Sunday, 13 May 2018

Portman Road

Ipswich 2-2 Middlesbrough

6th May 2018

Portman Road was a venue I had long wished to visit, but it was just so darned inconvenient to reach from Caledonia.  I didn't much fancy doing the trip for a single match, but fortunately the final weekend of the EFL regular season split the fixtures over two days, allowing me to take in Southend on the Saturday and Ipswich on the Sunday.  I had pencilled in the last day of Essex v Yorkshire at Chelmsford for the Monday.  But the Essex lads somehow achieved the neat trick of, after having bowled out their guests for just 50 on day one, contriving to lose the match within three days.  Which must have taken some doing, when you think about it.

Anyway, this match had the potential to be pretty much just an end of season party for the home side, who had some time ago lost any interest in either of the business ends of The Championship table.  Visitors Middlesbrough had cemented a play-off spot the previous weekend with a home win over Millwall, but one assumed they would nevertheless be looking to finish in fifth place rather than sixth.

And yet it was Ipswich who began proceedings in the bigger hurry; Martyn Waghorn coming close just three minutes in.  The former Glasgow Rangers' man enjoyed a fine match throughout, I felt; he beavering about making a regular nuisance of himself to the visiting defence.  When with Rangers he reminded me more and more of Alan Brazil (as was, not as he is now, I hasten to add) each time I saw him play.  And here wearing the blue of Ipswich just accentuated the similarity.  Well, I though so anyway.

I noted Ipswich's Jonas Knudsen was exhorted to shoot, whenever he got within thirty metres of the opposing goal.  Now perhaps the Danish internationalist does have a history of regularly bashing them in from long range; but the couple of attempts I witnessed would suggest he would be better served by perhaps not listening to advice from the stands.

Ipswich v Middlesbrough - May 2018

Ipswich Town's Cole Skuse gets us underway.

An early Boro corner is headed clear by Adam Webster.

Adama Traore and Myles Kenlock get up close and personal.

Jonas Knudsen "Shoots!", but it comes to naught.

Ipswich v Middlesbrough - May 2018

A few members of the Ipswich Town 1978 FA Cup winning team were at the ground to help commemorate the
40th Anniversary of the victory.  This is goalscorer Roger Osborne with, I am assuming, the actual trophy.
I watched some highlights on YouTube recently - goodness, but it was a one-sided affair.

I can recall watching Ipswich's fine UEFA Cup two-legged final win in 1981.
What is perhaps less well remembered is the fact the following season Ipswich
as holders were eliminated by Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen. 
This being brought to my mind by the news the previous day of Sir Alex's illness.

With the best view in the house from which to watch the footie, quite what this lady found so engrossing
that she had to use binoculars I cannot imagine.

East of England Co-Operative Stand, Portman Road, Ipswich.

Panorama of Portman Road.

The home side took the lead after just 8 minutes, Freddie SEARS shrugging off Ben Gibson way too easily, before coolly finishing.  All of the goals this afternoon, when I think about it, owed at least a modicum of their existence to faulty defending.  

I don't know if there was a slight deflection, or if Bartosz Bialkowski was unsighted by a forest of legs in front of him, but the Town 'keeper really did not look too clever as Stuart DOWNING's 70th minute equaliser rolled past him. 

But just twelve minutes after gaining parity, Boro shipped another unnecessary goal, as first Danile Ayala failed with the relatively simple-looking task of hoofing the ball up-field, before Ben Gibson (him again), in attempting to clear up the mess, succeeded only in clattering substitute Shane McLaughlin.  Brazil – oops, sorry WAGHORN - converted the resultant penalty-kick award.

The visitors then began to kitchen-sink it, clearly having realised defeat would set them up with a Play-off Tinder Date with the resurgent Fulham side, rather than their preferred squeeze Aston Villa.  

In the closing minutes Bialkowski had to pull off fine stops from both Adama Traore and Muhamed Besic, Ayala then had the ball in the net from a clearly offside position before, with an air of grim inevitability, Patrick BAMFORD headed in a corner kick, deep into stoppage time to tie things up at 2-2.  I cannot imagine many of the Ipswich defenders would look back with much pride on their defending here; with poor Jonas Knudsen somehow ending up with two opponents to mark.

There was barely time to re-centre the ball before ref David Coote blew time on what had been a far more entertaining match than a neutral had any right to expect – although Boro's quest for that late equaliser had certainly added spice to the business.  

I really liked Portman Road, I have to say.  The Sir Bobby Robson Stand inhabitants in particular made an impressive din throughout, and it struck me that if any section of any ground in England is crying out for Safe Standing installation, it was the lower section here.

The lower tier of The Sir Bobby Robson Stand - get that safe stand installed now!

Panorama of Portman Road.

Martyn Waghorn puts Ipswich 2-1 up.

Patrick Bamford heads in Boro's late equaliser....
.....despite Luke Hyam's best attempts to keep it out.....

.....and goes off to celebrate his date with Aston Villa.

Creditable numbers of Ipswich fans stayed behind after the game for the traditional Lap of Appreciation. 

You may (or may not) have noted no reference to the tr***or word here.  And for good reason.  I am old fashioned enough to believe club nicknames should evolve naturally, and not be imposed simply because lazy journalists would like there to be one.  I grew up knowing Ipswich Town as “The Blues”.  Dull perhaps, but at least it was genuine.

Portman Road may be found on Portman Road, if you see what I mean.

Approach to The Cobbold Stand along Portman Road.

The Sir Alf Ramsey Stand was completed in 2001

My abiding memory of Sir Bobby is that philosophical "Aw, Darn it" gesture of
disappointment just after Chris Waddle skied that penalty in 1990.
A thoroughly decent man. 

As a Scot I have slightly ambivalent feelings towards Sir Alf. 
He, and his team, were responsible for most of the major disappointments in my life between 1968 and 1973. 
And he could come across as a rather arrogant chap. 
But his two crowning achievements in 1962 & 1966 can never be tarnished.

Portman Road, Ipswich Town F.C.



  1. Thanks the link to TWTD.
    As a Town fan now living abroad seeing so many recent pics.of a place were I effectively grow up is a real treat.
    Pleased you enjoyed Portman Road and best of luck with your future travels.
    carrot rd is not worth visiting

  2. Too late - I have already been. And it was full of sweary people.