Ipswich Town v Sheffield United nostalgia: Gregory scores first half hat-trick in Blues win

Neil Gregory celebrates during Ipswich Town 3-1 win over Sheffield United in March 1997

Neil Gregory celebrates during Ipswich Town 3-1 win over Sheffield United in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

In this week’s nostalgia, we take a look back to when unsung striker Neil Gregory scored a first half hat-trick as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road in March 1997...

Neil Gregory celebrates one of his three goals during Ipswich Town's 3-1 win over Sheffield United i

Neil Gregory celebrates one of his three goals during Ipswich Town's 3-1 win over Sheffield United in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

Loaned out to Torquay before Christmas and a long way down the list of manager George Burley’s preferred strikers, Neil Gregory took his chances when given an opportunity, scoring a first-half hat-trick at Portman Road in March 1997.

Neil Gregory celebrates with his team-mates as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Roa

Neil Gregory celebrates with his team-mates as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

He bagged his first goal after 19 seconds and added a second in the 11th minute. On both occasions the Blades’ defence was caught woefully square as Gregory streaked away to finish decisively past United keeper Simon Tracey.

Neil Gregory celebrates as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road in March 1997

Neil Gregory celebrates as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

- MORE: Town v Blades match preview

Neil Gregory celebrates with James Scowcroft and Gus Uhlenbeek during Ipswich Town 3-1 win over Shef

Neil Gregory celebrates with James Scowcroft and Gus Uhlenbeek during Ipswich Town 3-1 win over Sheffield United in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

The visitors began to find their own spaces in attack and were back in it in the 21st minute, as Jan Fjortoft punished a badly misdirected header by Steve Sedgley to score from a testing angle.

Neil Gregory celebrates with Geriant Williams during Ipswich Town's 3-1 win over Sheffield United in

Neil Gregory celebrates with Geriant Williams during Ipswich Town's 3-1 win over Sheffield United in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

- MORE: Osman: Mick owes it to the fans to pick a strong side in Cup

Neil Gregory nets a first half hat-trick as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road i

Neil Gregory nets a first half hat-trick as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Portman Road in March 1997 - Credit: Archant

However, they continued to look vulnerable to Gregory’s pace, and his hat-trick came in the 37th minute after another incisive through-ball from Paul Mason.

Town XI: R Wright (GK). Stockwell, Taricco, Vaughan, Swailes, Williams, Uhlenbeek, Sedgley, Gregory, Scowcroft (Milton), Mason (Dyer). Attendance: 10,374.

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