Town kids show the future is bright
THE future's bright! That was the verdict today after a young Ipswich Town reserve side gave local rivals Norwich City a football lesson at Portman Road.
THE future's bright! That was the verdict today after a young Ipswich Town reserve side gave local rivals Norwich City a football
lesson at Portman Road, Writes Elvin King.
Ian Westlake at just turned 22 was the eldest Town player in a side that demolished the Canaries last night. Only one player in the starting line-up - Canadian international winger Jaime Peters - was not a product of the Portman Road Academy.
The young guns who are being groomed to bring the good times back to Town were far too good for a City side that included two veterans of Norwich's Premiership campaign last season in Craig Fleming and Simon Charlton at the heart of their defence.
Despite Town's youth it was men against boys when it came to technique, focus and shape and it would have been a bigger Premiership Reserves League victory if Paul Gallagher had not been on form in the Norwich goal.
He made a number of saves keeping out a stunning shot from Billy Clarke and a penalty from Liam Craig.
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But Gallagher was helpless when Ipswich scored three classy goals to please their fans that always like to see the enemy from north of the border beaten.
In the eighth minute striker Clarke's skill, pace and control put him a position to play Westlake in. The midfielder showed his class with a cool low finish into the corner of the goal.
Five minutes later saw Clarke's 20-yard left-footed thunderbolt beaten away by Gallagher, and in the 17th minute first-team manager Joe Royle will have purred again when Clarke left two defenders standing before setting up Danny Haynes with a chance that was missed.
Fleming fouled Gerard Nash as Craig's 33rd minute corner came over, but Craig's spot kick was well saved by the keeper diving to his left.
On the stroke of half-time Nash had a downward header cleared off the line.
Aidan Collins and Scott Barron looked sound at the back, and it was the former's 61st-minute long ball that was fastened on to by Haynes before herifled an angled shot high into the net.
With 11 minutes left Jaime Peters made it three after Clarke and Darryl Knights had done the spadework. Peters tricked his marker and shot low across Gallagher into the far corner.
Chris Casement impressed after the break, while Owen Garvan knocked the ball around in fluent style for the final 45 minutes.
Garvan announced himself fit to play despite still suffering from bruises gained in the FA Youth Cup at Leeds last week, but striker Adam Proudlock missed out with a knee injury.
Both Westlake and Garvan will gain from their 45 minutes of action and could well be available for selection for Saturday's home Championship game against QPR.
It was another night when the Academy took the acclaim, and on this evidence Town's future looks much brighter than City's.
Ipswich Town: Supple; Moore, Collins, Nash (sub Casement 46), Barron; Peters, Trotter, Westlake (Garvan 46), Craig; Clarke, Haynes (Knights 72). Subs: Short, Lordan.
Norwich City: Gallagher; Smith, Fleming, Charlton, Cole; Kerr (Fulcher 65), Howlett, Rossi Jarvis, Asprey (Hunter 46); Eagle, Ryan Jarvis. Sub: Arnold.
Referee: Mr K Wright