At least Town didn't lose!

WELL, looking on the bright side, at least Ipswich didn't lose.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

WELL, looking on the bright side, at least Ipswich didn't lose.

On another day, with another assistant, Jamie Mackie's 'goal' may not have been ruled out for offside and Town would be kicking themselves even harder.


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Conversely on another day and another referee, Pablo Counago or Kevin Lisbie might have been given a penalty for the infringements perpetrated upon them.

On another day Jon Stead's outstanding effort from the edge of the box goes inside the post instead of rebounding away.

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That said Rory Fallon will feel aggrieved that he athletic effort didn't go under the bar instead of crashing back to Simon Walton who nodded it straight back to a grateful Richard Wright

But it wasn't another day. It was the final day of January with a chance to improve on their current 10th place and edge nearer the play-off pack that remains a five points clear of the Blues.

With results elsewhere pretty much going Town's way it would have been a good day to gain all three points but, as has happened so many times this season, it was a missed opportunity.

Town were frustrated by a Plymouth side determined to take at least a point as they look nervously at the relegation zone rather than worry about trying to push up from mid-table obscurity.

French keeper Romain Larrieu had one of those days when nothing was going to get past him as he used every limb in blocking, saving, parrying and clearing Town's best efforts.

Stead will be wondering how he didn't follow up his brace at Barnsley with his 10th of the season.

When Pablo Counago took control of the mall in the centre of the pitch and threaded a pass wide for Jon Walters Argyle looked in trouble.

Walters measured his pass for Stead who sweetly struck an 18-yard effort that cannoned off a post.

Stead had earlier been denied by Larrieu from a Garvan corner and when Counago followed up Rory Fallon cleared off his line.

It was a decent half for Town as tried to be precise playing into channels, while Plymouth lumped the ball forward to the big men looking for knock down. Ipswich were generally quicker to the second ball and the distribution from the back was good.

But Argyle, with just one Championship win in 11 games took heart and with Simon Walton driving the midfield, The Pilgrims were strong in the second half.

They tweaked their strategy to use Paul Gallagher more out on the wide left and it was from there that Fallon's chance came.

Mackie was given Balkestein a test and twice got away from the Dutch youngster but his skipper McAuley came to the rescue the first time. Although the second time he recovered well to make a terrific recovering tackle in the box.

When Plymouth did find away through after Fallon's shot was blocked and Mackie pounced, the referee's assistant baled out Town.

All those efforts came on the counter as Town poured forward in numbers.

Substitute Kevin Lisbie will today still be visualising how the keeper stuck out a foot in time added on to deny his header towards goal.

The boos once again rang out around Portman Road at full time for a side that has not won at home in league since December 10.

The home form is becoming a concern, just as last year all the points dropped on the road proved costly, so it is the failure to secure maximum returns at home will result in missing out yet again.

Added to that, the dwindling support can see with their own eyes Town's shortcomings and that does not bode well for the season ticket launch scheduled for about three week's time.

As Town failed to score, it won't have gone unnoticed that Jordan Rhodes netted a perfect hat-trick within half an hour of Brentford's 3-1 win at Shrewsbury.

That follows a hat-trick by Billy Clarke, a naturally left footed forward who can play wide, netted a hat-trick for Northampton in the 5-1 win against Crewe a week earlier.

The Blues will need to find their scoring boots on Saturday at Swansea because depending on results in the games being played tomorrow, Town could find themselves cut further adrift if they lose. But that is for another day.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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