Town reserves fail to hold off Gunners

Ipswich Reserves 1 Arsenal Reserves 4IPSWICH Town's second string were on the wrong end of a heavy home defeat at Portman Road – but wasteful finishing from the visitors kept the scoreline respectable.

By Nick Richards

Ipswich Reserves 1 Arsenal Reserves 4

IPSWICH Town's second string were on the wrong end of a heavy home defeat at Portman Road – but wasteful finishing from the visitors kept the scoreline respectable.

After taking an early lead and dominating much of the first half, Ipswich collapsed towards the interval and found themselves 3-1 down.

The Gunners then killed off the contest just after the hour, leaving Ipswich with no way back into the game.

Town had struck as early as the third minute when Dean Bowditch picked the ball up on the left and cut across the centre of the field taking three defenders with him. He then released Nabil Abidallah on the right who beat Stuart Taylor at the near post.

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Town had a great first quarter of an hour with Adem Atay pulling the strings in the midfield.

However, Arsenal got back into the game after 18 minutes when Aliadiere prodded the ball past Price after gangly midfielder John Halls had brushed his way effortlessly through the Town defence.

Halls filled the role Patrick Vieira plays for the first team and he caught the eye all night, no doubt impressing the likes of Barry Fry and Paul Goddard watching in the stands.

As Arsenal began to dominate the game they also started to spurn a series of chances. Guilty of virtually all of them was Gunners centre forward Quincey.

On the half hour he outstripped two Town defenders and produced a weak finish and five minutes later after some truly dazzling approach play his final shot let him down badly.

It clearly wasn't Quincey's night when he tried to fire home from 15 yards on the stroke of half-time, but shot wide of Price.

Luckily for him Arsenal had burst into a 3-1 lead in the preceding five minutes. Firstly right back Justin Hoyte crashed home a shot over Price from the edge of the box with his right foot.

Three minutes later Hills again pushed forward and released Thomas who swerved his way into the box and shot past Price from a couple of yards.

In the second half Town started brightly when Liam Craig, a late change for the injured Darren Bent, had his best chance of the night drawing a fine save from Taylor.

It was the best Ipswich could offer and after 64 minutes Halls put the game beyond doubt when he got the goal his persistence deserved, poking home from close range following a corner.

Arsenal sat back with the game won and invited Ipswich to try to find their way back into the contest.

Plus points for Town were the performance of the players nearer the first team – Westlake and Richards didn't do much wrong and the Town midfield was competitive all night.

Dean Bowditch had a tough time against a strong Arsenal defence and his frustrating night included a good chance which he blazed over two minutes from time and a whack on the knee as the final whistle blew.

Ipswich Town: Price, Okay (Synott 83), Richards, Murray, Collins, Nash, Abidallah, Atay (Robinson 65), Craig (Reid 65), Bowditch, Westlake. Subs not used: Supple, Krause.

Arsenal: Taylor, Hoyte, Clichy, Halls, Tavlaridis, Bailey, Bradley (Fowler 81), Pauliniho (Spicer, 81), Quincey (Nicolau, 85), Aliadiere, Thomas. Subs not used: Holloway, Oji.

Referee: G J Lewis. Attendance: 1,824

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