Match-winner Matt: We will close gap

MATCH-winner Matt Holland believes that it's only a matter of time before Ipswich Town suck down the teams immediately above them.

MATCH-winner Matt Holland believes that it's only a matter of time before Ipswich Town suck down the teams immediately above them, writes Carl Marston.

Skipper Holland led by example to head home a 17th-minute winner as Town clinched a vital 1-0 victory at fallen giants Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

While sorry Wednesday dropped to the Division One basement, looking virtual certainties for Division Two football next season (and a possible visit to Colchester United!), Town advanced to within five points of the play-off zone.

Joe Royle's men also have back-to-back home fixtures against promotion rivals Reading and relegation-haunted Brighton to look forward to over the next week.


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"If we keep winning our matches, then the others will come back to us," insisted Holland.

"Two teams above us, Wolves and Nottingham Forest lost today, and others will lose in the future. All we have to do is concentrate on our own games.

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"Although we only won 1-0, it felt a comfortable 1-0. We should really have scored a couple more goals, because their keeper saved well from Marcus Bent and myself.

"The goal reminded me of the chance that I had in our previous game at Crystal Palace. My header hit the keeper that day, so it was nice to score with this one," added Holland, who has now netted four goals this season.

Republic of Ireland ace Holland produced another inspirational display in central midfield, although he had begun the day assuming that he would be playing at the back.

Holland explained: "I was going to play at the back in a three-man defence, but then Tommy Miller failed a fitness test so it was decided that I should play in midfield.

"I was told that I was playing there at 12.30pm. Joe (Royle) had thought about it, and considered that it was a game we really needed to win, so we went with two centre-halves instead.

"I thought we passed the ball really well in the first half, and then defended well in the second period.

"Sheffield Wednesday are fighting for their lives, so we knew that at some point they would have to come at us. We knew that we would not have it all our own way.

"Richard Naylor was excellent at the back. It's not a position that he is used to, but he defended very well and didn't put a foot wrong.

"Sheffield did put us under a little pressure, yet I thought Andy (Marshall) was back to his best in goal for us."

It was also a victory for youth. Matt Richards started only his third league game, at left-back, while 19-year-old Darren Bent set up the winner and teenagers Dean Bowditch and Ian Westlake both appeared as second-half substitutes.

"It's all very encouraging," enthused Holland. "And we also had youngster Matthew Bloomfield watching from the stand.

"Matt (Richards) had his work cut out, because Michael Reddy was a handful down the right wing. But I thought he did well, especially with getting forward in the first half. The manager says that he must have four lungs!

"On the balance of play, we fully deserved the win," concluded Holland.

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