On this day in Town’s history: Latics whipped 4-0 as Town go on a sparkling run

PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 April 2020

Town players celebrate a goal during their 4-0 win over Oldham, on April 5, 1997. James Scowcroft, left, scored the opener and Neil Gregory, right, the fourth.

Town players celebrate a goal during their 4-0 win over Oldham, on April 5, 1997. James Scowcroft, left, scored the opener and Neil Gregory, right, the fourth.

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In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 23 years ago when Neil Warnock’s Oldham Athletic were demolished 4-0

A delighted Neil Gregory celebrates bagging Town's fourth goal in a 4-0 win over Odham, 23 years ago to the day.A delighted Neil Gregory celebrates bagging Town's fourth goal in a 4-0 win over Odham, 23 years ago to the day.

Ipswich Town, during George Burley’s second full season at the helm, produced an electric end to the 1996-97 season to reach the Championship play-offs.

It all began with a convincing 4-0 home win over relegation-haunted Oldham Athletic, in front of a modest crowd of 11,953, on April 5, 1997.

Jamie Scowcroft, Geraint Williams, Mick Stockwell and Neil Gregory were all on target that day to kick-start a winning run that extended to five matches.

Town followed this up with a similar 4-0 win at Swindon, a prized 2-0 home win over arch rivals Norwich City, and successive 1-0 victories over Manchester City and away at Portsmouth.

The Portman Road scoreboard says it all; Ipswich Town 4 Oldham Athletic 0, from April 5, 1997The Portman Road scoreboard says it all; Ipswich Town 4 Oldham Athletic 0, from April 5, 1997

As a result, Town finished fifth in the table, with Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley going up in the two automatic promotion slots. Bolton’s John McGinlay was the division’s top scorer with 24 goals.

However, Town had the misfortune to lose a play-off semi-final to Sheffield United, on the away goals rule.

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Stockwell netted in a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane, with Scowcroft and Blackburn Rovers loanee Niklas Gudmundsson on target in a 2-2 draw at Portman Road in the second leg.

As it happened, it was sixth-placed Crystal Palace who ended up securing promotion via the play-offs that season.

Burley had arrived as manager of Town just over two years before, having resigned as Colchester United boss on Christmas Eve, 1994.

And three of the four goalscorers against Oldham, this day 23 years ago, were to go on to have Colchester connections.

Stockwell impressed as a player, while Welsh midfielder Williams gave great service to the U’s as a player, coach, assistant manager and manager.

Gregory helped the U’s to win promotion via the fourth tier play-offs the following season (1997-98), initially on loan from Ipswich before making the move permanent,

As for Oldham, their new manager Neil Warnock, appointed on February 21, 1997, was unable to prevent them from being relegated to the third tier, along with Southend and Grimsby.

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