Town get back among the goals
Oxford United 1Ipswich Town 5GOALS were what Joe Royle was demanding and after going behind early on Ipswich provided him with just that, writes Derek Davis.
Oxford United 1
Ipswich Town 5
GOALS were what Joe Royle was demanding and after going behind early on Ipswich provided him with just that, writes Derek Davis.
Jim Magilton scored the fifth goal against his old club after Tommy Miller snatched the first two, while strikers Darren Bent and Pablo Counago each got in the score sheets after Steve Basham had put League Two side Oxford United ahead.
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Quite what it tells us about the upcoming season is still too early to tell, but at least the shooting boots have been found, although there again still some unconvincing moments defensively.
Counago spearheaded the attack with Bent wide right and Dean Bowditch on the left providing width.
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There was certainly plenty of life in the Blues' three-pronged attack with Bent showing pace and confidence to get past defenders and pulling the ball back before it was cleared with Counago hovering.
Bent got on the end of a great ball by Bowditch, whose run in the left channel left defenders trailing, but Simon Cox made a good save with his legs from the shot.
Defender Richard Naylor stayed up from a corner and tried to play Counago in but against the Spaniard was not aware and the chance went begging.
But Town went behind after just eight minutes from Oxford's first meaningful attack.
When the much-travelled Tommy Mooney played a ball between Town's centre-backs Basham was strong enough to hold off the challenge to beat Kelvin Davis with a powerful shot from 10 yards.
Town continued to play the better football and won a free-kick 25 yards out when Paul Wanless tripped Tommy Miller as he surged through the middle.
Skipper Magilton, making his return to club where it all began for him, squared a ball for Miller. who lashed it in from 25 yards.
Shaven-haired Miller snared his second goal three minutes later when Leo Roget fouled the midfielder in the area for a soft penalty and the Town No. 8 composed himself to send Cox the wrong way from the 12-yard spot to maintain his 100% penalty-scoring record.
Bent went close with a right-footed half volley after a painful block and he forced Cox to fumble with a vicious shot which Counago played back to Bowditch, but the young keeper recovered well to make a fine save.
The England Under-21 international got the goal he deserved a couple of minutes after the break when he controlled a diagonal ball from Ian Westlake, playing in central midfield, and hit a tremendous angled low drive from the edge of the area.
The clever Westlake was the provider once again, on the hour, when he played a ball back for Counago to hit first time, 18 yards out, central to goal, into the keeper's top left-hand corner.
By now Ipswich were playing some scintillating, quick, football to delight the 342 Ipswich supporters.
It was an emotional return for former Oxford favourite Magilton and he wrapped the game up in time added on after Bent played a good ball wide. Bowditch took it down well before pulling it back for the Town skipper to slide in and poke home from 10 yards.
Oxford, who narrowly missed promotion from the former Division Three last season, played their part in an entertaining game, although they made eight second- half substitutions.
United skipper Roget tried his luck from 25 yards to the amusement of the crowd, although team-mate Rob Wolleaston was a lot closer with a swerving drive from 20 yards, in the first half.
Mooney headed a Matt Robinson cross wide after finding space down the left flank with Drissa Diallo, playing at right-back in place of an injured Fabian Wilnis, out of position.
Chris Hackett deserved a goal for his tremendous run which took him past three Town defenders before unleashing a wicked left-foot shot which crashed back from the crossbar.
Oxford United: Cox (Clarke, 82) Mackay, Robinson (Alexis, 65) Roget, Woozley (Lois, 65), Wanless, Quinn (Hackett, 46) Wolleaston (E'Beyer, 46) Mooney, Basham (Alsop, 46 – Morgan, 69) Brown (Parker, 46) Subs not used: None
Ipswich Town: Davis, Diallo, Richards, Naylor, De Vos, Westlake, Magilton, Miller (Murray, 70) Counago (Kuqi, 62) Bent, Bowditch. Subs not used: Price, Santos,
Referee: A Woolmer (Northants)