THE most consistent thing about Town this season is their inconsistency.Once again the Blues looked world-beaters for half-an-hour with slick passing, great approach-work and an alert Marcus Bent pouncing on the slightest of mistakes by Brighton skipper Danny Cullip to sprint ahead of veteran Dave Beasant before tucking the loose back-pass away.
By Derek Davis
THE most consistent thing about Town this season is their inconsistency.
Once again the Blues looked world-beaters for half-an-hour with slick passing, great approach-work and an alert Marcus Bent pouncing on the slightest of mistakes by Brighton skipper Danny Cullip to sprint ahead of veteran Dave Beasant before tucking the loose back-pass away.
But then they sat back and showed the sort of lethargic approach more akin to a Gambian villager in the midday sun. Instead of going on to bury a side at the bottom end of the table in the same manner as they dealt with third-placed Reading in midweek, they allowed themselves to be overtaken and only a corker of a finish from Martijn Reuser saved a point.
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Blues boss Joe Royle was less than impressed with a raft of misses, especially six-yarders from Pablo Counago and skipper Matt Holland.
He said: "It was quite typical of us. We should have been out of sight first half. We have had the chances to win the game two or three times over.
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"They must have been delighted to get in at half time and, credit to them, they deserved their equaliser. We then got nervous, went behind and missed a penalty so it was a typical frustrating afternoon at Portman Road.
"We missed our chances and for me our front-men were disappointing, as was our defending."
On-loan striker Tony Rougier twice got the better of Town's central defence to be in the right position to first head a Gary Hart cross against the crossbar which then bounced down on to an unfortunate Andy Marshall, who was powerless to prevent the ball hitting his back and going in for the equaliser.
Trinidad & Tobago international Rougier made sure he would get the credit for the second when he tapped in a clever pull-back by Paul Brooker to put Albion ahead.
Substitute Darren Bent confidently took the ball when Richard Carpenter tripped Chris Makin for a penalty just after the re-start but he blazed it over the bar for his second miss from the spot this season. Royle had no regrets in allowing the young Bent to take the kick with Tommy Miller still on the bench at that point.
The manager said: "He is normally a great finisher and he wanted to take it. He gave us some energy and he at least looked as if he wanted to get in behind them. I have been trying to rest him but I don't think I can as he is too important for us."
Ipswich have dropped 14 points to three of the bottom four sides, drawing with Stoke City, Grimsby and now Brighton at Portman Road.
Add to that defeats at Stoke and Grimsby and a draw with Albion away and it is easy to see why they are not comfortably in a top-six place.
Royle said: "Our form is not good inasmuch as we are not winning games. But, at the same time, we have lost just twice in 19 so we are not really on a bad run. We certainly won't give it up when there are 21 points remaining to be played for."
But the Blues will need to find a tad more consistency if they are going to win all those games.