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Man City boss Joe Royle
Man City boss Joe Royle:" I never thought it would come to this."
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"A year to the day after they won promotion, Manchester City have lost their Premier League status"
 real 14k

Ipswich boss George Burley
Ipswich boss George Burley: "We have scored alot of late goals."
 real 14k

Monday, 7 May, 2001, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Ipswich send sorry Man City down
Jeff Whitley (r) battles in vain with Matt Holland
Jeff Whitley (r) battles in vain with Matt Holland
Ipswich 2-1 Manchester City

Manchester City were relegated to the Nationwide League on a night of high tension at Portman Road.

Goals from Matt Holland and Martijn Reuser kept alive Ipswich's Champions League hopes but condemned City to their third relegation in five seasons.

Shaun Goater's strike on 75 minutes had thrown City a lifeline - but Joe Royle's men saw it slip from their grasp in a devastating final 11 minutes.

Reuser's header from Alun Armstrong's cross seven minutes from the end was the final nail in City's Premiership coffin - and sent Middlesbrough fans into raptures as it guaranteed their own top-flight survival.

Unlikely escape

Howey clears under pressure from Armstrong
Howey clears under pressure from Armstrong

As the time ran out on City's Premiership tenure, their attacks grew increasingly panicky.

There was little sign that the players themselves believed in their unlikely escape - until Goater struck.

Paulo Wanchope turned Bramble 25 yards out and fired in a shot that Richard Wright should have held.

But he spilt the ball and Goater steamed in to poke in the rebound.

Joy unconfined for the City fans - for one minute and 52 seconds of playing time.

Then Ipswich captain Holland popped up on the edge of the penalty box to hammer the ball past Carlo Nash.

It was a cruel blow for Joe Royle's men after a spirited second half performance.

Hurried clearance

With Goater on at half-time for Tony Grant, City had at last taken the game to Ipswich.

Goater ran through onto Tiatto's long ball and stumbled under John McGreal's challenge - but referee Steven Lodge, in his final Premiership game, was unmoved.

Then Wanchope broke down the right to force John McGreal into a hurried clearance with Goater lurking.

Town responded by upping the tempo.

When Paul Dickov was replaced by Mark Kennedy just before the hour, it opened up space down the City right for Reuser and substitute Jamie Clapham.

But Wanchope nearly scored against the run of play when his spectacular overhead kick hit the base of the post and bounced to safety.

Fragile City rearguard

The visitors had begun at a curiously sloth-like pace for a side in their predicament.

Three times in the first 20 minutes Ipswich broke through the fragile City rearguard.

Armstrong and Jermaine Wright both had their shots saved comfortably by Nash, but only a poor final ball from Jamie Scowcroft, failing to pick out the unmarked Armstrong, saved City on the third occasion.

Scowcroft was finding space on both flanks, with Ipswich having so much possession that both Herman Hreidarsson and Titus Bramble were able to leave their defensive duties and push forward with abandon.

Lack of urgency

When Wanchope tracked back to help out his beleaguered team-mates, he came mighty close to giving away a penalty, seeming to push Hriedarsson as the pair jumped for Holland's corner.

Holland broke forward to volley over as half-time approached but City - for a side who had to score to stay afloat in the Premiership - still showed a surprising lack of urgency.

With Huckerby, Kennedy and Goater on the bench it was almost as if Joe Royle was happy to see his side defend deep, get men behind the ball and get to the break at 0-0.

Goater gave City brief hope in the second half, but Ipswich's comeback proved decisive.


Teams

Ipswich
Richard Wright, Bramble, McGreal, Makin, Hreidarsson, Reuser, Magilton, Holland, Scowcroft, Armstrong, Jermaine Wright.
Subs: Branagan, Wilnis, Clapham, Burchill, Naylor.

Man City
Nash, Dunne, Howey, Granville, Charvet, Grant, Wiekens, Whitley, Tiatto, Wanchope, Dickov.
Subs: Goater, Huckerby, Prior, Kennedy, Weaver.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)

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