Ambrose double sinks Blues

By ELVIN KINGIT was another disappointing away day for Ipswich Town, beaten by Charlton Athletic in the Coca-Cola Championship at the Valley this afternoon.


IT was another disappointing away day for Ipswich Town, beaten by Charlton Athletic in the Coca-Cola Championship at the Valley this afternoon.

The Blues have now gone 15 away games without a win and they ruled themselves out of this contest with some rank bad first half defending.

Darren Ambrose in the sixth and 39th minutes and Chris Iwelumo in the 31st put the Londoners into a strong position and at times the Blues were all over the place.

But manager Jim Magilton made substitutions and his team were completely different after the break - playing with a passion and some bite.

Alan Lee had a penalty saved and substitute Danny Haynes struck the bar before Pablo Counago netted his eighth goal of the season in the 70th minute.

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But it was too late, the damage had been done.

The visitors made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Bristol City on Tuesday with Legwinski dropped and Bruce missing out with a groin problem. Wilnis got over a mild flu virus to take his place in the back line beside skipper De Vos.

The Dutchman had not previously started a game this season that Ipswich had lost. Miller, left out at Ashton Gate, came back into the side for Legwinski.

There was no place for the Frenchman or Clarke on the bench - with Spanish defender Sito given a rare substitute berth. Casement travelled, but was not included in the final 16.

Charlton, relegated from the Premier League last season, included former Town players Holland and Ambrose while striker Iwelumo lives in the town and played for Colchester last season.

The Londoners had lost their previous two home game, but had won four away on the bounce without conceding a goal.

Things turned gloomy for the visitors in the sixth minute when Charlton scored with a goal made and converted by ex-Town players.

Sam held off Harding, and waited for Holland to unattended round the back of the Town back line. The number eight crossed into the six-yard box where AMBROSE was unmarked and able to head comfortable high into the net.

It was more poor defending by Ipswich on their travels, and they now had a mountain to climb not having scored away since they lost 3-1 at Sheffield United last month.

Ambrose, who served his football apprenticeship at the Ipswich Town academy, tried his luck a couple olf minutes later and sent a 20-yard screamer a foot over the bar.

It had all the makings of another unproductive Ipswich away day with Charlton looking a threat going forward if a little edgy at the back.

In the 29th minute Sam had space to set his sights and send a 20-yard right-foot drive two yards wide of the near post.

Two minutes later Ipswich went further behind with another exhibition of rank bad defending. Harding gave away an unnecessary corner that was taken by Reid. The wind may have played a part as the ball sailed over the hands of Alexander and landed at the feet of the unmarked IWELUMO just beyond the far post.

It only needed the simplest touch by the striker to turn the ball into the net, with Town's defenders left looking at each other in dismay.

Manager Magilton had seen enough and two minutes later he sent on Counago in place of Williams, with Ipswich going from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2.

The Spanish striker struck the post in the 38th minute, but a flag was up and Counago was quite rightly given offside anyway.

The 39th minute saw more misery for Ipswich, and left a track suited Magilton looking on in anguish. Reid had possession just outside the visiting penalty area, and when he laid the ball back AMBROSE left fly with a first-time right-foot low shot that left Alexander a spectator as the ball arrowed its way into the corner of the goal.

Again there were recriminations in the Town defence, and Ambrose was given too much space, but it was still a wonderful strike.

Just after the second Ambrose goal, Iwelumo crossed from the right and Reid missed the target when it looked easier to score from six-yards.

Weaver was still waiting to make his first save, and there were long faces among the Ipswich contingent as players and officials left the field. Half-time:

Charlton 3 Ipswich Town 0

Town made two further changes before the re-start with Sito coming on for Harding, and Haynes taking the place of Roberts.

And the Blues should have pulled a goal back in the 47th minute as the rain began to come down with some force.

Counago was fouled as he tried to break through, and a penalty was awarded by an assistant referee. Lee too control of the kick, but saw his shot go too close to Weaver, who made a block.

The ball rebounded to Lee, but the number 14 was unable to get in a shot, and Charlton were able to clear.

Reid crossed from the left as Charlton broke, and Iwelumo should have done better with a free header.

But Town had certainly been fired up in the dressing room at the interval as they were now giving everything to the cause.

Town went so close again to a goal in the 55th minute. Counago had space to shoot, and his shot was blocked to loop in the air for Haynes to leap and head against the far from close range.

Haynes needed attention as he hurt himself in the attempt to net. De Vos was booked when Charlton broke in the 58th minute before Holland was denied by an Alexander save a minute later.

Alexander dived full length to tip the ball against the foot of his left-hand post, but before the ball was cleared there was more excitement.

Wilnis dived at the near post as the ball was knocked over the by-line. The referee awarded a penalty for handball, but he went over to consult with his assistant and the decision was changed to a corner.

Mr Swarbrick thought Wilnis had handled the ball, but this was correctly overruled by his assistant.

Lee and Counago went close to testing Weaver before COUNAGO pulled a goal back in the 70th minute. Lee played the ball back into the middle after a cross from the right, and the Spaniard came of his marker to back heel the ball into the corner of the goal with the keeper able only to watch.

With the penalty miss and Haynes' header against the bar Ipswich could have been level as their second half recovery continued apace.

It was Counago's eighth goal of the season, and put level top Town scorer with Lee and Walters.

This was the biggest number of Ipswich supporters for an away game this season with an estimated 3,000 filling the Jimmy Seed Stand behind one goal. It was another marvellous turnout from Blues followers and despite the first half debacle they were still right behind their team.

Fortune was sent off as the whistle blew after flooring Lee.

Charlton Athletic 3 Ipswich Town 1

Attendance: 24,680


Charlton Athletic: Weaver, Mills, Sodje, Zheng, Powell, Reid, Ambrose, Holland, Sam, Fortune, Iwelumo. Substitutes: Randolph, Varney, Bougherra, Seemdo, McLeod.

Ipswich Town: Alexander; Wright, Wilnis, De Vos, Harding; Walters, Miller, Williams, Garvan, Roberts; Lee. Substitutes: Supple, Sito, Trotter, Haynes, Counago.

Referee: Mr N Swarbrick (Lancashire)

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