|Lyall Leads Town to Premier League|
Written by clivebleedingthomas on Monday, 27th Apr 2020 09:00
John Lyall’s Town team had enjoyed a rich run of form between Boxing Day and April 11th 1992, winning 14 of 18 league matches played.
However, two defeats and a draw preceded their visit to Oxford United’s Manor Ground. Still hanging on to top spot with two games left, Town needed to draw to gain a place in the Premier League’s inaugural lineup.
Oxford United 1 Ipswich Town 1 Saturday 25th April 1992 League Division Two
Three thousand Town fans packed the Cuckoo Lane open terrace behind the goal in a crowd of 10,525. Access to this terrace was via a very narrow footpath between high wooden fences.
Taking up our places behind the crush barriers the Town fans were in festive mood. The previous Tuesday evening over 22,000 had turned up at Portman Road expecting to celebrate our promotion. It was not to be as Grimsby Town, just above the relegation zone, defended resolutely to earn a goalless draw.
The atmosphere amongst Town fans became somewhat hushed in only the seventh minute when Jim Magilton hit a low shot just inside Craig Forrest’s left-hand post to give the home side the lead. It was his 13th goal of the season.
The lead did not last long; two minutes later Mick Stockwell was floored on the edge of the penalty area. Steve Whitton’s cross from the freekick found Gavin Johnson whose looping header over the poorly-positioned home keeper gave Town the equaliser they sought.
The rest of the half was fairly even with Steve Whitton and Jason Dozzell the standout Town players. The Blues escaped a well-justified penalty appeal when Phil Whelan’s obvious handball was deemed accidental by referee Joe Worrall.
A superb diving save by Paul Kee in the Oxford goal blocked a powerful shot from Neil Thompson, Chris Kiwomya coming close to netting the rebound.
A loud cheer went up from the Town contingent as news arrived of a second Charlton goal against promotion rivals Leicester City, sparking widespread celebrations.
Both keepers were busy with Forrest showing excellent handling when dealing with high crosses. Johnson had a shot saved in the 66th minute, Kiwomya fired over the bar and an unlikely overhead kick attempt by John Wark lacked sufficient power.
Wark and Whelan formed a strong partnership in the centre of defence with Stockwell and Johnson snuffing out any danger on the flanks.
Teams: Oxford United: Kee, Smart, Penney, Lewis, Evans, Melville, Magilton, Beauchamp, Durnin, Bannister, Allen (Aylott 71).
Town: Forrest, Zondervan, Thompson, Stockwell, Wark, Whelan, Johnson, Goddard, Whitton, Dozzell, Kiwomya. Unused subs: Youds and Milton.
After the final whistle the emergency barriers were opened to allow Town fans to spill onto the pitch to celebrate with the players. We danced and sang our way to the front of the main stand where we carried on until John Lyall appeared asking us to disperse, which we did with the promise of a bigger party at Portman Road in a week’s time.
Lyall said he had thought it might take another season or two to reach the level needed to be promoted, he was pleasantly surprised by his team’s achievement.
He paid tribute to two youngsters in particular stating: “In Jason Dozzell and Chris Kiwomya we have two players here who could go on to play at international level.”
The following Saturday Town beat Brighton 3-1 at Portman Road in front of the season’s biggest crowd of 26,803. Two goals by Steve Whitton and one by Gavin Johnson clinched the Division Two championship, Town ending four points ahead of Middlesbrough, who went up with us.
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