Veteran praises rookie

OLD Father Time of the Blues hailed the new kid on the block as Ipswich took a hard-earned point from Southampton.Richard Naylor, the club's longest-serving player, opened the scoring for Town and then 17-year-old Owen Garvan put them ahead for a second time.

By Derek Davis

OLD Father Time of the Blues hailed the new kid on the block as Ipswich took a hard-earned point from Southampton.

Richard Naylor, the club's longest-serving player, opened the scoring for Town and then 17-year-old Owen Garvan put them ahead for a second time.

In between Darren Powell levelled before Dennis Wise equalised for a second time to give Southampton a deserved draw.

Naylor, a product of the Ipswich youth system himself, said: “Owen stood up to Wise, who always gives you a few bits and pieces and got a great goal.

“We are all really pleased for him because he is a terrific young lad and has a big future in the game.

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“He took his goal really well and it was good to get off the mark for the club and it was an important goal for us.

“Owen also hit one in the first half really well and it was another difficult one coming out of the sky and having to be patient. The keeper made a great save from the first one but it was great to see the other one go in.”

Naylor also had words of praise for young keeper Lewis Price, who again made some big saves.

He said: “Southampton counter-attacked us when we gave the ball away sloppily and Price has made some great saves just as he did on Saturday at Sheffield United.”

Naylor was unhappy with conceding two goals but felt the result was a fair one.

“We are disappointed with the goals we conceded but I would imagine they are just as disappointed with the two they let in. It was all set pieces.

“Daz (Darren Currie) and I have a good understanding at corners and it worked well.

“All in all it was a good point. The game ebbed and flowed and neither team really got on top.”

Blues boss Joe Royle was delighted to get a point and admitted he thought about accepting the bad light.

He said: “It was a fantastic, exciting game but I just hope we have not used up too much of our luck in one go.

“They are easily the best team we have played. Quite honestly it was a great point for us.

“They caught us with four missing and then went to five when Fabian Wilnis went off injured and really Jay McEveley should not have carried on with a stomach upset.

“When the lights went out and there was a chance the game could be called off I have to admit I was in two minds.

“I knew they were a good, powerful, strong and athletic side. But I put a brave face on and said we were desperate to play.

“We got a point even though we rode our luck a little. Lewis has made a couple of terrific saves, although we had our chances too, with Dean Bowditch missing from close range and their keeper making one of the saves of the season from Owen.”

Saints boss Harry Redknapp was less pleased and saw it as two points dropped.

Redknapp said: “I've never seen a team make so many chances or miss so many. It is not a great point. We should have won comfortably.

“We played some great football and the three points were there for the taking.”

Wilnis could be out for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, while McEveley is once again a doubt for the Norwich match.

Portman Road was plunged into darkness within five minutes of last night's Championship game between Ipswich Town and Southampton.

The game was delayed for 40 minutes before restarting, despite concerns over one corner of the ground, with one pylon not operating on full power, and after much discussion between the referee, two managers and safety chiefs.

Rival bosses Joe Royle and Harry Redknapp were insistent that the game went ahead and, once the referee was satisfied with the lux levels, it did.

The floodlights failed four minutes and 40 seconds into the match, just as Southampton were preparing to take a corner at the North Stand end.

It was all rather embarrassing for the club's main sponsors, Powergen, although they did get an even bigger amount of coverage than usual.

The North Stand chanted: 'Sheepshanks pay the bill' and the mood stayed upbeat.

An announcement was made telling the crowd the lights were expected to go back on within '10 to 15 minutes' and was immediately followed by a song from Lowestoft band The Darkness.

The Lowestoft link was doubly fitting, with former Blues and England captain Terry Butcher, who hails from the seaside town, a guest of chairman David Sheepshanks in the directors' box.

It is believed the cause of the problem stemmed from a torrential downpour on Saturday which forced the Blues' Academy Under-18 game with Spurs to be abandoned at half-time with Town leading 3-0.

Ipswich Town chief executive Derek Bowden said a full-scale investigation would be launched this morning to identify the cause.

The floodlights have twice before gone out at Portman Road, once when the lights fused due to excess alcohol being flushed away through the stands by fans in a friendly against Celtic and earlier against Coventry City in a league game during the early 1970s.

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