Brett Pitman discusses the game that started the downward spiral for Ipswich Town’s season

Ipswich Town concede a 97th-minute penalty at Bolton Wanderers

Ipswich Town concede a 97th-minute penalty at Bolton Wanderers - Credit: Phill Heywood

Ipswich Town striker Brett Pitman has singled out the disappointing 2-2 draw at relegated Bolton as the moment the Blues’ fortunes took a turn for the worse.

Town sat ninth, but just one point outside the play-off places, ahead of their trip to Lancashire, but suffered a heavy blow when they squandered a two-goal lead, Laurie Wilson’s goal and Stephen Dobbie’s 97th-minute penalty cancelling out earlier goals from the Blues’ Kevin Bru and Christophe Berra.

That setback stopped Town moving into the Championship’s top-six and since then, Mick McCarthy’s men have picked up just seven points from a possible 24.

The Blues head to league leaders Middlesbrough tomorrow, eight points adrift of sixth-place Sheffield Wednesday with just three games remaining, and their season could officially be over by 4.45pm.

A disappointed Pitman, who has scored 10 goals in 28 league and cup starts this season, said: “It’s obviously disappointing for everyone, the fans, the players, the management.

“We’re all feeling it and it’s been tough for a few months now, I think probably since the Bolton one. That’s one I look back on and it probably killed our momentum a little bit.

“It’s been tough since then and we were hoping (to still be in contention) but it’s not to be. We’ll move on and try and win as many games between now and the end of the season before coming back next season to have another go.

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“It doesn’t help when you are 2-0 up away from home to a team at the bottom and then concede twice in the manner we did.

“It took us longer than it should have to put things right.”

Pitman should start at The Riverside tomorrow as Town attempt to break down a side that have the meanest defensive record in the Championship, conceding just seven goals on home soil.

Manager Mick McCarthy also suggested he could hand another Town academy player his bow – a possible candidate being midfielder Adam McDonnell.

Ahead of the clash Pitman added: “They (Middlesbrough) are good, they don’t concede many and they have real threats.

“It will be a tough game, they’re at home and when we played them down here we were well in the game and played well before their first goal.”

He added: “Adam Clayton and Grant Leadbitter protect the back four and don’t really go anywhere.

“Their full-backs attack but their central midfielders are a bit of a shield. That’s why they don’t concede many goals because they’re organised and base their game on keeping clean sheets.

“Our aim is to win and try to spoil their party but I’d prefer us going there needing to win to get in the play-offs.”