Red mist - the players clash during a bad-tempered match at Portman Road Picture: Birmingham Live

WITH a free weekend but the countdown on until next Friday's Championship showdown against West Bromwich Albion, it's the perfect time for a trip down memory lane and a spot of Ipswich Town nostalgia.

Blues fans may not have the most favourable recollections of matches against the Baggies.

Town won the last meeting between the sides - a 1-0 Carling Cup success in December 2010.

However, the Midlanders have certainly had the upper hand, including a thumping 5-1 victory at Portman Road in October 2006.

Ipswich's last league win against them was a 2-0 victory on New Year's Day 2008, thanks to late goals from David Wright and Jason De Vos.

But the focus of this nostalgia piece is a memorable 3-1 victory during Town's 1999-2000 promotion-winning season - a match infamously dubbed 'The Battle of Portman Road' in the Midlands press.

David Johnson, James Scowcroft and substitute Neil Midgley were on target in the December 18 showdown but that only told half the story, with two West Brom players being sent off - Matt Carbon followed Larus Sigurdsson down the tunnel for an early bath - and others becoming involved in an unsavoury altercation with Town stewards.


Early goal - David Johnson gave Ipswich a sixth-minute lead against the Baggies Picture: Birmingham Live

Tempers flared after the final whistle as the visiting players became embroiled in an incident following their post-match warm-down.

The police were called in and while beleaguered Baggies manager Brian Little remained tight-lipped when he left the ground, chief executive John Wile emerged to read an official statement to the press.

When asked whether he would name the players involved, his response was an unequivocal “no”.

However, Wile did confirm that there would be no further police action, that the club would be taking the "necessary internal disciplinary measures" and that West Brom had "apologised sincerely" to the stewards and Ipswich Town Football Club.

Of more significance for George Burley's Blues were the three points, much to the delight of the bulk of the 14,712 crowd.

Johnson's sixth-minute strike set them on the road to victory, Scowcroft's second gave them a comfortable interval lead and Midgley made it three on 66 minutes.

Fabian De Freitas pulled one back but it proved scant consolation on a miserable day for the Midlanders.

Colchester United boss John McGreal was in the Ipswich team, as was U's promotion-winner and current Maldon and Tiptree manager Wayne Brown.

Mick Stockwell, who ended his professional career three years after moving to Layer Road in 2000, was also in the starting line-up and played an hour before being replaced by Jermaine Wright - the dad of Drey (formerly with the U's and now at St Johnstone) and current Colchester midfielder Diaz Wright.