Bad day for Town

IT is hard to remember Ipswich playing so poor collectively, writes Derek Davis.There have been times when the defence has the let the attack down, or the forwards have failed to turn domination into goals, or when the midfield has not taken charge, but rarely have all three departments combined to do badly on the same day.

IT is hard to remember Ipswich playing so poor collectively, writes Derek Davis.

There have been times when the defence has the let the attack down, or the forwards have failed to turn domination into goals, or when the midfield has not taken charge, but rarely have all three departments combined to do badly on the same day.

That is what happened at Derby as former Blues boss George Burley ended his run of four games without a win over his old club, by cajoling his new side to victory.

While the Blues meandered all over the place, Derby kept focused, even when their full debut-making 17-year-old full back Nathan Doyle had a nightmare 10 minutes in which he conceded a penalty and gave away a back pass for Town to ease themselves ahead.


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But even with Lady Luck showering kisses and gifts, Ipswich still managed to stuff it up.

The midfield never retained the ball for more than a couple of passes, the attack gave the Rams defence one of the easiest afternoons they will have all season, while Town's flanks were open to all-comers.

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It was from their left side that Tommy Smith was able to get past Matt Richards and deliver a superb cross which German Marco Reich met perfectly and, despite Jason De Vos' best efforts from a standing start, was able to head emphatically past Kelvin Davis.

Once the ball left Smith's boot there was not much Town could do about the goal but how it got to the County striker, and the ease in which he was able to get his cross in, was worrying.

Derby more than deserved the 36th- minute lead after outplaying a flat-footed Ipswich side.

For every one of those Town fans who have decried Jim Magilton this was proof positive of how much the skipper is missed.

It is doubtful that Derby would have had so much of the ball, or indeed Town so little, if Magilton had been pulling the strings.

Kevin Horlock was steady and made a bruising tackle on Ian Taylor in the opening minutes to show intent. Unfortunately he had little help. Tony Dinning looked lost and clearly needs more time to settle in and get used to how things operate in the Town midfield.

Ian Westlake is not showing anything like the form of last season. Although he is working as hard as ever nothing is really coming off for him.

He did win Town's penalty after Darren Bent managed to get the ball to him in the box and as he tried to bring in under control, Doyle made a clumsy challenge and the water polo player made the most of it to win the spot kick.

Tommy Miller varied his penalty taking but the result was the same as he maintained his 100% record of having never missed and sent Lee Camp the wrong way four minutes before the break.

It was a stroke of good fortune and Town would have been happy enough to get in at half-time on level terms so they could organise themselves.

Instead they could barely believe their luck when Doyle made a suicidal back pass towards Camp which was intercepted by Bowditch – probably the worst player he could have given it to.

The 18-year-old kept his nerve to cheekily pass the ball through Camp's legs to score.

The Blues even had a chance to make it three just after the break when Bent climaxed Town's best, possibly only, good move which included Bowditch and Miller, but the flag went up for offside as he buried the ball.

That might have killed the game but instead Derby resumed their relentless pressure and were rewarded with a 20-yard free kick just before the hour mark. Spaniard Inigo Idiakez used power and precision to send it over the wall and into the net before Davis could react.

That Derby would go on to win was not inevitable but not surprising. They seemed to have that extra ounce of effort, a little bit more quality, a tad more idea and that telling bit more desire.

And in the end a piece of luck to capitalise on more poor defending. With Fabian Wilnis on at left back in place of Richards, Derby were unable to get to the dead-ball line to get a cross in, instead a deep diagonal ball found its way to Reich beyond Diallo on the Derby left.

The German cut back inside the Frenchman comfortably and shaped to shoot for the far post. As everyone swayed to his right, he scuffed his shot, it went left between Diallo's legs to completely fool everyone and wrong-foot Davis.

The Rams would have had another but for a goal-saving block by Richard Naylor on a Taylor shot and even though four extra minutes were played Town never looked like getting the draw they did not deserve.

Just as at Wigan last August, Ipswich were exposed in so many ways. It took a couple of weeks and a couple of new signings before they got going again.

This time, unless the new defender comes in this week and Magilton reports back fit before Cardiff on Saturday, they may leave themselves too big an uphill task to cope with.

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