Town plummet closer to relegation
Ipswich fell to their third consecutive defeat against Leeds last night. A 2-0 defeat plummetted Town closer relegation...
The all too familiar 'being kicked in the stomach' feeling returned to Town fans last night at Elland Road, as the Tractor Boys fell to another defeat we just couldn't afford. This game went more or less as expected. We failed to score and in all honesty didn't really look like scoring, we let in sloppy goals, and generally handed a grateful Leeds team a comfortable win they scarcely deserved.
To be fair, this was a big improvement on recent performances, and if the quest for survival wasn't so intense, some satisfaction in Town's play and attitude could have been taken. Generally it was a gutsy, albeit toothless, display by players who looked as if they had finally realised the predicament we're in. The team did enough to suggest that we are capable of picking up a few wins, and there is still hope yet.
Burley opted for his favourite 'away day' wingback formation, and while we all expected Clapham to take his place in the starting line up, it was a surprise to see the out-of-favour and almost out-of-club Fabian Wilnis make a start. Marcus Bent made way for Alun Armstrong, and McGreal replaced Titus Bramble.
In the first half both teams looked more scared of losing than being interested in winning. The swirling wind didn't help matters, and a pitch that resembled Lowestoft beach would not have been to Town's liking. But Town did control midfield for once, and dominated possession, although the attacks always broke down in the final third.
Leeds on the other hand, tried to catch us on the break, and nearly did so on a few occasions. Gary Kelly hit a shot that Marshall parried, and Viduka nearly raced through ahead of Marshall. Armstrong had town's best chance, heading a Venus corner a foot wide of the post. Generally though, 0-0 was a fair reflection of the half, and one that Town fans were feeling quite pleased with.
That feeling didn't last too long however, as 15 seconds after the restart, Leeds scored. McGreal was unable to clear a long ball forward, and Fowler pounced onto the opportunity with a weak speculative shot. To our horror, the shot bounced centimetres in front of Marshall, and skipped into the goal. Whether or not Marshall is to blame is debatable, but in my opinion he should have done better.
Town regrouped, and had their best period of the match for the next half hour, as they took the game to Leeds. But not enough chances were created from the play, although Holland, Magilton and Hreidarsson all came close to equalising.
Leeds' second killer blow came in the 76th minute. Viduka seized upon a poor attempted head back to Marshall. He pushed the ball far too forward, as Marshall challenged, but enough contact was made by the keeper to persuade the ref to point to the spot. Viduka wasn't going to score, but again Marshall's eagerness to race forward and challenge saw another decision go against us. Harte made no mistake with the spot-kick.
Pablo and Bent both came on to replace the Armstrong and Stewart, and although they did look livelier, they didn't have enough time to make an impact. Robbie Fowler should have made it three but Hreidarsson cleared off the line, and Veno nearly scored a consolation goal with a great shot at the death.
The damaged in this game had been done with two bad errors, defensive and goalkeeping. The players must try to stay positive- it may be our only chance of survival. We deserved more from this game, and the score line flattened the home team.
But Burley must also think about making changes. Matteo Sereni must be in with a shout of a recall now, and George must also fathom what the best striker partnership is. We've hit a baron spell in the goals department, and that must change. However, I must admit I haven't a clue who should play. I'd actually be tempted to start with Counago and Bent.
From The Terrace