Frustrated Town fans are getting shirty

BETTER than the previous week, but still not good enough.Simple to sum up really, but less easy to understand is why Ipswich are playing as poorly as they are at the moment.

By Derek Davis

BETTER than the previous week, but still not good enough.

Simple to sum up really, but less easy to understand is why Ipswich are playing as poorly as they are at the moment.

For one fan in the South Stand it all got too much and after squirming in his seat after half time with the Blues a goal down, Patrick Yates (I'll name and fame him) said in a loud voice, heard by quite a few in a relatively mute stadium, that if Brighton scored a second goal he would take his Town shirt off and throw it on the pitch.

No sooner had the words come out of his mouth than Joe Lynch tucked away Albion's second.

Mr Yates duly kept his promise and hurled his orange away shirt down a few rows, harming no one in his futile protest, and stomped off to watch the rest of the game in the Legends bar.

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(If you found the said shirt, send it to me at the EADT and I will find you a suitable reward).

The supporter of 40 years or more wasn't alone in taking advantage of the cut-price lager and watching the game on the screen in grumbling discontent, while others dozed off, the fans' feelings of frustration are understandable.

Fair enough, Brighton were scrapping for survival, but the Blues are looking a shadow of their former selves and all the positive talk for next season looks hollow when watching games like the past three.

Even given that, less easy to condone is the vitriolic abuse some of the players took when they tried to applaud the supporters as they traipsed off,

Darren Currie, who reportedly will be the subject of a £400,000 bid by Watford in the summer, seemed to be the main scapegoat for abusive fans, despite putting the cross in for Alan Lee to nod back across goal for Nicky Forster to finish off Town's goal.

Currie is an easy target because his dipping, curling free-kicks look stunning when they nestle in the corner of the net, as do his incisive crosses when met by an in-form predator, or his clever tricks to carve out space - but when they go wrong, they do so spectacularly.

Like his opening shot that went 18-yards wide, the next brought gasps as it inched past an upright. Or when an attempted cross swerved high into the North Stand to a chorus of jeers.

He admits to not tackling enough, his job description demands he is facing the other way and in attack mode, yet he put in a sliding tackle near his own corner flag to halt Colin Kazim-Richard's dilly-dallying. That collectors' item earned skipper Jason De Vos a booking as he complained of the subsequent time-wasting by the Brighton striker.

But the fans venting their spleen on Currie forget he has played every game for Town this season, quite an achievement given the amount of injuries and cards suffered by the squad as a whole. He has also been the inspiration, or finisher for nearly half their goals.

As one of the senior players it is possibly better that Currie is targeted than the young players, but the unpalatable truth is the kids are looking tired.

Scott Barron, a bonus since coming back from a long-standing injury to slot comfortably in at left-back, was left chasing shadows as Paul Reid and Kazim-Richards ghosted past him with too much ease.

It was a surging, unchecked run by Reid that allowed Gifton Noel-Williams the opportunity to turn and fire past Shane Supple.

He enjoyed space given to him by rising star Chris Casement, who was in at centre-back for a concussed Richard Naylor, who arguably would not have allowed the on-loan Burnley striker the room to score his second in four games.

Casement went to right-back for the second half and once again looked at ease even though he was carrying an ankle injury.

Another young Irishman who has been a revelation this season has also started to make little errors that were not in evidence against Southampton and Leicester City, for example, when this same group of players outclassed the opposition.

Supple, under pressure it has to be said, could not hold on to a Reid cross and the ball eventually fell invitingly for Lynch to score his first-ever senior goal.

Supple had taking a battering with Kazim-Richards and Kerry Mayo both going in hard on the brave keeper, but he battled on gamely.

Inconsistency and mistakes are what you get with young players and at the end of a particularly torturous season when many have been used more than the manager would have liked, it is almost inevitable that the campaign catches up with them.

Owen Garvan is not getting involved in games to the extent he was and Frenchman Jimmy Juan, still learning the English game, is giving the ball away far too frequently and cheaply, so as to make the Blues midfield totally ineffective.

It is harsh to criticise the young players but it is probably better they get these mistakes and these lessons learnt now in a fairly meaningless end-of-season run-in, than next season when the Blues hope to be serious promotion challengers.

They will certainly be all the better for having all the aforementioned young players and others like Danny Haynes tucking this year under their belt.

Haynes troubled the Brighton defence with his direct running and only a brilliant goalline save by Paul McShane denied the 18-year-old after a sublime piece of play by Forster had set him up.

Just how different Town's season would have been had Forster and/or Sam Parkin had stayed fit, or if Lee had not gone down to a hamstring injury when he did, just when Town had lost two in 14 in a run that took them within sight of the play off-places.

In the 30 minutes he was on against Brighton, Forster looked sharp and after almost four months out after a knee operation and was delighted to get straight back on the goal sheet, with his fourth goal in 15 starts.

It was too little too late, but offered a glimpse of what Town are capable of, as they had in a bright first half where they could easily have been a couple of goals to the good, although in contrast Albion were finding more space in the Town defence than a Sussex beach in the middle of winter.

Better than Stoke and Luton but still not acceptable against the team who started the day bottom of the Championship. It was bad enough for anyone to want to throw in the towel, or an orange away shirt at least.

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