Town throw away two-goal lead
Ipswich's recent good run comes to an abrupt end at the Valley. Town end up on the wrong end of a 3-2 score line despite racing into an early 2-0 lead.
George Burley decided to make only one change for trip to Charlton, with Jamie Clapham coming in for the Martijn Reuser. The match couldn't have got off to a much better start for Town fans, and it was an explosive opening that suggested we were heading for a fourth consecutive win.
It only took a minute for Town to take the lead. Mark Venus floated in a free kick that found Thomas Gaardsoe. The Dane knocked it on to Bent, who headed past Dean Kiely. It almost caught the travelling supporters by surprise, but we were soon bouncing up and down on another bitterly cold match day.
But things got even better, as after only four minutes Town were two up. Again, it was our £3 million man Bent who was continuing his rich vein of form. The big striker raced onto a pass from Magilton and made no mistake as he slotted it past Kiely with a great finish.
With 86 minutes still left on the clock, Town were in dreamland. But the problem with taking such an early lead, is that it gives the other team virtually the whole match to come back. For the next forty minutes Town sat on their lead and let Charlton come forward until it had diminished.
Gradually the home team took control, and after two clean sheets it wasn't long before Town were once again conceding weak goals. John Robinson, unchallenged at the edge of the area, swung in a shot that deflected it's way past Sereni.
We then actually looked more like adding a third, and as Holland and Armstrong both fired wide, and Thomas Gaardsoe was agonisingly close to his third goal in two games. Gaardsoe rose to head down a corner just like he did against Sunderland, but this time the ball flew inches wide. That, for me, was the turning point of the game. Had we have gone 3-1 up, it would have been a totally different game. But the home team had their tales up, and it wasn't going to be long before the equaliser arrived.
Fish headed a Konchesky free kick goal bound, that Sereni did well to parry. But with no defender doing the clearing up job, Scott Parker steeled in to put his team level. The rest of the half was all Charlton, and in all honesty it was surprising we managed to hold out until half time as Parker and Lisbie came close.
After the break Town actually came out stronger, as Finidi, Armstrong and Bent all had chances of putting Town back in the lead. But on the hour mark, the Ipswich defence was breached for a final time. Sereni again saved the initial shot from Lisbie, but this time Jason Euell followed up by banging the ball in the net.
Burley's response to being behind was to bring on Sixto and Reuser, but Charlton were now sitting back and defending, and doing it much more effectively than Town.
Few clear-cut chances were created until the final ten minutes, when Armstrong and Finidi almost gained us a point. But you knew after blowing a 2-0 nil lead, this was not going to be our day.
It was very disappointing not to get anything from this game, especially considering the start. However, this was never going to be an easy game, and a 3-2 score line doesn't suggest we should be second from bottom. But it's still gutting to throw away a 2-0 lead, and really we should have gone home with something after being in that position. But strange as it may sound, I don't think having a two goal lead so early on helped our overall play- the game plan was thrown out of the window, and the players didn't know whether to attack or defend after taking the shock lead.
Other results didn't exactly go for us either. But three wins out of four over the Christmas break isn't bad, and there never was going to be an easy way out of this relegation mire. It will probably take a good couple of months of more consistent results to climb above the drop zone.
From The Terrace