Good effort, but not good enough

JUST not good enough.Plenty of effort and in the early stages plenty of the ball but overall not enough quality when it really mattered.If they are not careful this game, as with the games at Southampton and Stoke that preceded it, will be reflected in their season and after showing so much early promise there will be disappointment at the crunch time.

Derek Davis

JUST not good enough.

Plenty of effort and in the early stages plenty of the ball but overall not enough quality when it really mattered.

If they are not careful this game, as with the games at Southampton and Stoke that preceded it, will be reflected in their season and after showing so much early promise there will be disappointment at the crunch time.

For all their good work they have been overtaken and against Sheffield United it was the same.

Town looked good for the first 25 minutes but it was United who showed them how to finish and took the lead through James Beattie.

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Alan Lee equalised but Ipswich were never able to really get back on top.

Ipswich did as their manager had asked and imposed themselves on Sheffield from the start playing crisp, neat football.

Danny Haynes, playing wide left with Alan Quinn still struggling with an ankle injury, showed immediately he had the beating of David Geary by getting past him and putting in a decent ball.

But for all of Town's dominance Geary was never really troubled much more in the first half.

David Norris hit a 25-yard drive on the run but Paddy Kenny was safely behind it.

Velice Sumulikoski bent a free kick around the wall but Kenny was down smartly to gather inside a post.

A Walters cross caused panic with a poor punch from Kenny but again Town could not take advantage.

Gary Speed was booked for dissent by the referee who wrongly gave a hand-ball against him and that seemed to fire up the Steel City side.

United thought they would try some of this passing game and worked a move that resulted in Beattie heading wide from a Cotterill cross.

Town were well on top but once again lacked the cutting edge that perhaps someone like Nugent would give them and that proved costly when the Blades cut through them on the half- hour.

It was a catalogue of defensive errors starting with Harding, who gave the ball away to David Cotterill. He then fed Michael Tonge who skipped past three poor challenges before crossing for Beattie who was almost on goal-line, looking suspiciously offside, and nodded in unmolested.

Almost immediately Counago wriggled through and laid the ball off for Lee's shot, which was blocked. Haynes followed up but Gary Naysmith got there and the ball spun up into Kenny's arms.

Lee claimed Town should have had a penalty but he was waved away by referee Kevin Friend.

Sheffield substitute Rob Hulse also tried it on after a shove by Harding but got the same response from the referee.

Chris Armstrong put in a dangerous ball but Beattie failed to get a clean connection

A free kick was cleared only as far as Tonge who rapped a vicious 25-yard shot against the crossbar

Gary Naysmith headed against his own bar before skipper Chris Morgan cleared as Town clawed their way back.

The equaliser came eight minutes after the break and stemmed from a David Wright throw-in.

The ball broke to Walters, who dug out a deep cross and Lee did well while leaning back to head past Kenny for his 10th goal of the season.

The referee also deserved praise for playing advantage with his assistant flagging for a foul on Walters as the ball went in.

Magilton tried to liven things up by bringing on Owen Garvan and Alan Quinn but they made little impact as Sheffield stayed organised and disciplined while always looking a danger on the counter.

This was Town's third successive game against a side in red and white stripes, with just two points picked up from the possible nine.

They will be glad not to have any more teams in the same colours coming up as they hope to revive their flagging play-off push.