradlaugh’s shot-cum-cross in the 68th minute, with the goal gaping.
Holland just fired wide from 25 yards, and Deacon crashed a header off the crossbar, but Wanderers were undone by Blake, who had not scored for 51 minutes, in the 87th minute as he twisted and turned before rifling home.
And, less than 60 seconds later, he smashed home his fifth after fine work from Hipperson as last year’s champions and their talismanic dangerman look to be heading for more success this season.
Blake will look to add goal number 100 against Leiston Reserves tomorrow night, in the League Cup.