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Town 2 - 1 A Vladikavkaz
Town 2 - 1 A Vladikavkaz
Saturday, 23rd Feb 2002 18:17

Town won the charity match against Alania Vladikavkaz 2-1, a game played in the warm afternoon sunshine at Dhekelia Army base, Cyprus. The Blues' goals came from Finidi George and Pablo Couñago.

The match was watched by servicemen and their families and a huge Alania Vladikavkaz FC squad. Ipswich in their away strip of white and black while Alania were in red and yellow striped shirts, black shorts and socks.

Ipswich lined up with a 4-4-2 formation. Marshall in goal. The defence (from left to right) Clapham, Hreidarsson, Bramble and Makin. Midfield: Wright, Holland, Magilton and George. Strikers: Stewart and Couñago.

Both sides wasted chances in the first 30 minutes. With opportunities falling most notably to Jermaine Wright and Pablo Couñago, who put their shots over the bar.

Hermann Hreidarsson managed to get his head on the end of a freekick but he too sent the ball over the crossbar.

On 31 minutes Marcus Stewart dinked a ball across the Alania goal area and Finidi George mis-headed it, but managed to get it over the line with his body. 1-0.

The following passage of play was interrupted by a series of freekicks, going one way then the other. With five minutes remaining until half-time Ipswich seemed to get their passing game together, and piled on the pressure.

Impressive first half performances from Andy Marshall, who was confident, extremely vocal and commanded the area well, Herman Hreidarsson, who was pretty solid in the centre of defence, and Jermaine Wright who found himself with a lot of possession out on the left wing.

In the second half, Sereni replaced Marshall and Reuser was on for Wright. The Russians seemed desperate to level the score. A five-minute period of Alania attacking forced Sereni to block and save more than once.

Eight minutes into the second half Ipswich countered with Finidi George breaking down the right, slipping the ball across the goalmouth for Pablo Couñago to knock in. 2-0. Finidi could have probably scored himself but decided to pass to Couñago instead.

On 53 minutes, Stewart was yellow carded by the Cypriot referee after an Alania player stayed down after a challenge.

Finidi George continued to be the playmaker down the right side until Tommy Miller substituted him on 60 minutes. Jim Magilton took command (vocally too) in the middle of the field.

On 69 minutes, Gaardsøe replaced Makin. Shortly afterwards Stewart rattled the post. Then followed a long period of attack and counter attack. Alania forcing a good save from Sereni.

The referee had to calm an argument between Marcus Stewart and an Alania player. Stewart seemed to be protesting about shirt pulling, and generally seemed to be frustrated with the close man marking he was receiving.

On 90 minutes, an Alania player fell on the edge of box. The Cypriot referee awarded a penalty. It was bizarre. A few Ipswich players complained, but most realised it was a charity match and this would be the last event of the game. There was little Sereni could do. It ended 2-1.

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