I'm looking for a win at Portman Road

Last updated : 09 February 2006 By Tony Scholes
Coxy and Arthur help Papadopoulos celebrate the late equaliser in 2002
Our look back at previous games against our opponents rarely goes back this far but on this occasion there has been no real option, this was not only our last but our only ever win at Portman Road. Some bloke by the name of Bobby Robson had been their manager for just over a year whilst Harry Potts had just four more league games ahead of him before handing over to Jimmy Adamson.

The teams that day included some familiar names. Ipswich had Mick Mills, Colin Viljoen and Clive Woods in their side whilst Burnley included such as John Angus, Martin Dobson, Brian O’Neil and Ralph Coates.

I missed that game and Ipswich remains one of just two clubs currently in our division that I have never seen us beat away from home, the other being Southampton, so for more reasons than one a win is very much overdue.

We played there four more times in the 1970s, the first of them was a 3-0 defeat that saw us go bottom of the league in September 1970 and just under four years later a 2-0 defeat signalled the end of the first team careers of Martin Dobson and Geoff Nulty, although Dobbo was to return to the club some years later.

We did get a 0-0 draw the following season and that signalled the end of league games against Ipswich for 27 years as we went our separate ways and it was 2002 before we met again in league action.

That was on a Tuesday night in October and the Clarets were in a good run of form. Having lost our first four games of the season, including one dreadful night at Reading, we had recovered with a run of eleven league and cup games without defeat, the last five of them wins. Ipswich though were struggling to find form and were in the bottom half of the table.

The one thing we didn’t want to do is give them a good start but that’s exactly what we did when Marlon Beresford failed to hold a routine free kick, and the ball dropped to the feet of an Ipswich player hardly renowned for his goalscoring. On this occasion he scored comfortably, one of only five goals John McGreal ever scored for Ipswich.

We were level within four minutes when Arthur Gnohere headed in from a corner but on the quarter hour we fell behind again and this time Beresford had no chance. It was a superb finish from a very impressive Darren Ambrose that gave us an uphill task.

The rest of the first half saw attractive end to end football without further goals but in the second half it was the Clarets who got on top. More than once we looked as though we would draw level but it was in the very last minute of normal time before we earned ourselves a point when a Dean West cross was headed home by substitute Dimitri Papadopoulos.

It had been an excellent game, and the draw was probably a fair result, but a year later it was anything but that for the Burnley fans who made yet another midweek trip to Suffolk.

It is one I wish I could forget although I had, with three members of the Clarets Mad message board, found myself in a box for the game with some free food and drink. We even had a television behind us showing the game, and that would allow us to watch any replays of the goals.

Delroy Facey - scored, but we were beaten 6-1
What we didn’t know before kick off was that most of the goals would not be ours, and that when the home team scored the supporters in front of the box would turn to watch the replays on our TV. They soon worked out that we were not Ipswich fans and began to taunt us.

It hadn’t been so bad for the first twenty minutes as a patched up Burnley side held it to 0-0 but we were soon to pay for going into the game without a central defender on the pitch. Ipswich took the lead after 20 minutes and they scored again on 30 minutes. The problem was that their goal on the half hour was their fourth and the game was all over. It was always going to be difficult with Lee Roche and Graham Branch in the centre of defence but once the door opened at the back we had no way of closing it.

A Richard Chaplow own goal saw it to five by half time but we had a shock in store for the Tractor boys when we pulled one back through Delroy Facey just four minutes into the second half.

That was the end of the fightback and there was just time right at the end for Shefki Kuqi to add a sixth. It’s a long way back from Ipswich after a 7:45 kick off, it’s a hell of a lot further after a 6-1 hammering.

Things were considerably better last season and as we went into stoppage time I thought I was finally going to see my first victory there. Robbie Blake gave us the lead inside the first twenty minutes and it could have been two in the very next attack but an Ipswich defender cleared the ball from the line.

During the second half we had to withstand a lot of pressure, and Long Ball Joe was far from impressed by the way we played, but the fourth official was just holding up the board for five extra minutes when Ipswich equalised.

It was controversial with Mo Camara down in the Ipswich box, but referee Curson allowed play to go on and it finally fell to Richards who hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner. It was a fight then to even keep a point and only a magnificent save from Danny Coyne prevented the home side winning it.

So two draws and a heavy defeat since these fixtures returned, now surely it is time we went one better and won one at Portman Road, and then next season we can go and win at Southampton to complete the list.