HomeMatch Reports2003-2004 - Ipswich Town 1 Wigan Athletic 3

Nationwide League Division One - Saturday 7th February 2004

Ipswich Town
Shefki Kuqi 60
Wigan Athletic
Jason Roberts 18
Nathan Ellington 33
Gary Teale 53
Wigan Athletic
Venue: Portman Road
Referee: Paul Taylor (Herfordshire)
Attendance: 22,093

Report by: John Patrick Heeley

Wigan continued their impressive record in front of the Sky Sports cameras with an outstanding display against promotion rivals Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

In a first half in which you'll struggle to see a better performance from Paul Jewell's men, Latics totally dominated proceedings, and the 2-0 lead that they took into the break could have been far more - three more goals wouldn't have flattered them.

However on the minus side teenage sensation Leighton Baines was given his marching orders 8 minutes from time for two yellow cards, although the second offence may have been a tad harsh on the 19-year-old defender who had been excellent throughout the game.

Jewell made one change to his side with new signing Alan Mahon going straight into the starting line up at the expense of Lee McCulloch who dropped to the bench.

Three points were vital and as the game was being played with a 5.30pm kick off both sides were fully aware that a win would move them to third in the table and within 4 points of an automatic promotion spot - results elsewhere more or less going their way.

Wigan hit their hosts from the outset and Mahon almost mirrored Jason Robert's feat at Preston by scoring on his debut inside the first minute but the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder sent his effort wide from just inside the area.

A Gary Teale centre was then intercepted by Town defender Drissa Diallo with Jason Roberts eagerly awaiting his chance and then fellow defender Matthew Richards, younger than Wigan's Leighton Baines by one day, was forced to clear a Roberts shot off the line with keeper Kelvin Davis well beaten after the ex-West Brom striker had been put through by Ellington following good work from Gary Teale in midfield.

All this happened in the opening few minutes and it was a matter of when and not if Wigan would open their Portman Road account so it came as little surprise when they took the lead in the 18th minute.

Jason De Vos' strong upfield header from Davis' long kick forward was misjudged by Diallo on the halfway line which allowed JASON ROBERTS to race clear on goal chased by two defenders and send a low shot beyond the Ipswich keeper's reach from 10 yards out.

Teale almost doubled the lead moments later, using his blistering pace to break clear, but his low drive was turned around the post by Davis.

The Scottish winger was however instrumental in the second goal which arrived in the 33rd minute after Nicky Eaden picked him out on the right with a long ball over the Ipswich defence. Teale squared his pass across to the middle of the box from just inside the area to find NATHAN ELLINGTON who coolly side footed the ball home from 6 yards out.

Joe Royle made two changes during the interval and his side gave Wigan more of a game in the second half and were unfortunate not to have pulled one back early.

Substitute Darren Bent, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Friday, set up Northern Ireland Jim Magilton but the international midfielder skied his shot over the bar from 10 yards out.

Wigan were then denied a third goal with Davis pulling off a fine save to keep out Ellington's shot but he was left helpless in the 53rd minute after Diallo had cleared a Nicky Eaden ball into the box as far as GARY TEALE, the 25-year-old taking one touch before hitting a sweet volley off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net.

Ipswich responded through Magilton, the Town skipper, forcing Filan into making a fine save with a fierce 20 yarder, the loose ball picked up by Shefki Kuqi but the Finland international was also denied by the Wigan keeper.

They did get their consolation goal on the hour mark when a Magilton lob forward bounced the wrong side of Ian Breckin in the centre of the Wigan defence.

SHEFKI KUQI read the ball better and strode past Breckin before slotting the ball under the advancing Filan for his 8th goal since arriving at the club from Sheffield Wednesday at the end of September.

Things may have been different had Bent's shot gone in instead of cracking the crossbar after Kuqi had headed the ball onto him but instead of locking up shop Wigan pushed forward in an attempt to further embarrass their opponents.

A De Vos header and a Roberts shot were both kept out by Davis and then Bullard went close with his long range shot.

Wigan were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute, their 5th dismissal of the season, when Leighton Baines received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

The young defender had been cautioned only 8 minutes earlier for diving under the challenge of Jermaine Wright but the second yellow was a little less deserved after he seemed to collide with Bent with both players going for the same ball.

Wigan hung on for the remaining few minutes of the game and the final whistle signalled jubilant celebrations amongst the Wigan fans who'd made the long trek south.

  • Ipswich Town
  • Kelvin Davies
  • Richard Matthews
  • Drissa Diallo
  • Martijn Reuser 46
  • Chris Bart-Williams 59
  • Tommy Miller
  • Jim Magilton
  • Jermaine Wright
  • Richard Naylor
  • Shefki Kuqi
  • Pablo Counago 46
  • Lewis Price
  • Dean Bowdith
  • Ian Westlake 59
  • Darren Bent 46
  • George Santos 46
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