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On this day in Ipswich Town’s history: super sub Clarke sinks Saints

PUBLISHED: 05:59 09 September 2020

Billy Clarke celebrates the winning goal for the Blues in the 2-1 win against Southampton at Portman Road in 2006

Billy Clarke celebrates the winning goal for the Blues in the 2-1 win against Southampton at Portman Road in 2006

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In this daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 14 years ago when Billy Clarke ruined George Burley’s Portman Road return

Billy Clarke is congraluated for his winning goal against Southampton, on September 9, 2006Billy Clarke is congraluated for his winning goal against Southampton, on September 9, 2006

Billy Clarke was the star performer as Town weathered an early storm from Southampton, with former Town boss George Burley are the helm, to snatch all three points on September 9, 2006.

This was manager Jim Magilton’s first home victory as new Town boss - he had been appointed in early June following Joe Royle’s departure - but for a while it looked like his side would be over-run.

Powerful striker Kenwyne Jones, a Trinidad & Tobago international, had put the Saints 1-0 up inside three minutes, and Town wobbled before finally find their feet in the second half.

Burley’s men lived to regret a spate of missed first-half chances to add to their lead when Jermaine Wright, one of three ex-Town players in the Southampton ranks - together with keeper Kelvin Davis and defender Chris Makin - tripped Alan Lee in the box.

Town fans pictured at Portman Road during the win over Southampton in 2006Town fans pictured at Portman Road during the win over Southampton in 2006

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Simon Walton is congratulated after netting a penalty for the equaliser against the Saints, 14 years agoSimon Walton is congratulated after netting a penalty for the equaliser against the Saints, 14 years ago

Up stepped Simon Walton to convert the 67th minute penalty, past Davis.

Lee had been operating up front with Jon Macken, who was making his Town debut, but it was the introduction of the diminutive Clarke as a substitute for Macken, two minutes before the equaliser, that proved crucial.

Clarke delightfully headed home Mark Noble’s 78th minute free-kick to earn all three points for Town.

Magilton’s first three matches had ended in defeat, to Wolves, Crystal Palace and Leicester, but there were encouraging signs with this win over Southampton, following on from a first victory at QPR.

Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton alongside Saints manager and former Town boss George BurleyIpswich Town manager Jim Magilton alongside Saints manager and former Town boss George Burley

However, Town flattered to deceive for much of the campaign, finishing in 14th spot. Southampton made the play-offs in sixth slot, before losing to Burley’s former club Derby County on a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final stage.

Academy product Clarke only scored three league goals for Town from 49 appearances, although 29 of these 49 games were as a substitute, before his exit in 2009.

He has been much-travelled since then, playing for the likes of Blackpool, Crawley, Charlton, Bradford (three spells, including a current one), Plymouth and Grimsby.


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