Royle visit for Harwich

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle and Essex County FA President Jack Hayward opened the new changing facilities and boardroom at Harwich Football Club last night.

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle and Essex County FA President Jack Hayward opened the new changing facilities and boardroom at Harwich Football Club last night, writes Mike Bacon.

On a cold and windy evening, a good crowd gathered for the opening of the new building and Ipswich Town sent a strong reserve team along to do battle with the Jewson League Premier Division outfit.

Speeches were held before the ceremony with Harwich chairman Tony Armstrong thanking the main sponsors who helped fund the £250,000 project, as well as Joe Royle for bringing over an Ipswich Town side.

It wasn't just the changing rooms and boardroom that were being opened. New toilet facilities, dugouts and a refurbishment of the social club were all part of the quarter-of-a-million pound package.

Mr Armstrong said: "Last year we were rock bottom in the Jewson League for our facilities and our hospitality. The League warned us to do something about it and we were glad all this has finally come off," he said.

"This is a very important night for Harwich & Parkeston because the facilities are hopefully going to be the future of this club for this whole century."

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The fans had certainly turned out despite the poor weather and the new changing rooms looked a picture as the Jewson League side took on an Ipswich Town XI.

Harwich & Parkeston 1

Ipswich Town Reserves 5

CLASSY young Ipswich had too much for hearty Harwich in this entertaining exhibition match to mark the opening of new facilities at the historic Royal Oak, writes Derek Davis.

Joe Royle did the honours then watched with as his up-and-coming young guns fired themselves into a four-goal half-time lead through Ian Westlake, Sam Morrow, Dean Bowditch and Matt Bloomfield.

But the biggest cheers from the 1,023 crowd who braved the elements to turn out were for two penalty incidents in the second half.

Bowditch was tripped in the area and took the spot-kick himself. But Nathan Munson saved low to his right to cap a fine individual performance. The Shrimpers keeper kept the score down with a string of super stops.

The second penalty came five minutes later when James Pullen took out the wily Mitchell Springett and Gareth Heath sent the Town keeper the wrong way.

Substitute striker Matt Robinson made it five with a well- taken goal after controlling with his chest and firing low past Munson.

The Jewson League side worked hard but, playing into the face of a biting snow blizzard, struggled to contain the rampant youngsters who showed plenty of movement and pace.

Nabil Abidallah was the oldest Town player after Justin Miller pulled out to hold talks with Bournemouth and striker Alun Armstrong missed out with a sore hamstring.

England Under-19 midfielder Matt Bloomfield and Ian Westlake, in particular, stood out while the young strikers Bowditch and Morrow showed what wonderful prospects they are.

Harwich & Parkeston: Munson, Merchant, Eagle, Stace, Neale, Hughes, Springett, Fearn, Heath, Brothers, Johnston, Race, Windred, Sale, Young, Hyde.

Ipswich Town Res: Pullen, Okay, Boardley, Bloomfield, Mitchell, Bonwick, Abidallah, Westlake, Morrow, Bowditch, Richards, Murray, Price, Manning, Smith, Robinson, Atay, Flack.

Referee: Matt Stewart (Harwich).

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