Gallery: Out but not down - fans do Town proud

SIX thousand Ipswich Town fans did Suffolk proud as they descended on London in the hope of an FA Cup giantkilling.

Stuart Watson

SIX thousand Ipswich Town fans did Suffolk proud on Saturday as they descended on London in the hope of an FA Cup giantkilling.

And while the dream ended with a 3-1 defeat to Premiership giants Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the travelling supporters made sure they savoured every minute of the big day, regularly out-singing the home crowd.

Fans hope to be back at the stadium next year, providing Town can win promotion, and they perhaps saw enough in their side's plucky defeat to give cause for optimism.

The Blue Army travelled in their droves by coach, car and rail to the west London stadium and packed out the famous Shed End.

For a while a cup shock looked on the cards as Alex Bruce levelled Michael Ballack's early opener for Chelsea, and Danny Haynes missed a good chance that would have put Ipswich in front.

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Spectacular free-kicks from Ballack and Frank Lampard secured the result, but the disappointed Town fans said they were very proud of their team.

Town fan Becca Cole, 35, from Stowmarket, said: “For a while we lived the dream. The wall of noise from our end was fantastic - the trip was worth it just to experience that alone.”

Roger Slade, 40, from Rushmere said: “Do you know what, I wasn't that impressed with the ground!

“I thought we played really well first half and it is now just about replicating that sort of performance when we play the likes of Doncaster, Forest or Barnsley.”

Mike Royal, 43, from Bury St Edmunds said: “Hopefully we can carry this on into the rest of the season.”

Paul Gooding, 48, from Maningtree said: “They did well. I just hope they can out and do it again on Tuesday (against Barnsley),” while his 12-year-old son Lloyd Gooding added: “It was just brilliant. I thought they played fantastic.”

Town goalkeeper Richard Wright heaped praise upon his side's fans, calling them “fantastic”.

“It means so much to the players. If they can get behind us like that for the rest of the season, then that is the extra man and we can reward them by getting into the Premier League.”