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On this day in Town’s history: Bent at the double, against the Dons

PUBLISHED: 12:05 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 27 March 2020

Darren Bent celebrates at Wimbledon in March 2004. He scored the first in a 2-1 win

Darren Bent celebrates at Wimbledon in March 2004. He scored the first in a 2-1 win

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year – this time it’s a trip to Wimbledon (or more specifcally, Milton Keynes), 16 years ago, with Darren Bent taking centre stage.

Shefki Kuqi flicks the ball into the net for Ipswich's second, agains hosts WimbledonShefki Kuqi flicks the ball into the net for Ipswich's second, agains hosts Wimbledon

Darren Bent, as all good strikers do, and as all good football pundits are quick to say – ‘knew where the goal was!’

Sixteen years ago, to the day, an in-form Bent was on target again as promotion-chasing Town clinched a 2-1 win away at Wimbledon (National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes) on March 27, 2004.

Front-runner Bent bagged the first and fellow front-man Shefki Kuqi added the crucial second to wrap up a double over the relegation-doomed Dons, in front of a crowd of 6,389.

The prolific Bent had also hit the back of the net in the 4-1 home win over Wimbledon, secured the previous September, alongside goals from Alun Armstrong, Richard Naylor and Pablo Counago.

Darren Bent fires home Ipswich's opener at Wimbledon, 16 years agoDarren Bent fires home Ipswich's opener at Wimbledon, 16 years ago

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Having progressed through the youth team at Portman Road, following his arrival as a 14-year-old in 1998, Bent soon became one of the success stories of the Town youth set-up just after the turn of the century.

And Bent was showing the sort of form that would eventually earn him 13 full England caps, at around the time of that trip to Wimbledon’s final temporary home at Milton Keynes from 16 years ago – the south London club was dissolved at the end of that season, to be immediately reincarnated as Milton Keynes Dons.

During the 2003-04 season, Bent led the Town goalscorers with 16 to his name as the club went on to reach the second tier play-offs, where they lost in the semi-finals to West Ham (2-1 on aggregate).

Shefki Kuqi celebrates his goal in his normal fashionShefki Kuqi celebrates his goal in his normal fashion

The following season was even better for Bent, seeing him rattle up 20 goals, and in all he fired home 56 goals in 141 appearances for Ipswich, more than often catching defenders unawares with his swift turn of pace.

He went on to enjoy a very successful club career, at the likes of Charlton, Tottenham, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Derby, but not before he had done Town proud.

He retired from the professional game last summer.


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