|Five Go To Town|
Written by clivebleedingthomas on Monday, 4th May 2020 09:00
A fixture that started as a mid-table game but ended as one that would be marked by having special T-shirts printed to commemorate it - this was the Demolition Derby.
Town were in 10th place in the Nationwide League Division One, the Budgies 14th. Both were placed below Stockport County, but well ahead of Manchester City.
Ipswich Town 5 Norwich City 0 Nationwide League Division One Saturday 21st February 1998
Town fans did not have long to wait before they were on their feet acclaiming a great strike by Alex Mathie. City’s defence had not dealt with a throw-in that reached the Scottish striker 20 yards from goal. His thunderbolt flashed past the City keeper, Andy Marshall, into the top corner. Timed at 72 seconds it was the perfect start.
The visitors came close to scoring twice during the following 20 minutes, in what was their only promising period of the match. These misses proved costly in the 26th minute when Mathie netted his second.
Mick Stockwell released Mathie, who split the somewhat cavalier forward charge of the City defence before calmly slotting the ball past Marshall into the bottom right-hand corner.
Stockwell was once again the provider in the 41st minute. He charged down the right flank past the hapless Victor Segura to deliver a low cross, which was met by a gleeful Mathie who completed his first-half hat-trick via the hands of the exposed City keeper.
The three-goal hero failed to re-appear for the second half, having picked up a calf-strain, Jamie Scowcroft taking his place.
Town’s fourth goal arrived in the 55th minute, Bobby Petta stepping into the role of goalscorer. The Dutchman tormented the right flank of the City defence, beating Craig Fleming not once, but twice, before driving an angled drive past Marshall.
The joy of the home crowd was further enhanced after 71 minutes when Robert Fleck mis-hit a golden chance from just two yards out.
Darren Eadie flashed a shot past Richard Wright’s post, but the massacre was rounded off 10 minutes from time when Petta scored his second.
Danny Mills was being given the run-around by Matt Holland who set up the goal. The Dutchman's shot slipped through Marshall’s fingers to create further bliss amongst the home supporters, delightfully repeating the 5-0 scoreline to our glum-faced guests from north of the border, now sneaking out in droves.
Had David Johnson shown a fraction of the form he was in that season, scoring 20 goals between November and May, the score would have been a record for the fixture. As it was the five-goal margin equalled two other games, in 1946 and 1977. Hat-tricks were scored in both those games too, by Alex Day and Trevor Whymark.
Teams: Town: Wright, Uhlenbeek, Mowbray, Cundy, Clapham, Stockwell (Sonner 67), Holland, Dyer, Petta, Johnson, Mathie (Scowcroft 46).
Norwich City: Marshall, Sutch, Fleming, Jackson, Segura (Kenton 62), Forbes ( Llewellyn 31), Carey, Grant, Eadie, Coote, Fleck ( Mills 78).
This was a season in which Town won only six of their opening 23 matches, but won 17 of the return fixtures. Early season injuries had hampered George Burley’s team selection but by this stage many had recovered.
Town finished fifth, losing both play-off matches to Charlton Athletic by a single goal. Manchester City were relegated.
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