Forget failings and stay positive

Ipswich Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 0IN a game of milestones and records the only statistic that really matters is the 3-0 scoreline.It doesn't really matter that Plymouth lost a player through a controversial sending off for a foul after 40 seconds, the quickest dismissal for a visiting player in Portman Road history.

By Derek Davis

Ipswich Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 0

IN a game of milestones and records the only statistic that really matters is the 3-0 scoreline.

It doesn't really matter that Plymouth lost a player through a controversial sending off for a foul after 40 seconds, the quickest dismissal for a visiting player in Portman Road history.

Nor will anyone of a Blues persuasion be particularly bothered that Argyle had a goal disallowed, again in disputed circumstances, or that Ipswich struggled for a large part of the second half.

Sometimes it doesn't hurt to gloss over the shortcomings and, instead, just accentuate the positive.

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Positive number one was Owen Garvan, who played in what was really a meaningless game in terms of league positions as if it were a cup final.

The young Irishman was wasteful with the free-kick that came about when Matthias Doumbe was dismissed for a foul on Jon Walters in the opening moments.

An offence initially waved away by referee Jon Moss but one that turned into a red card after consulting his assistant Steve Rubery, to the fury of the Green Army.

But Garvan was clinical with his finish when Gary Roberts found him in the space that Doumbe would probably have been patrolling and, after checking inside to get the ball on his left foot, curled in expertly for his only goal so far this season.

Six minutes later, Garvan collected a clever ball from Walters and instead of going for glory picked out Alan Lee, who slid in to finish from six yards.

It was Lee's 16th goal of the season, which equals his career best set in the 2002-2003 season while at Rotherham in the same division.

Garvan might have had another for himself but headed straight to the keeper from a Matt Richards cross. It was a rousing display by the young Irishman who missed the first half of the season through illness and will be key to Jim Magilton's plans for next season.

But his willingness to please the fans with a storming display also earned him a rebuke from Magilton, who felt he was indisciplined in the second half by charging forward too recklessly instead of being patient.

Such was Town's dominance in the first half that had Walters not been so determined to get his head to a Jason De Vos flick-on from a Gavin Williams cross, Lee would have broken his record and added to Town's first-half tally.

He even got the ball in the net again but was clearly offside.

Plymouth were in such disarray following the sending off that Town could have gone in five up at half-time. But Ian Holloway reorganised and galvanised his troops at half-time and they were the better team in the second half.

Skipper De Vos was almost embarrassed by the hard-working Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who wriggled clear and beat Lewis Price but the referee indicated a handball by the Plymouth striker as he won possession, although it was noticeable that the same linesman did not raise a flag.

Price then had to make a smart save from veteran Barry Hayles and the Blues were on the back foot.

Magilton jiggled things around by introducing Danny Haynes and he had a field day against makeshift left-back Peter Halmosi, a Hungarian who was left trailing in the youngster's wake in time added on. Haynes went direct for goal and finished with a powerful low drive, similar to the late goal he scored at Hull, and that wrapped things up.

For those lovers of all things statistical, it was Ipswich's 4,000 league goal but, perhaps more pertinent, it was the Blues' second successive clean sheet and fifth goal without reply and handed them a fourth win in six matches.

Town might have had a fourth when Haynes again burst clear and laid the ball across goal but Billy Clarke blazed over from six yards.

Another positive was the introduction of Ian Miller in place of the limping Fabian Wilnis and the former Bury Town defender had an eventful quarter-of-an-hour or so.

He was booked after just three minutes for dragging down Hayles just outside the area, his first booking in professional football despite spells at League Two clubs Boston United and Darlington.

Miller might even have snatched his first Town goal at a corner when he got his head to the ball but could not make a clean connection.

Magilton has demanded 21 points from the seven games following the international break and, if they play as they did in the first half, then they can continue the winning streak at home against Barnsley on Saturday.

But, if they dither as they did in the second half, then the strugglers will embarrass them, just as Southend did last month.

As has been typical of the season, there were many good things that came out of the win over Plymouth but the shortcomings serve as a warning that, while there is much to be optimistic about, there is also much to be aware of.

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