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On this day in Ipswich Town’s history: Armstrong on target in European tie

PUBLISHED: 05:57 19 September 2020

Town goalscorer Alun Armstrong  has a chance during the UEFA Cup te against FK Sartid. He was denied by keeper Dragan Zilic. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

Town goalscorer Alun Armstrong has a chance during the UEFA Cup te against FK Sartid. He was denied by keeper Dragan Zilic. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

In this regular feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 18 years ago when George Burley’s side drew 1-1 with RK Sartid in the UEFA Cup

Flashback to 18 years ago: Tommy Miller dives between two Sartid players, on September 19, 2002.Flashback to 18 years ago: Tommy Miller dives between two Sartid players, on September 19, 2002.

The 2002-03 season was such a strange affair, Ipswich Town having been relegated from the Premier League the previous summer but having qualified for the UEFA Cup thanks to their Fair Play ranking.

Town had a testing season, including going into administration in February and so having to sell several of their key players, including striker Marcus Stewart and attacker Darren Ambrose.

Manager George Burley was to eventually lose his joob following a dismal 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town in mid-October. I witnessed that awful midweek night from the Blundell Park press box. It was not a pretty sight.

Alun Armstrong celebrates his equaliser with Darren Ambrose, during the UEFA Cup tie against FK Sartid from 18 years ago. Picture: KEITH MINDHAMAlun Armstrong celebrates his equaliser with Darren Ambrose, during the UEFA Cup tie against FK Sartid from 18 years ago. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

- Carl Marston’s Travels with Town: waiting half the night for Roy Keane to appear

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But Town did venture past two rounds of the UEFA Cup, following up a win over Avenir Beggen in the qualifying round, helped by a spanking 8-1 home win in the second leg, with a first round meeting with RK Sartid, a Serbian team based in Semderevo.

Alun Armstrong in action during Town's UEFA Cup tie against FK Sartid, from September 19, 2002Alun Armstrong in action during Town's UEFA Cup tie against FK Sartid, from September 19, 2002

The first leg was exactly 18 years ago, on September 19, 2002, a crowd of 16,933 watching a 1-1 drew at Portman Road.

Alun Armstrong obliged with the Town goal, netting a 56th minute equaliser following Nenad Mirosavljevic’s 32nd opener for the visitors.

Unfortunately, it was one of only two goals netted by Armstrong that season, from 24 outings.

A £500,000 recruit from Middlesbrough, Armstrong only scored 19 goals over three years and 94 appearances, before moving on to Darlington on a free transfer.

Town went on to win the second leg 1-0, via Marcus Bent’s penalty, to win 2-1 on aggregate, although they bowed out of the competition at the next staged, pipped by Slovan Liberec 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate score.


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