Cruel luck costs Town victory
CRUEL luck is all that separates Ipswich from a day of celebration to a grudging point.To all intents and purposes the Blues should have buried the myth that they can't win away - instead they are cursing an unfortunate rebound and what looked a harsh offside flag.
By Derek Davis
CRUEL luck is all that separates Ipswich from a day of celebration to a grudging point.
To all intents and purposes the Blues should have buried the myth that they can't win away - instead they are cursing an unfortunate rebound and what looked a harsh offside flag.
Pablo Counago could not believe it and he looked at least level with defender Steven Caldwell as he tapped in a square ball from Jon Walters.
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It looked harsh on Town but that has been the story of their travels this season, and most of last.
Alan Lee made an explosive return to his old club with a terrific goal as Town took a two-goal lead at Burnley.
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The Irishman was not a big hit at Turf Moor after joining from Aston Villa and left after just 20 appearances to join Rotherham, where he became a huge success.
But he hit the target after Sylvain Legwinski had given Town the lead.
But then Burnley hit back through Kyle Lafferty and Andy Gray.
Ipswich manager Jim Magilton kept to his word about making changes, both tactically and with personnel.
As expected David Wright came in at right-back after recovering from an infected blister on a heel.
Sylvain Legwinski replaced Gary Roberts and sat deep along with Owen Garvan.
What was a surprise was to see Billy Clarke going in on the left and Tommy Miller replacing Pablo Counago and playing in the hole behind Alan Lee.
It worked a treat as the Blues raced to a two-goal lead inside nine minutes.
In the sixth minute Town built up neatly, culminating with Garvan laying the ball wide for Clarke to run on to and hit first time, his shot clipping the outside netting.
Almost immediately Town won a corner which was deflected behind for another flag kick.
This time Garvan and Legwinski combined perfectly and the Frenchman met the set play to nod in from eight yards.
A minute later Clarke popped up on the right and after a neat interchange with Lee he sped down the flank.
The Irish Under-21 then delivered a peach of a cross for Lee, who guided the ball over and past the stranded Gabor Kiraly with the deftest of headers.
It was breath-taking stuff but typically Town showed they are at their most vulnerable when being dominant.
A deep cross from Wade Elliott found Kyle Lafferty, who looked as if he used David Wright's shoulders as leverage to head past Neil Alexander.
For a moment it looked like the referee had given a foul but he had in fact awarded the goal.
Walters forced Kiraly to tip over his header from another Garvan corner and Miller forced a save after he wriggled his way through.
Garvan opened his Pandora's box of tricks and skills to find space to make little passes and showed off his juggling skills to great effect.
Ipswich never looked in any danger in the first 15 minutes of the second half and were doing all the right things.
They looked the more threatening, had silenced the home crowd and were comfortably containing the Clarets.
Then it all went ballistic.
Town lost the ball while attacking. Alan Mahon - and we all know what he can do after his loan spell at Portman Road - threaded a ball through for Andy Gray.
Alexander quite rightly came charging out and seemed to win the race and blocked Gray's shot but the ball looped high in the air before bouncing into an empty net.
It was rotten luck on Town as the ball could have gone anywhere but of course with the way it is going for them away from home, it had to go over the line.
The goal lifted Burnley and Alexander made a brilliant save to deny Lafferty's close-range header,
But it was Town who thought they had snatched the winner with that late Counago strike - only for that fine effort to be ruled out for offside. It wasn't to be.