In pictures: Town lose in game of spot kicks

IN a game of three penalty kicks, Ipswich Town brought on their big guns in the second half but could not save themselves from defeat against League One Charlton in a friendly at the Valley last night.

Elvin King

IN a game of three penalty kicks, Ipswich Town brought on their big guns in the second half but could not save themselves from defeat against League One Charlton in a friendly at the Valley last night

With the new season less than a fortnight away it was not the free-flowing performance Town fans would have liked, but with a weakened line-up some valuable information was still no doubt gained by boss Roy Keane.

He decided to start with a virtual reserve XI with new signing Shane O'Connor making his first appearance since signing a contract with the Blues at left back and Bermudian full international Reggie Lambe joining Ed Upson in the starting line-up.

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Tommy Smith was given a start along with Veliche Shumulikoski, while Colin Healey was looking to impress his new boss in midfield on a night when Keane gave a number of players a chance to make a statement about their first team credentials.

Those who would have impressed Keane were surely Smith, Peters and first substitute Troy Brown while Upson was often in the thick of the battle for 45 minutes or so.

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Ipswich, who were doubled by relegated Charlton last season, were effectively 4-3-3 and began with Lambe and Jamie Peters on the right and left of Connor Wickham up front and Healy sitting in front of the back four with Shumulikoski and Upson for company.

O'Connor allowed right winger Lloyd Sam to get goal-side of him in the 21st minute and after chasing the home player into the box, O'Connor's tackle from behind was deemed a foul by the referee. Deon Burton comprehensively beat Shane Supple from the resultant penalty kick to put the Londoners ahead.

Six minutes later Charlton were given another spot kick, this one far less clear cut. After Sam had again got ahead of O'Connor and crossed, Shumulikoski cleared a bouncing ball in the box with the help of his right shoulder. But referee Trevor Kettle was adamant the Macedonian international had handled.

After Shumulikoski's strenuous protests, Burton scored with a low shot to the keeper's right - with Supple guessing the right way but unable to get a stretching hand to the ball.

David Wright had been holding his hip after a heavy early challenge, and was replaced at right back by summer signing Brown, who soon centred for Upson to head narrowly over as the visitors threatened for the first time.

The core of Keane's expected side for the opening Championship game began coming off the bench with David Norris replacing a disappointing Shumulikoski at the interval.

And within five minutes Norris had netted firing home a loose ball from an angle after Wickham's penalty had been pushed away by Rob Elliott. Wickham had been upended by Miguel Llera as he caused confusion on the edge of the six-yard line.

Peters and Lambe went close to an equaliser before a mass introduction of Town substitutes saw Gareth McAuley take over the skipper's armband from Alex Bruce.

Elliot saved well from a McAuley header at the foot of the post

Pablo Counago, Ben Thatcher, Damien Delaney, Alan Quinn, Liam Trotter, Lee Martin and Kevin Lisbie were among those who did not make the trip because of injury or non selection.

A Town XI visit Chelmsford City tonight and established fit players who are currently not at the forefront of Keane's thoughts could well be involved.

Former Ipswich skipper Matt Holland is now a free agent after his Charlton contract ran out on June 30. He is training with Colchester although the Addicks have had talks with him about a new deal.

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