Brian paid the price for moment of glory

BRIAN Talbot played a leading role in Ipswich's semi-final win against West Bromwich Albion, even though he was only on the field for seven minutes!

Nick Garnham

BRIAN Talbot played a leading role in Ipswich's semi-final win against West Bromwich Albion, even though he was only on the field for seven minutes!

Talbot scored the opening goal as Town won 3-1 at Highbury to reach Wembley for the first time in the club's history.

But his moment of glory came at a price. As he headed home there was a sickening clash of heads with Albion skipper John Wile that left both players laid out and in urgent need of medical attention.

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Talbot, who was left badly dazed and needed three stitches above his right eye, said: “People talk about the clash between me and John Wile, but to be honest when you are playing you don't think about what may happen.

“I saw the cross coming from the left wing and I knew that as long as I made good contact and headed it in the right place I would score, because I could see a gap inside the near post.

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“John Wile was too late and had no chance of getting the ball - he was either very brave or stupid - and caught me as I was falling.

“Wile's cut was on his head and he was bandaged up and carried on, but mine was just above my right eye.

“It would have been a waste of time if I had been injured and not scored, but fortunately it went in and gave everyone a lift and put us on the road to winning the match.”

Talbot was led away to be stitched up and 10 minutes later reappeared, but after running along the touchline he knew he was not fit to continue and Mick Lambert went on as substitute.

“I was desperate to go back on and wanted to play in the rest of the match because it was a big occasion, but I just could not see clearly.

“To be fair to them they obviously did not need me because we won 3-1!”

After spending most of the match in the dressing room trying to sleep he returned in time to see the third goal go in and join in the post-match celebrations as Ipswich, who were the underdogs, triumphed on the day.

Talbot said he felt West Brom were over-confident before the semi-final.

“I remember their manager Ron Atkinson, who I later got to know because I played for him at West Brom, being pictured with the cup before the match.”

The day after the semi-final success, even though his eye was closed up and his head still throbbing, Talbot was back in action - this time as manager of Ipswich Sunday Morning League side Westgate Ward FC.

“The team was made up of a lot of my friends, which was nice because I was able to give something back.

“It was a very enjoyable period of my life - we had a good social side - which I missed when I left the club.”

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