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Haven't We Met Before? - Ipswich Town

Liam Lawrence

STOKE CITY welcome Ipswich Town to North Staffordshire on Saturday for the first meeting between the two teams in over a decade.

The duo have played out 68 league encounters, with the Tractor Boys holding the upper hand with 26 victories compared to City’s 24 in those games.

However, count all competitions and the sides are equally balanced with 28 wins each following the first ever clash in the 1954/55 old Division Two season.

Stoke’s biggest victory over the Suffolk outfit came courtesy of a 9-1 home win back in March 1964, while Ipswich’s best scoreline against the Potters was a 5-0 triumph in 1983.

Town have hit five past City on two more occasions since that date while Gary Rowett’s men only need one goal to record a century of strikes against this weekend’s visitors.

Paul Lambert will also be making a return to the bet365 Stadium for the first time since departing the Club in the summer and taking over the reins at Portman Road in October.

Saturday will be the 77th competitive fixture played out between both teams, with the last encounter ending in a Potters win in February 2008.

LAST MEETING: STOKE CITY 1-0 IPSWICH TOWN

Stoke retained top spot in what was arguably one of the tightest Championship title races the last time they faced Ipswich Town on February 23rd, 2008.

Liam Lawrence scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win, hitting a stunning strike from 25-yards that sailed past Town goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.

The midfielder cut in from the right just before half-time at the bet365 Stadium before unleashing a superb drive to secure the win and open up a one-point lead in top spot.

Ricardo Fuller almost extended the lead while City shot-stopper, Steve Simonsen, was called into action with a smart save in a game that saw Jim Magilton sent to the stands.

Lawrence was in fine form, scoring his fourth goal in as many games to secure the points in a tight affair that saw then play-off contenders Ipswich drop out of the top six.

City, of course, went on to end the season in second place and gain automatic promotion to the Premier League following a 23-year absence in England’s top flight.

14TH SEPTEMBER 2004: STOKE CITY 3-2 IPSWICH TOWN

The Potters once again enjoyed the taste of top spot following victory over Ipswich Town, this time climbing above and knocking their opponents from their perch 14 years ago.

10-man City secured all three points despite John Halls being handed his marching orders following two rash challenges.

The Tractor Boys, who were chasing promotion out of the Championship, had been dominant in front of the bet365 Stadium’s biggest crowd that season.

Jason de Vos opened the scoring on 41 minutes before Potters defender Wayne Thomas headed home an equaliser three minutes later.

Ian Westlake restored the visitors’ advantage on the hour but Thomas again rose highest to pull Stoke back on level terms with 15 minutes still left on the clock.

Halls saw red on 82, however it was City who stole the win when Ade Akinbiyi tapped in with just five minutes plus stoppage time remaining.

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