BY STEVE MITCHELL
On a sultry afternoon at Wembley Stadium, First Division champions Nottingham Forest got the new season off to a perfect start when they demolished FA Cup holders Ipswich Town in the Charity Shield.
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In a contest that had been billed as one of the most eagerly awaited curtain raisers in years, Brian Cloughâ€™s irrepressible Forest side took control of the match early on and never looked like relinquishing their grip on proceedings.
Northern Ireland international Martin Oâ€™Neill capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake from Ipswich skipper Mick Mills to coolly slot home the first on 10 minutes before striker Peter Withe doubled Forestâ€™s advantage just seven minutes later with a headed goal over Town â€˜keeper Paul Cooper with his team-mates claiming offside. The Tractor Boys were without two international defenders in Kevin Beattie and Allan Hunter and looked disorganised and fearful every time Cloughâ€™s men attacked.
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Just 50 seconds after the interval, things got worse for Bobby Robson and company when big central defender Larry Lloyd got on the end of a John Robertson free-kick to end any hopes of an Ipswich revival. More Robertson magic on the left wing led to Oâ€™Neill hammering home his second of the match and the provider turned goalscorer for Forestâ€™s fifth when Robertson fired in a delicious shot from 20 yards which left Cooper helpless.
With many observers predicting Forest to plummet this season after last yearâ€™s heroics, this result will have gone some way to silencing the doubters who claimed that their league championship and league cup victories last season were just a fluke. Cloughâ€™s men now look forward to welcoming newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur, complete with new summer signings Ricardo Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles, to the City Ground next week.
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Robson, on the other hand, needs to pick his side up ahead of a campaign which will see them competing in the European Cup Winners Cup. Ipswich start their league program away at West Bromwich Albion in a repeat of last seasonâ€™s FA Cup semi-final at Highbury.
Nottingham Forest – Shilton, Anderson, Barrett, McGovern, Lloyd, Burns, Oâ€™Neill, Gemmill, Withe, Woodcock, Robertson: Substitute Needham
Ipswich Town â€“ Cooper, Burley, Mills, Talbot, Osman, Wark, Parkin, Gates, Mariner, Whymark, Woods: Substitute Turner
Referee: Peter Reeves
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