HomeMatch Reports2004-2005 - Ipswich Town 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Coca Cola Championship - Tuesday 21st December 2004

Ipswich Town
Richard Naylor 66
Darren Bent 89
Wigan Athletic
Leighton Baines 57
Wigan Athletic
Venue: Portman Road
Referee: Richard Beeby (Northampton)
Attendance: 28,286

Report by: John Patrick Heeley

Ipswich stormed to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship after a thrilling late winner from Darren Bent giving them a 2-1 win over previous leaders Wigan.

The 20-year-old struck with a minute remaining, latching onto a long ball and lobbing goalkeeper John Filan.

The win capped a fine comeback by the home side, who trailed to a stunning Leighton Baines strike.

The full-back, sent off in the corresponding fixture last season, struck from 40 yards to give the Latics a 57th-minute lead.

But Richard Naylor headed in for second-placed Ipswich 10 minutes later and Bent held his nerve to snatch a dramatic win.

This match was played under mist which surrounded Portman Road, but it was clear that both sides had top-flight credentials.

Jason Roberts, who has had Premiership experience with West Brom, was the early threat for the visitors as he used his physical power to get behind the Ipswich rearguard twice.

After five minutes he out-muscled Richard Naylor and cut the ball back to Gary Teale, but home keeper Kelvin Davis was down swiftly to smother and stop a certain goal.

A minute later Roberts powered past Matt Richards but the full-back, standing in for the injured Drissa Diallo, did just enough to take the sting out of the shot.

The home side's initial unease was settled by new signing Darren Currie, making his first start since his £250,000 move from Brighton.

The winger was lively throughout, first forcing John Filan to save from a 25-yard free-kick after 13 minutes.

Currie also created his side's best chance of the opening period, sending Bent through on goal with a deft flick down the right flank on the half-hour mark.

Bent cut inside and looked set to score, but the England Under-21 international lifted his shot over the bar.

Although the visitors threatened at stages - notably through Teale's deflected volley flashing wide after 27 minutes - Joe Royle's side were starting to take control of the game.

Kuqi was guilty of two misses just before half-time, the first when he fortuitously sent himself through on goal when the ball hit the back of his head. But the Finland striker blazed over, then headed wide from six yards.

Royle's men continued their threat into the second half, Currie forcing Filan to save low down after selling Matt Jackson a terrific dummy.

The 28-year-old also saved from Bent, and Fabian Wilnis fired wide - but Ipswich were made to pay for their profligacy when Baines picked the ball up 40 yards from goal after 56 minutes.

The full-back, who has been linked to a number of Premiership clubs, scored his first senior goal by unleashing an unstoppable drive which flew into the top corner.

But the home side pushed forward and were level 10 minutes later through Naylor.

Currie curled a wicked free-kick from the left and the centre-back's flicked header from six yards left Filan rooted to the spot.

Both sides searched for a winner, with Baines trying his luck again a minute after the leveller from a similar distance to his earlier breakthrough - but Davis was equal to the effort.

Nathan Ellington, unusually subdued and reduced to long-range efforts, fired a shot wide with 19 minutes remaining.

Kuqi was then sent through four minutes later but Filan got just enough on the lobbed header to divert it safe - but Ellington was warming to the challenge.

With 11 minutes remaining he fired a low volley from distance which Davis did well to save.

Both keeper's goals were peppered with long range efforts until Kuqi tried his best to break his duck with a header which was tipped over by Filan.

But just when the game looked set to end level, Bent produced the decisive strike for Joe Royle's men.

  • Ipswich Town
  • Kelvin Davies
  • Fabian Wilnis
  • Jason De Vos
  • Richard Naylor
  • Matthew Richards
  • Tommy Miller
  • Jim Magilton
  • Ian Westlake
  • Darren Currie
  • Darren Bent
  • Shefki Kuqi
  • Shane Supple
  • Pablo Counago
  • Daniel Karbassiyoon
  • Dean Bowditch
  • Aidan Collins
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