Matt's thunderbolt saves Jim's record

Willem II 1 Ipswich Town 1A DRAMATIC goal by Matt Richards in the second minute of stoppage time maintained new manager Jim Magilton's unbeaten record at Willem II last night.

By Elvin King

Willem II 1 Ipswich Town 1

A DRAMATIC goal by Matt Richards in the second minute of stoppage time maintained new manager Jim Magilton's unbeaten record at Willem II last night.

On this evidence, there is plenty of room for improvement and it was a rather lacklustre display by the Blues in the first of their three games in their week-long tour to Holland and Belgium.


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The visitors created few chances until Richards struck with a 22-yard left-foot thunderbolt that screamed into the corner of the net after Jaime Peters and Ian Westlake had had shots blocked following a long throw by Fabian Wilnis.

Icelandic international Indridi Sigurdsson struggled to make an impression at left back with most of the danger from an enterprising home team coming down their right side.

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Magilton will be looking for a more fluid display when his team play against Belgium's Waregem tomorrow and back in Holland for a re-arranged match against Dordrecht on Friday evening.

The modern home of the Tilburg-based side holds 15,000 spectators, with 12,000 season tickets sold for the coming campaign.

Last night, it was only one quarter full with a fair sprinkling of Town supporters, who had made their way across the North Sea.

Willem II are managed by former Norwich City player Dennis Van Wijk and they included in their squad Joe Keenan, who was a Chelsea junior at the same time as Ipswich striker Sam Parkin.

Sammy Hyypia, the current Liverpool central defender, learned his football with the Dutch club who finished second from bottom of the top division last season, but they stayed up after being successful in their play-off system.

They provided opposition that was a considerable step up from Ipswich's previous two previous games against Boston and Galway.

But it was Ipswich who had the first chance when the home keeper saved a close-range effort from Richard Naylor, following a corner.

Shane Supple was impressive all night and he made an early save to deny Kevin Bobson before Willem should have taken the lead in the 27th minute when Mohamed Messoudi was clean through.

Wilnis made a magnificent late challenge and the ball rolled safely away from the goal, to the relief of the Town defence.

Defender Abraham Kargbo had a header cleared off the line. Triallist Alex Bertin was doing well in front of the back four, but with Peters and Darren Currie playing wide, that left only Westlake to fashion any constructive play in the middle of the park.

Little happened to suggest an Ipswich goal before the interval and at the break, former Willem II players were paraded in front of their fans with only three of the current squad at the club last season.

Westlake was booked within 20 seconds of the restart, but there remained little cohesion to the Ipswich play with Wilnis displaying what he is - one of the players remaining from the golden era of five and six years ago.

Mounir El Hamdaoui was only cautioned for a blatant elbow across the face of Westlake in the 55th minute, and Ipswich were to pay for the referee's leniency six minutes later.

A cross from the left was not cleared and El Hamdaoui had space to rifle a 20-yard right-foot shot beyond the searching fingers of the flying Supple.

Sigurdsson was booked for a foul as he did his best to contain the right side of the Willem attack and soon afterwards he was replaced with what looked like a slight head wound as a succession of substitutes took to the field.

Willem II: Sengier; Wau, Kargbo, Baelum, Valencia; Hadouir, Messoudi, Assou-Ekotto, Bobson; Redan, El Hamdaoui. Second half substitutes: Van der Stuijk, Imschoot, Janse, Keenan, Swinkels, Holmin, Wilmet, Kerekesn Van Lieshout, Nieuwendaal

Ipswich Town: Supple; Wilnes, Naylor, De Vos, Sigurdsson; Peters, Bertin, Westlake, Currie; Parkin, Forster. Substitutes: Richards for Currie, 62 mins, Bowditch for Bertin 72, Haynes for Parkin 72, Barron for Sigurdsson 79, Clarke for Forster 83.

Referee: Mr B Kuipers.

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