On this day in Ipswich Town’s history: Intense rivalry with Jewell’s Bantaams
PUBLISHED: 10:07 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:33 08 September 2020
In this daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 22 years ago when Town convincingly beat eventual promotion rivals Bradford City
Ipswich Town, with George Burley still at the helm, mounted a strong push for automatic promotion from the second tier during 1998-99.
And they were boosted by a 3-0 home win over Bradford City on September 8, 1998, in front of a Portman Road crowd of 11,596, helped by a brace of goals from James Scowcroft and one from defender Mark Venus.
Scowcroft was to finish as Town’s joint top scorer with 14 goals (13 in the league), level with fellow front-man David Johnson, but Town’s main strength was their defence with just a mere 32 goals conceded in the 46 league fixtures.
However, Town were to miss out on automatic promotion to the top flight by just one place and just one point, with Bradford City the ones to pip them to second place.
Peter Reid’s Sunderland were the runaway title winners, accumulating a massive 105 points during the season, a new record at the time, and losing just three matches.
Town were hampered by a poor start to the campaign. In fact, Burley’s boys failed to score a goal in their first four league matches, with three straight goalless draws at Grimsby and Portsmouth, and at home to Bury, plus a 2-0 home defeat to eventual champions Sunderland.
Big-spending Bradford, with future Ipswich manager Paul Jewell at the helm, started even more poorly with four defeats in their first six matches.
But boosted by summer signings Lee Mills (£1million from Port Vale) and Isaiah Rankin (£1.3m from Arsenal), plus experienced skipper Stuart McCall from Rangers, the Yorkshire club finished strongly. Mills netted 24 league goals.
In the end Town, whose more modest signings included Jim Magilton (£680,000 from Sheffield Wednesday) and Fabian Wilnis (£200,000 from De Graafschap) suffered heartache on the final day.
Town hammered Sheffield United 4-1 at home, but were stuck in third due to Bradford’s 3-2 win over Wolves on the final day to clinch promotion to the top flight for the first time in 77 years.
Town lost in the play-offs to Bolton, with Watford eventually triumphant in the final.
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