|Fiesta Time as Town Bid Adios to Real|
Written by clivebleedingthomas on Thursday, 23rd Apr 2020 09:00
Bobby Robson’s European debut with the Town could hardly have been more daunting: a first round pairing with six-time European Cup winners and UEFA Cup favourites, Real Madrid.
The first leg at Portman Road tested my credentials as a Town fan to the full. I worked on the Isle of Wight at the time and had to arrange cover so that I could leave at lunchtime in order to board the ferry and train to Waterloo in time for the kick-off.
Returning for a 7am start the next day was more of a challenge, involving the milk train from Waterloo in the early hours and the 6am ferry back to the island from Portsmouth. The things we do for our team, but it was worth it.
Ipswich Town 1 Real Madrid 0 UEFA Cup First Round First Leg
The attendance of 25,280 created a very special atmosphere for Town’s first European match for 11 years.
Real Madrid made it clear early on they had come for a draw. Their goalkeeper, Garcia Remon, had to be alert to save a diving header from David Johnson within two minutes of the start.
More saves followed in the first 30 minutes and after half an hour Trevor Whymark had a very good case for a penalty turned down.
The first half had been all Town pressure, the visiting keeper was having a blinder. When the single goal of the match arrived it was somewhat fortunate.
Town were awarded a freekick near the halfway line; Ian Collard’s short freekick found Mick Mills who characteristically cut infield on his right foot. His shot lacked power and the keeper had it covered until the ball glanced off defender Benito Rubinan’s leg to roll gently into the net. The delirious crowd didn’t care if it was a touch fortunate; we had the lead we richly deserved.
The keeper continued to thwart the Town’s efforts, in particular when he saved a fine header by Bryan Hamilton.
At the final whistle the visitors had managed just two shots and two corners in contrast to the incessant pressure Town had applied. Few of us making our way to the train station afterwards felt confident of progress in the second leg.
Town: Best, Mills, Harper, Collard, Hunter, Beattie, Hamilton, Viljoen, Johnson, Whymark, Lambert (Miller).
Real Madrid: Remon, Jose Luis, Rubinan, Pirri, Benito, Hourino, Amancio (Aquilar), Grosso, Planelles (Maranon), Netzer, Mas.
Real Madrid 0 Ipswich Town 0 Wednesday 3rd October 1973
Good news for the 500 Town fans in the Bernabeu Stadium was the failed late fitness test by German international Gunter Netzer, while the Blues were able to field the same XI who had won the first leg.
During a wonderfully dominant first 20 minutes Town could have scored three times. The home defence looked poor and the Spanish midfield was being dominated by the influence Colin Viljoen was having on the game.
After eight minutes Mick Mills had a low freekick saved by first leg hero Garcia Remon. The home keeper was again in action soon after when he touched Colin Harper’s scorching 25-yard drive onto the underside of the bar.
Next to have a go was Trevor Whymark who fired over the bar in the 10th minute.
The home fans were losing their patience. Before half-time a linesman was struck by a missile from the crowd when home fans thought they should have had a penalty. The home players were jeered off the field and back on again when they emerged for the second half.
David Best made his first save of the game in the 50th minute, but soon after he was forced to make the stop of the match when he raced off his line to save a one-on-one situation with striker Aguilar.
Real Madrid: Remon, Jose Luis, Tourino, Pirri (Maranon 44), Benito, Zoco, Aguilar, Grosso, Planelles, Del Bosque, Mas.
Ipswich Town: Best, Mills, Harper, Collard, Hunter, Beattie, Hamilton (Morris 78), Viljoen, Johnson, Whymark, Lambert.
Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail said of Town: “Real Madrid, once the world’s mightiest club, were overrun by Ipswich.”
Bobby Robson, interviewed in the ecstatic post-match atmosphere of the visiting dressing room, said: “Colin Viljoen was without doubt the outstanding player on the field.
“We could have been five-up in the first half hour. I think Real Madrid thought we would play defensively, certainly in the first 20 minutes, but we attacked them from the start. We proved our critics wrong and that, of course, is satisfying.”
Skipper Mick Mills said: “I wasn’t worried at all until the final 10 minutes.”
Allan Hunter described his booking thus: “Their number 10 kept wacking me in the stomach and when he did it yet again I pushed him away and the referee booked me.”
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