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BBC Five Live's Steve May
reports from Portman Road
 real 14k

Aston Villa boss John Gregory
"It was a clumsy challenge more than anything"
 real 14k

Ipswich manager George Burley
"Never been overshadowed in all three games we have played so far."
 real 56k

Saturday, 9 September, 2000, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Nilis injury mars Villa win at Ipswich
Luc Nilis
Luc Nilis is attended to by both team's physios
Ipswich 1-2 Aston Villa

Aston Villa recorded their first win of the season at Portman Road but their victory was tarnished by the loss of Belgian striker Luc Nilis through a broken leg.

Lee Hendrie and Dion Dublin scored the goals for the visitors, with Marcus Stewart scoring a late consolation goal for the home side.

But their was more concern regarding the plight of their summer acquisition.

Nilis was stretchered off with what looked immediately like a very serious leg injury after colliding with England's Richard Wright.


He was taken straight to hospital, with concern evident from both clubs' physios. It was later confirmed that the player, signed during the summer on a free transfer, had sustained the double break.

Luc's injury looks like a very nasty one. I'm no expert and I don't know any details but I expect he'll stay in hospital overnight. It was a compound break and the players told me there was blood on the pitch. It was just one of those things. He had his eye on the ball and so did the keeper and a few other players. He was in a lot of pain
  Aston Villa assistant manager Steve Harrison
He was replaced by Darius Vassell.

The first real chance came in the 25th minute, when James Scowcroft shot wide after taking a good positions on the right side of the penalty area.

Less than 60 seconds later, Hendrie grabbed the vital opener, curling a super right foot shot past the helpless Richard Wright from 20 yards.

Villa's supremity was hardly convincing and the hosts should have equalised a short time later when David Johnson scampered to the byeline and put in a penetrating cross which needed the steady boot of Gareth Barry to prevent danger.

With five minutes of the half remaining, a rasping left footed drive from Jermaine Wright had David James stretching, with the shot eventually missing the edge of the crossbar abd post.

One or two errors have maybe cost us a point. Good teams don't make as many mistakes. I thought we played well in the first half and to go in one down was an injustice. I put that down to ourselves for a basic error and they have the quality to punish it. Maybe in lower leagues you can get away with that but here we didn't. I'm more confident now that we can stay up than I was at the start of the season. We've played five games, the commitment is good and we haven't been overshadowed
  Ipswich Town manager George Burley

Nine minutes into the second half, Dublin grabbed his first goal of the season with an easy header from four yards after Paul Merson's well placed corner found the former England striker unmarked in the penalty area.

There was very little coming back from the hosts, who never gave up trying but were not capable of penetrating the Villa defence or putting the erratic James under pressure.

Villa gave a run to former Spurs winger David Ginola, but the long haired Frenchman failed to make a big impact.

In the final minute of normal time, Stewart pulled a goal back after fine work down the left from Jamie Clapham.

Ipswich: R. Wright, Wilnis, Clapham, Bramble, Venus, Hriedarsson, Holland, Magilton, Scowcroft, Johnson, J. Wright.
Subs: Salmon, Stewart, Croft, McGreal, Reuser.

Aston Villa: James, Wright, Southgate, Boateng, Dublin, Merson, Barry, Alpay, Hendrie, Stone, Nilis.
Subs: Ehiogu, Taylor, Ginola, Vassell, Enckelman.

Referee: A D'Urso (Billericay)

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See also:

08 Sep 00 |  Eng Prem
Wilkins bites back at Gregory
07 Sep 00 |  Ipswich Town
Burley backs Wright recovery
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