Leicester lashed for six by Town
SOCCER: Ipswich Town 6 Leicester City 1. IPSWICH manager George Burley has set his side the target of scoring 100 league goals this season and they smashed six of them past promotion hopefuls Leicester City at Portman Road this afternoon.
Ipswich Town 6 Leicester City 1
IPSWICH manager George Burley has set his side the target of scoring 100 league goals this season and they smashed six of them past promotion hopefuls Leicester City at Portman Road this afternoon.
Two goals from Matt Holland, two from Pablo Counago and one each from Darren Ambrose and Finidi George gave Ipswich a thrilling start to their home campaign and resigned Leicester to a humiliating 6-1 hammering.
Ipswich changed their system with Mark Venus included in a three-man defence and Jermaine Wright and Jamie Clapham filling in as wing-backs. Darren Bent and Marcus Stewart led the attack with Ambrose playing just in front of Holland and Magilton in midfield.
A pulsating first half of football begun in end to end fashion with both sides showing why they are amongst the favourites for a quick return to the Premiership.
Muzzy Izzet pulled the strings in the Leicester midfield and a fantastic run by the Turk, beating Venus and Thomas Gaardsoe before firing in a powerful shot which Andy Marshall dived to turn around the post.
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Ipswich should have taken the lead on 22 minutes when Hermann Hreidarsson headed down a Ambrose cross. The ball hit the arm of substitute Jonathan Ashton and the referee awarded Town a penalty.
Stewart showed his renewed confidence by volunteering to take the kick but Ian Walker produced a good save and was ready to block the rebound as well.
Leicester could have opened the scoring moments later when James Scowcroft crashed a long-range shot against the Town crossbar.
Injuries to Izzet, Gerry Target and Nicky Summerbee forced Leicester manager Micky Adams to make three first-half changes. With each departure Town's chances of victory increased as did their control of the game.
Ipswich created a growing number of openings before finally taking the lead in first-half injury-time. Matt Holland reached a flick on from Darren Bent, beat his man and chipped in a delightful finish.
But joy for the home crowd was short-lived. Within seconds a speculative 30-yard shot from Jonathan Stevenson slipped under the body of Marshall and into the net.
The teams went in level at half-time but the Blues would have known that they had let a crucial advantage slip.
In a sensational second-half Town showed that they were determined not to be left to regret that mistake.
Holland put Ipswich back in front on 54 minutes when he turned in Ambrose's cross after a well-worked short-corner.
Ambrose then turned goalscorer. Finidi George was brought on in place of Venus as Town reverted to a 4-4-2 formation. With the Leicester defence constantly stretched George began to run riot and scorched his way to the by-line before crossing for young Ambrose to tap in at the far-post.
At 3-1 there was only going to be one winner of the game and George continued to revel in the space he was given.
On 73 minutes Leicester failed to clear danger in their area and the ball fell to George who swept in his first goal of the season.
But there was still more to come from Ipswich. The impressive Stewart once again endeared himself to the home fans with a tireless display and received a standing ovation when replaced by Pablo Counago with seven minutes remaining.
There must have been a tinge of regret from Stewart as Counago proceeded to score twice taking advantage of some very slack defending from Leicester in the closing stages of the game.
There was a stroke of good fortune surrounding the Spanish striker's first competitive goal for the Ipswich first-team as his shot from the edge of the box was deflected past the helpless Walker on 83 minutes.
But there were no doubts about his goal which completed the 6-1 scoreline as Counago fired in yet another injury time goal to send Ipswich fans home in jubilant mood.
This was a key match for Ipswich and a win was vital but to smash six past fellow promotion favourites Leicester is a powerful warning shot to the whole of Division One.
However, even a 6-1 hammering only counts for three league points and many Town fans may have felt this pleased after the Blues' opening home match of last season. Let's hope that this really is a sign of things to come.