Kuqi nets hat-trick in Town romp

NJAZI Kuqi hit a hat-trick as the Blues reserves romped to a 9-0 win over non-league Oxford United's young second string in the Pontins Holiday Combination yesterday.

By Derek Davis

NJAZI Kuqi hit a hat-trick as the Blues reserves romped to a 9-0 win over non-league Oxford United's young second string in the Pontins Holiday Combination yesterday.

Dean Bowditch bagged a brace, while Ian Miller netted in his first game since signing a professional contract with Ipswich Town after signing from Bury Town.

Youngsters Ed Upson, James Krause and Darryl Knights all joined in the goalfest at the Playford Road training ground.


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A training ground was an appropriate place to play because after half an hour it became an exercise in creating and finishing against a young United side way out of their depth.

Last season Ipswich were playing against the youngsters from Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Portsmouth. Now they are up against the youngsters from the likes of Stevenage, Oxford, MK Dons and Leyton Orient. No wonder they top the Pontin's Holiday Combination league.

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Their task will become stiffer when they are up against Norwich, Southend and Luton, but the Blues Academy graduates are not going to learn much in this league.

Town were relegated from the Premier Reserve League because Premiership clubs objected to teams from the Football League playing in the division. It was mooted that the Championship should have its own regionalised league and on the evidence of this, the sooner it is implemented the better.

For the moment Ipswich can only beat what is put in front of them, and they did that with aplomb.

Martin Brittain was putting in one quality ball after another; Scott Barron was hugely impressive, especially first half. Upson took his goal well from a Bowditch pass while substitutes Krause and Knights took advantage of a flagging U's defence with goals in the dying moments.

Miller, who signed from Ryman League Bury on Friday, showed why the Blues' staff are quietly excited by him and he took his goal with all the expertise of an experienced centre-half, powering on to a Brittain corner.

Bowditch could have doubled his tally while Kuqi settled for the three before being replaced. The brother of cult hero Shefki, Njazi has enjoyed an extended trial at Ipswich but with so much competition for the striker spots it is unlikely he will be kept on. Manager Jim Magilton intends talking to the Finn today.

Premiership official Dermot Gallagher, looking for match fitness after recovering from injury, refereed the game.

Ipswich Town Res: Supple, Synnott, Barron (Krause, 66), Moore, Miller, Casement, Brittain, Upson (Reason, 46), Bowditch, Kuqi (Knights, 62) and Peters. Subs not used: Plummer and Short.

Oxford United Res: Tardiff, Bennett (Anderson, 2) Weedon, Kennet, Franklin, Gunn, Younie, Hutchinson, Beechers, Odubade and Spilman (Gonzalez, 73) Sub not used: Posey.

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