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Saturday, 6 January, 2001, 16:54 GMT
Ipswich break Morecambe's hearts
Morecambe 0-3 Ipswich Town
Non-league Morecambe brought sunshine to the FA Cup but in the end class told as they lost 3-0 to Premiership Ipswich.
The Nationwide Conference side gave a good account of themselves, with hardly anyone believing 104 places on the football ladder separated the two teams.
But Ipswich did enough to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup without reaching top gear.
Morecambe played attractive football and indeed had their chances but at the end could not deny that Ipswich had been the better side.
Prolific scorer Marcus Stewart's 14th goal of the season, a flying header from new signing Alun Armstrong and a sweet strike from Jermaine Wright made for a convincing Ipswich victory.
It was Morecambe's biggest game in their 80-year history and they marked the occasion in style, with the local brass band treating the fans to Morecambe and Wise's Bring Me Sunshine before kick-off and cheerleaders greeting the two teams on to the Christie Park pitch.
The game too was bright and entertaining.
Straight from the whistle, Ipswich made their intentions known.
Martijn Reuser knocked in a free-kick in the second minute but it was met with a week header from top scorer Stewart.
Down the other end, the Nationwide Conference side had their first corner in the third minute, John Hardiker hit a shot to Andy Fensome but his strike was easily saved by goalkeeper Richard Wright.
Morecambe, belying the gulf in league status, took the game to Ipswich and had another chance within the first 10 minutes when Mark Quayle played in a lovely cross but it was just too high for the advancing Ryan-Zico Black, named after the legendary Brazilian footballer.
With just a quarter-of-an-hour gone, the Premiership side calmed their nerves when Stewart broke the deadlock with his 14th goal of the season.
He took the ball around Morecambe 'keeper Mark Smith and coolly slotted it into the back of the net, despite desperate defending by Fensome as he tried to clear off the line.
The early goal seem to deflate the Shrimpers and Ipswich could have doubled their lead within five minutes, Matt Holland striking the post with a shot from outside the box.
Morecambe fans appealed in vain for a penalty when Quayle went down in the box after a tackle by Hermann Hreidarsson but after a long hard look referee Uriah Rennie waved play on.
It gave Morecambe impetus and they had a couple of half-chances but Black and John Norman could not convert.
Reuser could have put Ipswich 2-0 ahead but his half volley just before half-time was straight at 'keeper Smith.
Morecambe came out all guns blazing in the second half, with Quayle going close within the first couple of minutes of the re-start.
But danger was never far behind, including when the in-form Stewart hit a crisp 25-yard shot which clipped the post.
Ipswich had an even clearer chance in the 55th minute when Armstrong squared the ball to Reuser, who was guilty of the most awful miss from five yards. He was substituted a minute later.
Ipswich, who brought on Jim Magilton and Jamie Clapham in the second half, were beginning to build up pressure.
Their patience paid off in the 65th minute, when Armstrong headed home from close range after good play by Ipswich and a perfect cross from Wright to take a 2-0 advantage.
It did not take long for Ipswich to make it 3-0, after a sublime strike by Wright, his first goal in the FA Cup.
He steered home a Clapham cross as the Premiership title challengers began to dominate the game.
From then on, it was all about saving face for Morecambe but they could proud that they had produced a memorable day out for the fans of the Lancashire seaside club.
Morecambe: Mark Smith, Fensome, Lyons, McKearney, Hardiker,
Walters, Thompson, Drummond, Quayle, Norman, Black.
Ipswich Town: Richard Wright, Wilnis, Croft, Bramble, Hreidarsson,
Holland, Jermaine Wright, Scowcroft, Stewart, Armstrong, Reuser.
Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).
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