Ipswich losing their comeback habit

AFTER being the 'kings of comebacks' in the first half of this season and the previous two years under Joe Royle, Ipswich Town have lost their 'bouncebackability'.

By Derek Davis

AFTER being the 'kings of comebacks' in the first half of this season and the previous two years under Joe Royle, Ipswich Town have lost their 'bouncebackability'.

The worrying trend of not scoring means Town fans can no longer expect their side to fight from a goal down to snatch at least a point as they have done seven times and gleaned 17 points from losing situations..

Instead, the growing concern is that once the opposition hit the net, that's it - game over.


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For all their huff and puff, failure to score at all in five games since Alan Lee slotted a penalty to beat Swansea in the FA Cup, has seen them first of all stagnate in the bottom half of the table, and more recently, slip to within catching distance for the basement clubs with eight points separating them from Leeds and Southend, and seven away from third-from-bottom Hull City.

But is the current run a matter for grave concern, a mere blip, or a rite of passage from a rookie manager and a fledgling team?

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Although Town have not had any success in front of goal, they have performed credibly and created more chances than the opposition in every game this calendar year.

That gives rise to optimism that they can still secure the 11 points that is generally accepted enough to break the safety barrier of 50 points.

Once one goal goes in, and it doesn't matter if it is an own goal or a 30-yard screamer, there is a chance many more will follow - football is funny like that.

Some team soon is in danger of being hit for five by Town, just as they did Luton last October, and the circumstances of how the thrashing comes about won't be of importance.

Of course, the longer the blank sheets get then the more worrying it becomes and in the end it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom, which is why the manager and players must talk up the side all the time.

It will only become seriously grave if Town don't scoop at least half of the necessary points by the time they entertain Barnsley in April.

There is a concern that if you buy third-division players then you end up in the third division but there is deep belief in the Ipswich camp that the players brought in, do have the quality to play higher.

Gary Roberts needs to get back to the form that won him a contract, but he has shown what he can do.

Jon Walters has been frustratingly close to finding the net but he has also demonstrated what a naturally good fooballer he has with brains to go with technique.

Once the blip is smoothed out and Town are on an even keel they can look to the future and history has shown that even the best managers, Sir Alf, Sir Bobby, John Lyall and George Burley, all had bad starts to their managerial life at Portman Road but given time, patience and resources, they turned things around.

Football League comeback kings:

(points gained from a losing position this season)

1st Arsenal - 18pts, 4 wins, 6 draws

2nd IPSWICH TOWN - 17pts, 5 wins, 2 draws.

=3rd Bristol City - 17pts, 4 wins, 5 draws.

=3rd Huddersfield Town - 17pts, 3 wins, 8 draws.

5th Preston NE - 16pts, 4 wins, 4 draws.

6th Bradford City - 15pts, 3 wins, 6 draws.

=7th Derby County - 14pts, 4 wins, 2 draws.

=7th Plymouth Argyle - 14pts, 2 wins, 8 draws.

=7th MK Dons -14pts, 4 wins, 2 draws.

=10th Hull City - 13pts, 3 wins, 4 draws.

=10th QPR - 13pts, 3 wins, 4 draws.

=10th Notts Forest - 13 pts, 3 wins, 4 draws.

Championship comeback kings:

1st Ipswich Town - 17pts, 5 wins, 2 draws.

2nd Preston North End - 16pts, 4 wins, 4 draws.

=3rd Derby County - 14pts, 4 wins, 2 draws.

=3rd Plymouth Argyle - 14pts, 2 wins, 8 draws.

=5th Hull City 13pts, - 3 wins, 4 draws.

=5th Queens Park Rangers - 13pts, 3 wins, 4 draws.

=7th Norwich City - 12pts, 3 wins, 3 draws.

=7th Barnsley 12pts, - 3 wins, 3 draws.

=7th Southampton - 12pts, 3 wins, 3 draws.

10th Coventry City - 11pts, 3 wins, 2 draws.

Ipswich's comebacks:

Friday 25 Aug: QPR 1 (Gallen 58) Ipswich 3 (Walton pen 62, De Vos 68, Bowditch 86).

Saturday 9 Sept: Ipswich 2 (Walton pen 67, Clarke 78) Southampton 1 (Jones 3).

Saturday 23 Sept: Ipswich 3 (Currie 32, Lee 63, Lee 66) Sunderland 1 (De Vos og 29).

Sunday 19 Nov: Ipswich 3 (Legwinski 40, Haynes 77, Haynes 90+1) Norwich 1 (Chadwick 26).

Saturday 2 Dec: Ipswich 1 (Lee pen 90+2) Burnley 1 (Lafferty 86).

Saturday 9 Dec: Cardiff 2 (Purse 3, Purse pen 66) Ipswich 2 (Macken 48, Roberts pen 73).

Saturday 20 Jan: Ipswich 3 (Lee pen 30, Legwinski 56, Haynes 82) Colchester 2 (Duguid 15, Iwelumo pen 90+4).

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