Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A
Ipswich Town Logo

Ipswich Town 2 - 0 Everton

Half-time: 0 - 0

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #28
3pm Saturday 24 February 2001
Portman Road, Ipswich
Att: 22,220
« Leicester City (h) Ref: Graham Poll Newcastle United (h) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 15th [ Results & Table ]
Alex Nyarko Despite the two-week break during which Everton were expected to miraculously solve their horrendous injury crisis, Walter Smith still had TWELVE of the Premiership squad unavailable for this important match in East Anglia.

Two early chances, including a denied penalty for Ipswich, were stopped by fantastic saves from Paul Gerrard.  Then Everton started to play a little, Jeffers getting through but hitting the side netting before a great move finished with a fine Gravesen shot that flew just inches wide.  More good chances followed as Everton continued to play rather well, Gravesen repeating the feat five minutes later. Bramble tried hard to injure Jeffers and was booked for his trouble.

Some nervous moments for both sides before half-time, with Titus Bramble breaking free on a great run, that Michael Ball blocks but almost messes up as the ball flies off Bramble and just beyond the threatening Scowcroft.

The second period started with Armstrong coming on and inspiring Ipswich to push up against Everton.  Some good exchanges followed but Everton defended astutely under pressure, with Weir, and Nyarko playing well.  Xavier fouled Birchill and got booked, but a snapshot free-kick was brilliantly saved by Gerrard, setting up Tal for a good run.  Exciting end-to-end stuff!

Then, with 20 mins to go, a typically poor decision from Graham Poll saw Nyarko shown a second yellow and sent off for tripping up Bramble.  Mass substitutions followed, which may have changed the shape, finally allowing Matt Holland to score against 10-man Everton.  Followed in less than a minute by Alun Armstrong strolling through the Everton defence to make it 2-0 with a free header.


Ipswich Town: Holland (83'), Armstrong (85')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
Ipswich Town: R Wright, Wilnis (46' Armstrong), Clapham, McGreal, Venus (73' Reuser), Bramble, Magilton (80' Abidallah), Holland, Scowcroft, Burchill, J Wright.  Branagan, Brown.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Xavier, Weir, Ball, Naysmith; Gravesen, Nyarko (70' Sent Off!), Hughes, Tal (71' McLeod); Jeffers (71' Jevons), Campbell. 
Unavailable: Gemmill, Unsworth, S Watson (suspended); Alexandersson, Cleland, Degn, Ferguson, Gascoigne, Pembridge, Pistone (injured); Gough (ill); Moore (International duty).
Myhre, Clarke, Osman.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Ipswich Town: Blue shirts; white shorts; white socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Yellow shirts; blue shorts; yellow socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Ipswich Town: Bramble (22')
EVERTON: [Nyarko (50, 70')], Xavier (59') Nyarko (70')
 Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats  


Mickey Blue Eyes A Waste Odyssey
Iana Petrovskakovalsky Missed Opportunity
Julian Cashen An Absolute Travesty
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Ipswich sink 10-man Everton
by Trevor Haylett
THE SUNDAY TIMES Nyarko exit boosts Ipswich
by Ivo Tennant
THE TIMES Nyarko's exit; Burchill's grand entry
by Nick Szczepanik
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Report
THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited
DAILY POST Link to Daily Post Report

LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to Echo Report

EVERTON FC SITE Link to Official Match Report

BBC SPORTS Link to BBC Sports Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Sky Sports Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
FA PREMIER Link to FA Premier Match Report

 A Waste Odessey
Mickey Blue Eyes
Two weeks is a long time between games.  It is also a long, long way to Ipswich and back. 

In the meantime, journalists with no talent and little moral imperative had delivered crucial news that Ipswich Town FC is home to the largest number of bootleg cigarette smokers in the country.  How did they know this?  Well, it appears some company-sponsored university chair had employed a group of hapless turkeys to go around various football grounds and collect discarded cigarette packets.  They then counted up the illegal packets and hey presto!  Ipswich got labeled, not to say libeled, because they had more than anyone else.  Welcome to Englands gradually privatising education and health systems.  Next up, privatised earthquakes and other disasters.  Better get used to it.  Theres more, and worse, on the way.

You couldnt help thinking of all those Ipswich fans surreptitiously lighting their smuggled ciggies behind the backs of undercover customs agents.  Those Wools are having a HARD time of it recently, what with a Foot and Mouth outbreak and all.  Footy must come as a sharp relief...

The Long Drive

You have to be up early to get to Ipswich and I slept in late!  I drove like a low-flying Eurofighter.  But it turned out to be The Coach, not The Bus, a pleasant surprise.  It was a beautiful morning, icy cold clear blue sky, and the sun just up.  A cold spangle of frost covered everything.  For a change, everybody was dressed like they expected cold weather.  We appear to be the only remaining tribe of the species who have not learned from millions of years of evolutionary meteorology.  Crazy people, crazy place, love it all.  Well, almost all

Part of my preparation during the week had been a hastily arranged meeting with Kings Dock For Everton, a loose grouping of those of us who want to move to the Kings Dock site.  Basic strategy and tactics were agreed and leaflets sent to the participants for distribution at the Ipswich match.  I had to try to persuade some of The Coach to help hand them out.

Democracys a funny thing isnt it?  I know this from my own political experience in the past.  The trick is not to become cynical or discouraged or neglect to take part.  If you dont participate long-term, you deserve what you get.  Look around you for the results of neglect.  Hiding behind this weeks shopping, alcohol, nicotine and drugs wont make it go away.

So I went around The Coach seeking support and handing a batch of leaflets to those who showed willing.  In these circumstances, theres no point actively questioning entrenched apathy beyond a perfunctory encouragement.  Theres no time, and anyway people are entitled to their privacy.  Every now and then, a dead or disinterested face comes alive and that is where the reward is.  Still, we managed to get our share of leaflets distributed.  Well, almost

It was a fractious journey.  Long journeys usually are because it is more difficult for individuals to maintain a song-and-dance act.  After a while, true personality begins to show itself.

The Pre-Match Bevvy

Twenty minutes out of Ipswich we stopped at a pub called, wait for it, The Beagle.  It was a genuine country pub, complete with log fire and outrageous prices.  I liked it a lot except for the dent it made in me wallet.  We clustered for a pre-match ramble and swapping of yarns.

No sooner had we settled than a family of locals came straight over for a chat: dad, mam and two boys on their way to a pub lunch and then the match.  Like most genuine fans, they really knew the game too.  You get a real glow from people like this.  They were eager to talk and swap views, all of it with touches of humour and seriousness to suit.  If the game is to survive the present corporate onslaught, it will be because of families like this get enough of them involved and we can rid ourselves of the Suits and all the miserable organised greed theyve brought into our game.

Tommy cornered the yarning with an incredible story of how he got into the 1986 Cup Final with his mates by crawling through an underground electrical cable duct to emerge luckily in the players tunnel inside Wembley!  At which point they got out and weaved through the waiting regimental band and onto the terraces.  According to Tommy, the bass drum guy smacked him on the head with his drumstick as he shouldered his way past.

No, we didnt believe it either!

The Ground

And so to the ground.  Ipswich have started a rebuilding programme at Portman Road and a new trussed tubular-steel and concrete stand is under construction behind one goal.  But theres a real homely feel to the place and the general atmosphere has none of the neo-chauvinist corporate feel of other grounds.  I hope they can hold onto it as they redevelop.  Even the crowd stewards have none of the shaved-heads/necks-and-earrings you get in the big city grounds.  Most of them looked like they just wanted to get back to tending their crops.

I studied the latest spin of Smiffys Rubik.  Gravesen, Hughes and Nyarko TOGETHER!  Shit. Oh well...  Whatever minor hope I entertained evaporated in the bright light of memory.  Abel was at a peroxide-blond right-back berth and Idan was out wide left.  The whole side looked completely imbalanced.  Then again, we had our usual list of missing players through, er, injury and suspension.  I think we can safely assume that a repeat of this injury thing next season will mean something is seriously adrift behind the scenes.  One full season of it is bad luck.  Twice is not coincidence.  Get your excuses ready now, Smiffy!

The sun was slanting into my eyes too.  It was a hands over eyes thingy until Old Sol disappeared behind the main stand opposite.  Next seat to me, a voluble cockney Blue Belly gave me chapter and verse on tactics and strategy.  I went along with a good deal of what he said until he got to the Everton have never been the same since Bob Latchford bit.  Couldnt help admiring his dedication to The Cause, even though his historical perspective missed out a complete decade.

The Match

Ipswich are a terrific little team: neat interpassing and good individual skills.  They took us to the cleaners in the first third of the game and should have been ahead.  A header hit the post and they were denied a clear penalty after a sadly-hesitant-yet-again Gerrard brought down their man when clean through on the left.  Still, they didnt make the most of it; we got back into the game and began to give as good as we got.

Up front, SuperKev and The Ears were as active as usual and looked like they might break through with some decent service.  It never happened largely because our midfield was playing at its ponderous best and far too busy holding the line to get any decent balls through.  The Ears is still notably and understandably some way short of full match fitness, while SuperKev has only just reached that stage. 

At one point The Ears got felled by an unpunished foul and your immediate thought was that he was injured again.  He had to go off with about 20 minutes left, by which time he had showed a lot of physical courage and effort without reward.  Since this coincided with the dismissal of Nyarko, we were out of it as an attacking force for the last 20 minutes.  Ironically, shortly afterwards, we got our only effort on target with a SuperKev header saved low down left.

Our midfield was as bad and as disjointed as I feared useful only for stifling play by a talented Ipswich.  They were better than us even though they had their own injury problems.  Thank gawd Marcus Stewart wasnt playing!  I still cant figure how someone like Yozzer can look so classy and generally achieve so little.  Gravesen of course is still a complete waste of Premiership space even though hes clearly a fans favourite.  Nyarko couldnt tackle his way out of a bag of ping-pong balls and seems quite incapable of adjusting to our game.  Idan Tal for once had a completely forgettable game on the left.

For us, goals apart, our best players were Davey Weir and Michael Ball.  Both of them performed exceptionally well yet again.  Bally is surely well on course for an England cap.  As an Evertonian, his stomach must be churning at the present state of affairs.

Nyarko was sent off for a second bookable offence.  It was more due to mistiming than anything else, as was the first one.  He cut a pretty hapless figure on the long walk up the touchline. I dont think hell last much longer he didnt even divert to the dugout.

By this time, Ipswich didnt look any more likely to score than we did.  But, 10 minutes after the sending off, a short burst of pressure brought the first goal.  Burchill went right and hit a high cross into the middle where it got headed out to just beyond the penalty area, left side.  Nobody had picked up (as they would have done with Goughy marshalling things) Holland and he hit this sort of weird, scooped half volley that looped up and over Pauls left side.  

Two minutes later, a similar slightly deeper cross from the same place, Abel failed to head it away, it got crossed back in low and a completely unmarked Armstrong headed home from centre point blank range.  It was all over and no mistake.

At least Smiffy had managed to bring on both young Jevons and McLeod to give them a further taste of the real thing. But they never saw enough of the ball to make their mark.

In the end it was a fair result.  We can have no complaint.

The journey back saw us ploughing through a head-on snow storm and the inevitable single lane crawl on the northbound M6 in Cheshire.  I was relieved and aching by the time we came to get off the bus.  As I got off, Terry handed me a batch of leaflets one of the volunteers had secreted on a seat.  Oh well.

Driving home, I pondered our league position and our future.

Our city.  Our future.  Our club.  It still has a ring about it.  And well be leafleting again at the Newcastle home match.  It aint over till its over.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Missed Opportunity
Iana Petrovskakovalsky
I thought we were going to get battered in the first 15 minutes when Ipswich cut through us at will and had a definite penalty turned down.  The next 30 mins saw Everton come in to it more and created a few chances of which we should have scored at least once.

I did not think Nyarko had a very good first half as he was often caught in possession and tried to play football in the wrong areas.  However, in his defence, he has not played for ages and it takes time to adapt to the pace of the game.  One thing that did not endear him to me was the wearing of gloves and a short sleeved top.  What's all that about? 

The second half was going well until Nyarko's sending off (from where I was sitting, it looked like a yellow card offence so he had to go).  I also thought that Nyarko did better in the second half with him adjusting to the game more and he started to see his feints come off.  I'm not convinced he is the answer to our problems but he was not woeful as some would suggest. 

We lacked someone in midfield who could have released a pass for Jeffers to run onto.  Repeatedly, Jeffers made good runs only for a pass to be delayed (Nyarko at fault twice) or sent astray, thus missing the opportunity.  

Stephen Hughes was a big disappointment and did not seem to get going until the 75th minute.  He is very one paced and never seems to have any urgency about him.  The way he admires his passes makes me think we have a third-rate Ray Wilkins in the making.  I have not seen any decent performances from him in the time he has been at the club.  

Idan Tal is too lightweight and is easily brushed off the ball.  He committed the unforgivable sin of taking two corners that never cleared more than shin height and just about reached the 6-yard box.  Gravesen did exactly the same, which makes me wonder what they practice before a game.  Are these two the best corner takers we have?  And why do Walter and Archie put up with it? Every game I have seen this season (about 15 home and away), our corners have been woeful. 

Gravesen kept coming inside to look for the ball and, with the ineffectual Tal on the left, we lacked width.  It was good to see Xavier back and and some more games will give him that match sharpness.  

We did ok yesterday but we really could have won that game if we had showed the same hunger and desire as Ipswich did.  Ipswich have achieved much through a combination of skill and hard graft and make it difficult for teams.  You therefore know what you are coming up against and need to match them and then impose your game on them.  

Coming on the back of 5 straight defeats, Ipswich were bound to be hesitant, so it disappointed me that we did not go for the jugular from the off.  We were so lethargic in the first 15 minutes that it gave Ipswich heart and as a consequence a platform in the game.  

The first goal we conceded (from memory) was because no-one attacked the cleared ball from the area, allowing Holland the time to measure his shot.  Perhaps this would have fallen to Nyarko if he been on the pitch but it is a basic defensive skill to attack the man in possession of the ball.  We did not react quickly enough. 

With more positive thinking and a better game plan, we could have secured at least a point from yesterday... and it disappoints me we did not seem to have any players on the pitch who could grasp this opportunity.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 An Absolute Travesty
Julian Cashen
The Build Up 

Well, living in Ipswich, we left home at 2:15 to get a sample of the pre-match atmosphere.  And pretty good it was too, with the Evertonians particularly those in the bar in good voice.  A few choruses of 'It's a grand old team to play for', a deafening silence from the Ipswich fans.........I was full of confidence. 

But then the game started.  

Shambles; Consolidation; Dominance

After 5 minutes, I thought we were going to lose around 6 - 0.  It's hard to tell, but I'm pretty sure we started with three at the back and wing backs, with Gravesen and Nyarko in the middle and Tal just behind the front two.  Whatever, within the first few minutes Ipswich hit the post (although the ref spotted some pushing and the goal would have been disallowed); Paul Gerrard made a marvellous save; and, let's be honest, Ipswich were unlucky not to get a penalty when Gerrard seemed to trip the on-loan striker Burchill. 

We switched pretty quickly to 4-4-2.  I hate it when we do this exactly the same happened in the home game with Ipswich, and it smacks of making things up as we go along.  Nevertheless, whether it was the change or whether we just woke up, we gradually began to get in to the game.  Bally began to come into his own and showed real class at the back, while Xavier, too, looked a genuine international class player.  Gravesen began to impose himself a little while Kev was leading the line well, linking play and winning the flick-ons. 

By and large, the teams cancelled each other out, with both sides' best players being defenders.  However there was one notable incident that got us all to our feet a truly disgraceful two-footed lunge by Bramble on Jeffers, which left the Ears, after lengthy treatment, returning to the pitch at a hobble.  

In my view, this was a tackle clearly intended to injure our most dangerous player and might well have brought an immediate red card rather than the yellow that Poll in fact produced.  No such luck, but we were lacking up front after this incident, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it puts Franny out for a few games.  

People talk about Franny needing to get stronger, and perhaps he does, but that tackle would have hurt the strongest player.  What it does show is that Franny deserves the sort of protection by officials that is accorded to Michael Owen, for example. 

As the half went on, we began to dominate without creating anything clear-cut.  Gravesen should have done better with a couple of efforts from the edge of the box; finding himself in space; on both occasions, he sent the ball harmlessly wide.  

Our best chance arose from great work by SuperKev down the inside-right channel.  He turned the defender inside-out before drilling in a low ball that the defender, sliding in under pressure from Jeffers, could easily have put into his own net.  Instead, it fell straight into the grateful arms of his goalkeeper. 

One gripe from an improved display.  WHEN will we find a corner-taker who can clear the first defender?????  Honest to God, if that happens on a Sunday morning you get serious abuse from your team mates!!!  It drives me absolutely MAD!!! 

Dominance to Disaster

The second half continued the good work of the first.  I've always liked Nyarko my opinion being shared by almost nobody and, while he is frustrating, when on song he does look a class act.  He virtually ran the midfield in the second half, dispossessing players with ease and striding forward, with just the final pass lacking.  His long legs stretch out to get the ball when he appears to have no right to, and, against a fairly lightweight team such as Ipswich, his size and strength enable him to ride challenges comfortably.  Hughes, on the other hand whom I also like seemed a yard off the pace in this game not for the first time. 

We contained Ipswich with no problem at all for 35 minutes, running the game, looking a team, and several of our players having really good games.  I would have liked to see us create a bit more, but nil - nil would not have been a disaster... 

However, disaster was indeed about to strike.  Nyarko, already booked for a fairly innocuous challenge, went over to dispossess Bramble as the defender came across the half-way line.  Nyarko mistimed the tackle, Bramble's momentum sent him crashing to the ground, and Poll was immediately reaching for a card.  

To be fair, such incidents these days do normally result in a yellow card, but, just for once, you might have hoped for common sense to prevail.  Being Everton, of course, no such luck at all.  From where I was sitting, it looked as if Nyarko was applauded from the pitch by the Ipswich supporters in the corner.  Compared to the usual abuse and gestures directed at players headed for the early bath, that really does say it all. 

After that, it was really a question of whether we could hold on the answer, of course, being a resounding NO.  With only kids on the bench, Wally tried to change things round to introduce more solidity, but succeeded only in introducing uncertainty.  Sure enough, a goal came; Holland getting the luck of the bounce as the ball seemed to come off his face before bouncing up nicely for him to lash in from the edge of the box.  The second, a close range header, followed within a minute. 

The Verdict

Against a fairly tidy team, well above us in the league, we ran the show apart from the pantomime of the first five minutes.  All the best players on the pitch were in yellow shirts.  But we've only had one type of luck this season and that's bad.  We were absolutely robbed of a point by a referee who has in the past on many occasions proved himself totally incapable of applying the laws in a sensitive and sensible manner. 

Next for the chop.....the Zebras

If we continue to play like this, we will not only climb the table but lay a decent foundation for a better season next year.  We have a reasonable record of late against the Geordies, who are on the crest of a slump.  A win is a distinct possibility, and the pleasure of getting three points would be greatly enhanced by a look at Shearer's miserable mug, and hearing him trawl once again through his stock of whingeing excuses. 

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Ipswich sink 10-man Everton
Trevor Haylett, Electronic Telegraph
IT IS presumably Mark Burchill's scoring skills that have brought him to Portman Road on a three-month loan, though it was his ability to fashion chances that gave Ipswich a winning formula again yesterday.  Two left-wing crosses from the Celtic frontman yielded goals inside the final 10 minutes.

They came not long after Everton midfielder Alex Nyarko had left the field following his second caution able offence.  How Ipswich exploited the advantage as first Matt Holland grabbed hold of a clearing header from Burchill's first cross to bang home a volley and then Alun Armstrong neatly headed in another inch-perfect Burchill centre.

Burchill was eager at the start and from their first pass played over the top for him to pursue it was clear where Ipswich felt they could capitalise.  As early as the fifth minute the young Scot would have had a goal with which to celebrate his debut had Paul Gerrard, having in the previous instance kept out Able Xavier's inadvertent deflection, not reacted equally well with the shot from the rebound.

When Burchill bore down again in the next attack, Gerrard was not so certain in his work; indeed he might well have conceded a penalty as he sent the striker flying, Graham Poll choosing not to listen to the Ipswich appeals.  The danger in finding such a smooth rhythm so quickly is that team and supporter alike can be lulled into a false sense of security and there was some disquiet expressed as Everton began to spend more time on the front foot.  Ipswich's normally assured passing became ragged and the visitors sensed an invitation to score.

Thomas Gravesen might have done so on two occasions but each time his shot was dragged beyond the far post.  Then, after Kevin Campbell had turned Titus Bramble, Francis Jeffers prepared to apply a finishing touch only for Fabian Wilnis to make a crucial intervention.

That apart, Wilnis had looked the player short of sharpness after a three-game absence and he was replaced at half-time by Armstrong.  The switch seemed to suit Ipswich, who now regained their earlier initiative and tested Gerrard with Holland's low drive.  When Mark Venus swung over a free-kick Burchill was granted a free header but Gerrard made a fine stop.

Nyarko was late in the tackle on Venus and received a yellow card.  He repeated the miscalculation as Bramble attempted to pass him with 19 minutes remaining and this time he was shown the red card as well.  Immediately after, Jeffers gathered Campbell's' flick on and had plenty of space in front of him to get closer to goal.  He chose instead to try to catch Richard Wright off-guard but his instant attempt was saved.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Nyarko exit boosts Ipswich
by Ivo Tennant, The Sunday Times
OTHER clubs who had lost three successive matches in the Premiership as well as being removed from both cup competitions might have resorted to the dreaded long-ball game.  But not Ipswich.  The break they required came when Alex Nyarko was sent off for a second bookable offence.  A volley from Matt Holland and a header by Alun Armstrong brought about victory in the last 10 minutes.

Both goals, what was more, were created by 20-year-old striker Mark Burchill, who is on loan from Celtic until the end of the season.

If Ipswich have lacked zest in recent weeks, then his was a restorative presence.  Before a pattern of play had been established, he hit a post, almost forced the ball in three minutes later and looked to have a legitimate claim for a penalty.

So not a bad start and one that Ipswich were much in need of in light of top scorer Marcus Stewart's suspension.

Everton, by contrast opted for the long ball whenever they could, not least because Kevin Campbell made for a target capable of providing Francis Jeffers with openings that he relished.  But 20-year-old Jeffers should have done more than hit the side netting from one cushioned back header.

Walter Smith will not have it said that his team are safe from the spectre of relegation as yet, but judging by their poor finishing in this performance, they will not be for a while yet.

There was a hesitancy about both teams, with the exception of the admirable Jim Magilton, which bespoke the lack of confidence that inevitably emanates from below-par displays.

Burchill, given his start to this match as well as the fact that it was his debut, deserved exoneration as well.  Indeed, his header from a Mark Venus free-kick shortly after half-time brought about the save of the afternoon from Everton keeper Paul Gerrard, at full stretch to his right.  Gerrard also had to deal with a low, well-struck shot from Holland.

Later in the half, Gerrard collided with one of his defenders in attempting to clutch a long cross and Armstrong, who came on for Fabian Wilnis at the interval, thumped the loose ball just wide.

This, however, was not an occasion on which there were many clear-cut opportunities or, in fact, chances of any sort.  That all changed, of course, with the sending-off of Nyarko after 72 minutes, after a late, but not malicious tackle on defender Titus Bramble.

After the game, Ipswich manager George Burley heaped praise on Burchill: "He did very well.  He can be pleased to have taken his chance today.

"We want to finish as high as we can and we've got 11 games left.  The fact that I was disappointed with us today shows how far we have come."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Nyarko's exit leaves room for Burchill to make grand entry
by Nick Szczepanik, The Times

KEVIN CAMPBELL, the Everton forward, left Portman Road carrying the shirt of Titus Bramble, which was an overdue compliment for the young Ipswich Town defender.  Bramble has amassed quite a collection of opponents jerseys, but, modestly, had never previously offered his own, for fear of being turned down as if.  Yet, after being passed over on Friday for either the full or under-21 England squads, Bramble must have been relieved to find that a fellow professional was impressed enough to request a shirt swap.  I think hes a good player, Campbell said.  Ipswich have a good system, and he is coming through and excelling.

Campbell, though, had given the credentials of Bramble a thorough examination.  After half an hour he turned him inside out on the right before producing a low cross-shot that beat Richard Wright before being intercepted by Fabian Wilnis, and, in the late stages, put a diving header wide after Bramble had misjudged the flight of the ball.

Going forward, however, Brambles surges gave the home side an extra dimension that was sorely needed as they struggled to open an injury-hit Everton side that controlled the game and had steadier defensive performers in Michael Ball and David Weir.  The turning point of the match, after 71 minutes, saw one of Brambles runs ended by a trip from Alex Nyarko, who was shown a second yellow card for what Walter Smith, the Everton manager, noted was only his second foul in a match that wasnt physical at all.

The extra man was made to count twice in the last ten minutes as Mark Burchill, who had been the pick of the Ipswich forwards on his debut after signing on a three-month loan from Celtic, set up goals with identical crosses from the left.  The first was cleared by Ball, but only as far as Matt Holland, who strode into the space where Nyarko would have been and beat Paul Gerrard with a dipping left-foot volley from 20 yards; the second was headed in by Alun Armstrong.

Everton remain uncomfortably close to that dotted line above the bottom three, although manager and players are confident that they can stay up when players return from injury and suspension.  We know we can do it, Campbell said.  Were not even thinking of going down.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd
   Up to Reports Index ]

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.