Fuller Flavour: My favourite Town games, from Helsingborgs to Blackpool away
- Credit: Archant
In this week’s column, Karl Fuller looks back at some of his favorite Ipswich Town games - do you remember any of these?
I recently took part in a recording of “My ITFC’ for the Kings of Anglia Facebook page, which will be available to watch online in the very near future.
The feature is produced by Ross Halls from this very newspaper and Ross asked a series of questions such as favourite players, manager, kits, games and moments etc from my time of supporting Ipswich.
When I was asked for my favourite-ever game, that was very difficult to answer. The easy answer I guess would be the play-off final victory over Barnsley in 2000 or even the semi-final second-leg home game against Bolton Wanderers that preceded that game.
The big occasions are what of course come to the forefront of the mind, but there are so many more games that had to be considered. I plumped for the away leg of the UEFA Cup tie at Swedish side Helsingborgs IF. The effort and cost to attend that game and the afternoon spent in Harry’s Bar made it a worthy winner.
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But I can think of many run of the mill league games too that would be up there as contenders...
Southend United away in April 1992 was an immense occasion, as was the home game against Newcastle United shortly before that. But another league game that sticks in my memory was away to Blackpool in November 2013. I travelled to the game with good friend Kevin Mitchell and this was at a time when I had not seen Town win away in eight years.
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We left Clacton at 5am for the short journey to Manningtree to catch a train to Blackpool and returned home on the very first train available after the game which meant catching the last train back from Liverpool Street to Manningtree, thus proving we could just about do the trip in one day.
There was much alcohol consumed – mostly by Kevin – and the day went fantastically well. Town trailed 1-0 at half-time before goals from Frank Nouble and Paul Taylor saw us go 2-1 ahead. When one-time Town target Steven Davies equalised in injury-time, we thought that was it.
But there was still enough time for Daryl Murphy to score a dramatic late winner to send us home very happy. These sort of games though are few and far between.
As it happens, my old friend Ed Saltmarsh got in touch recently with a story of one of his favourite games.
He told me: “A favourite game of mine was the Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final tie against Chelsea in January 1998. Their player-manager was a certain Ruud Gullit and they also had Gianfranco Zola playing that night. They had a strong team out! It was a packed Portman Road under the lights with more than 22,000 in the ground. I took my place in the North Stand and from the first whistle, the atmosphere was buzzing.
“We went 1-0 down thanks to a goal by Tore Andre Flo despite not playing badly and then conceded again as Graeme Le Saux scored right on half-time before Mauricio Taricco pulled a goal back for us. I remember thinking at the break that we seemed to be getting stronger as the first half went on, especially Kieron Dyer, so I was not too disheartened at that point.
“What a treat the second half was as we were the better side, unleashing wave after wave of attack. Dyer with his lightening quick-feet and explosive pace was like a firecracker in midfield and he was picking out our runners all over the pitch.
“Then just after the hour mark, Alex Mathie levelled, and it was game on! Extra-time came, and we were the better team. Bobby Petta hit a post and that was the closest anyone came to scoring. We lost 4-1 on penalties which were taken down the Churchmans end.
“Adam Tanner scored his spot-kick but James Scowcroft and Taricco missed theirs. Nevertheless, I was proud of the boys. The next day on my way to work, I picked up a national newspaper, opened near the back page and there was a double page spread on the game.
“They wrote that we were unlucky, and they were really praising Dyer. I loved it. Happy days!”