Best and worst of Town's season

Best Performance - v West BromThe victory over Norwich was as satisfying as it was comprehensive, and the complete destruction of Bristol City was easier on the eye than a bikini-clad Kate Moss.

Best Performance - v West Brom

The victory over Norwich was as satisfying as it was comprehensive, and the complete destruction of Bristol City was easier on the eye than a bikini-clad Kate Moss.

But, for all-round quality against top-notch opposition, the 2-0 beating of West Brom takes the biscuit.

Best goal - Pablo Counago v Charlton


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They say youth is wasted on the young, and this goal was certainly wasted on Town's defeat to Charlton.

Trailing 3-0 and with travelling supporters seething at Town's shocking performance, Pablo collected the ball with his back to goal before releasing a cheeky and perfectly-placed back-heel.

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You know it's a good goal when the opposition fans clap.

Best chant - v Sheffield United

Poor old Paddy Kenny. Days before the Blades visited Portman Road, calamity Paddy squandered a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals by pushing the ball into his own net, gifting Middlesbrough an extra time winner.

To make matters worse, the game had been broadcast live to millions on the BBC.

A sympathetic North Stand offered their condolences to the porky Irish glovesman, chanting: “Score on the telly, we saw you score on the telly…”

Biggest cause for optimism - A bit of lolly

Was it Danny Haynes' continued improvement? Perhaps Jon Walters' seamless move from attack to right wing? Or maybe Owen Garvan passing his GCSEs?

All of the above were pleasing but the biggest hope for 2008/09 has got to be the arrival of Marcus Evans - or, more importantly, the arrival of Marcus Evans' weighty wallet.

If there's one single thing that made missing out on promotion that much more bearable, it was the

reassurance that players would not have to be sold to balance the books - and that more recruits will soon be on the way to bolster next term's promotion drive.

Best player - Jon Walters

Jon Walters is attracting the attention of Premier League clubs - and you don't have to be Alan Hansen to see why.

Comfortable on the ball, pacey, and with an eye for goal, Walters has quickly established himself as one of Town's key men.

And on top of all that, he's a jolly nice bloke, who always plays the game with a smile as wide as the Orwell Bridge.

Best opposition player - Ishmael Miller

West Brom's Ishmael Miller was pretty tasty at the Hawthorns, bagging the Baggies' first of a fruitful afternoon.

Watford's Dan Shittu may look like a bull in a china shop and have the grace of a whale trying to ice skate, but he was a pretty formidable opponent, too.

Best signing - Marcus Evans

Velice Sumulikoski looks pretty handy, Pablo Counago has shown glimpses of his undoubted genius, while David Norris could be Town's midfield enforcer next season.

But the arrival of Marcus Evans - an inspired signing by chairman David Sheepshanks - looks the best deal of the lot.

He might not be a billionaire, but he's hardly skint either, and the new owner has deep enough pockets to bankroll Town back into the Premier League.

Best servant - Jason De Vos

The gigantic Canadian has served Ipswich fantastically in his time at Portman Road.

His commitment, integrity and exemplary approach have made him the perfect role model for the club's younger players.

How fitting it would have been if he could have left Portman Road having guided the club to promotion.

Big Jason is also pretty useful behind the decks - although he has shamefully admitted to owning at least one of his countrywoman Celine Dion's albums.

Best late goal - Tommy Miller

Tommy could have scooped this category twice over - his late free-kicks against Wolves and Scunthorpe earned Town an extra three points…which actually didn't make any difference in the end, but we all cheered excitedly nonetheless.

Biggest relief - Winning at Sheffield Wednesday

Never before has a victory over such a mediocre team meant so much. Victory at Hillsborough ended Ipswich's endless away-day hoodoo and breathed optimism into a flagging campaign.

Best own goal - Alex Pearce, Norwich City

There have been some wonderful own goals in previous East Anglian derbies…Gary Megson's beautifully placed last-minute header in the mid 90s, and Robert Ullathorne's bobbly back pass which jumped over Bryan Gunn's boot on its way into the back of the net to name but two.

Fortunately, Alex Pearce is a man who appreciates tradition. Danny Haynes' cross was too tempting for the 19-year-old who couldn't resist diverting it past his own goalie to cancel out team-mate Chad Evans' opener.

Haynes, so often the scourge of the Canaries, bagged the second to secure bragging rights.

Biggest Disappointment - Travel sickness

It has to be Ipswich's woeful, inept, frustratingly dreadful, miserable, awful, rotten away form. How can the same team have the best home record and the second worst away record? It's a mystery befitting of an Agatha Christie novel.

If the Blues are to make the top six next season, their inability to perform on the road will have to be tackled.

Biggest anti-climax - Alan Lee's goal against Hull

Portman Road erupted when the Irishman scored just one-hundredth of a second after coming on as a sub.

Then everybody checked their mobile phones to find out Tommy Smith had levelled for Watford and Town's play-off ambitions were buried.

Worst performance - Colchester away

Losing at MK Dons on penalties in the league cup was as grotty as the town itself, but the debacle at Layer Road was less competent than Amy Winehouse's lifestyle coach.

United had gone for months without a clean sheet, while they had hardly found the net with much frequency, either.

The hosts were as good as relegated, and with Town desperate for three points, victory seemed like a given.

Only football doesn't always work out like that.

United, buoyed by a vocal home following, swarmed over Ipswich.

Town were dressed in black - and for many, this was the day the promotion dream died.

Worst haircut - Jonathan Greening

He may be a cultured, elegant midfielder, but his grubby locks make him look like a Big Issue seller.

Greening's mop appears to be a tree-hugging hippy's failed attempt at dreadlocks.

He even wears a pretty little Alice band to keep it out of his eyes.

Never mind keeping West Brom in the Premier League- manager Tony Mowbray's biggest task next season will be persuading Greening to visit the barbers.

Worst kit - Sheffield Wednesday

Palace's home kit, designed by Errea, has the distinction of being nominated for a place in Room 101 by a fan within weeks of being released.

But the worst has to be Sheffield Wednesday's garish orange away strip which they sported at Portman Road. It just looks wrong.

Worst ground - Layer Road

An easy choice for two reasons.

First, because Town lost there…again, and second, because the Dog and Duck Reserves would be embarrassed to play at Colchester's feeble former home.

Calling Layer Road a 'stadium' is surely an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Worst refereeing decision - Burnley

There have been a few contenders this season, but ruling out Pablo Counago's late 'winner' at Turf Moor was criminal.

Video technology, anybody?

Worst goal celebration - Jon Walters v Crystal Palace

Top player, top goal, pitiful celebration.

Walters' late winner seemed to take him by surprise, and before he could think of anything better, he was clucking like a chicken, with his arms and legs thrashing around like a dad dancing at a wedding disco.

Worst opposition player - Freddy Eastwood

It is tempting to say Franny Jeffers - there are unconfirmed reports he didn't actually touch the ball on his Sheffield Wednesday debut at Portman Road - but that would just be bitter.

Considering the money (£1.5m) they splashed out on him, it would have to be Wolves' Freddy Eastwood. Thoughtfully, the Romany gypsy decided to pass his penalty to Neil Alexander with the score level at Portman Road before going AWOL for the remainder of the match. Town went on to cruise to a 3-0 win.

A speedy return to Southend, Freddy? Watch this space.

Worst team - Watford

The Hornets have not been selected because of a lack of quality, but due to the manner of their ugly victory at Portman Road.

Time-wasting, feigning injury, bullying…you name it, Watford tried it.

Town's cause was not helped by a referee who appeared to have a phobia of yellow and red.

Luckiest goal - Danny Haynes v Crystal Palace

Ask any scorer of a dubious goal whether they intended it and they'll usually be offended that they should even be questioned.

But not even Danny Haynes, hardly a shrinking violet, could claim this freak strike was deliberate.

Saying that, he did run the length of the pitch afterwards to celebrate as if he had just scored the finest goal the game of football had ever seen.

Richard Naylor hit a stinging drive, fit for a centre-back, which was flying 50 yards wide.

But, thanks to a little divine intervention, Haynes - facing the other way - walked into the path of the ball's flight, which promptly cannoned off his bonce and flew past the helpless Palace 'keeper.

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