Fuller Flavour: Yes, there are tougher tests ahead - but let’s just enjoy Town’s historic start
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:23 22 September 2020
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Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller reflects on the Blues’ historic start to the season - and reveals that Town could make more history on Saturday...
This column is eight years-old on Thursday and when I think back to when it first started out back in 2012, I contemplate a recurring theme of déjà vu moments or groundhog days. You know the sort where Town lose, we play badly, managers are under the cosh and most weeks, the column could pretty much repeat any other.
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There has been a smattering of moments to smile about. Granted, not many but there have been the odd moments. One such deviation away from the norm is the current situation we find ourselves in. I know, I know, it’s only two games and the opposition has not been the strongest we will face this season – though you can only beat what’s in front of you – but hear me out.
Having gained maximum points from our opening two league games without conceding a goal is something to cheer about and sitting at the top of the league is a nice little bonus. I mean come on, who has not looked at the very early league table and not smiled?
So rare is our achievement of two opening wins without conceding, you have to go back 27 years to find the last time this happened. That was in the days of the Premier League when we opened the 1993/94 season with a 3-0 win away at Oldham Athletic.
A notable mention from that game were the debut goals from Ian Marshall and Paul Mason. It was the first time in 54 years that two debutants had scored in the same game for Town. Steve Palmer also scored his first goal for the club in that game.
We followed that win with a 1-0 victory at home to Southampton with Marshall again on target and when that run continued with a 1-0 home win over Chelsea thanks to Marshall’s third goal in three games, that particular sequence of wins was only the second time where we won the first three games of the season without conceding.
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How great would it be if we could add a third time to that list with a win to nil over Rochdale on Saturday?
Looking further back, it may not surprise you to know that the start of the 1980/81 season saw two wins with no goals against thanks to a 1-0 win away at Leicester City with John Wark scoring the only goal of the game and then Wark was on target again in a 2-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion, with Eric Gates netting the other goal.
In terms of the best start to a season for consecutive wins without conceding, that happened in 1974/75 when we achieved this for the first four games. David Johnson scored in a 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur to start the season followed by another 1-0 away win in North London at Arsenal three days later with Mick Lambert scoring four minutes from time.
A 2-0 win over Burnley in our first game of the season was secured thanks to goals from Brian Talbot and Trevor Whymark, and then three days after that, we achieved a very early double with a 3-0 home win over Arsenal. We were 2-0 ahead after just 9 minutes through Lambert and Kevin Beattie before Lambert added a second just after the half-hour mark.
Who remembers the duo of games that started the 1966/67 season when we won 2-0 away at Cardiff City as Ray Crawford and Frank Brogan were on target, followed by a 3-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town thanks to goals from Eddie Spearitt, Gerry Baker and Brogan?
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And I would love to know if anyone was at any of the first two games in 1953/54. We started with a 2-0 win at Walsall with Neil Myles and George McLuckie scoring and then a 3-0 home win over Colchester United followed thanks to goals from McLuckie (2) and Billy Reed.
It would be churlish to get carried away with our consummate start to this season but let’s enjoy the moment.
If I could pick one cause for concern, it would be the injuries that we continue to pick up. Let’s hope these slow down as soon as possible.