FULL-TIME REPORT: Woeful start sees Ipswich Town lose to Southend United

IPSWICH Town proved there is still plenty to do in the final two weeks of pre-season after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at League Two Southend United last night.

The Blues’ should have been one down after just 55 seconds and conceded two with just 11 minutes on the clock during a horror start for Paul Jewell’s men.

And while there were improvements in the second half, they could only reduce the deficit when Southend keeper Daniel Bentley air-kicked Mark Phillips back pass and the ball rolled into the empty net.

Jewell named arguably his strongest side with everyone fit except Lee Martin who continues to struggle with his thigh problem. But that was tempered somewhat by Jewell admitting negotations were ongoing with the Manchester United man over a new contract.

Back to matters on-the-pitch, Southend started on fire with Ryan Hall the chief architect, first crossing for Kane Ferdinand to somehow head over when unmarked from 10 yards after just 55 seconds on the clock.

The midfielder made amends when Damien Delaney conceded a needless free kick and Hall floated the ball for Ferdinand to nod home.

The same dangerous pairing combined on 11 minutes, ending with Ferdinand’s header back across goal deflecting off the luckless Chambers and past Scott Loach at the near post.

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Southend went close to making it three when Neil Harris met Hall’s corner but Carlos Edwards was on hand to clear off the line.

Town improved after the break and Massimo Luongo should have done better when he brilliantly broke past two defenders in the box but opted to try to chip Bentley at his near post rather than cross.

It took the keeper’s moment of madness to gift the Blues a way back into the game and they finally created chances.

Bentley made amends with a fine diving save from Michael Chopra before Ryan Stevenson hit the crossbar from 20 yards. Fellow sub Jimmy Bullard and the disappointing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas both went close from distance but Town could not find an equaliser.

TEAMS – Ipswich: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Delaney, Cresswell, Luongo, Hyam (Bullard 72), Emmanuel-Thomas, Drury (Stevenson 46), Carson, Chopra. Subs – Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, Scotland, Murray, Kourouma, Whight

Southend: Bentley, Clohessy, Straker, Ferdinand, Cresswell, Phillips, Hall, Leonard (Brogan 80), Harris (Eastwood 69), Tomlin (Benyon 69), Hurst (Martin 83). Subs – Barker, Prosser.