Lack of confidence prevents us getting over the line, says Jewell

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell admitted a lack of confidence prevented his side holding onto a two-goal home lead against Blackpool today – the Blues drawing an end-to-end encounter 2-2.

A Town side – whose average age was just under 25 due to a host of injuries – dominated for the opening hour and were good value for their two-goal lead through an Angel Martinez own goal (9) and Tommy Smith header (60).

The home team, full of players with little first team action to their name this season, understandably tired as the game went on though.

And with Jason Scotland and winger Josh Carson both going off with tight hamstrings, Blackpool took advantage by introducing fresh legs.

Veteran sub Kevin Phillips – so often the nemesis of Town over the years – nodded down for Elliot Grandin to equalise (65), before cooly finishing off a rapid counter-attack (80).

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With Town have now dropped 15 points from winning positions this season, Jewell said: “A team full of confidence wins the game when they’re 2-0 up, we were the better team right up until they scored but then the doubts set in again.

“Suddenly, with 10 minutes to go, you’re thinking ‘we could lose this’. As it turned out we could have won it too.

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“Their second goal comes when we concede a free-kick in their half, we switch off when they take it quickly and (Kevin) Phillips does what he’s doing all his career - peeling off and scoring goals.

“One long ball seemed to get in behind us too often. We’ve defended high, we’ve defended deep – but the bottom line is we’re just defending badly. That’s why we’ve got the worst defensive record in the league.

“When Ipswich score against you, opponents will always think they’ve got a chance having seen our record. We’ve got to improve on that.

“We just can’t get over the line at the moment. I’m really sick that we haven’t won the game.”

When put to him that Lee Martin looked distraught following his bad stoppage-time miss, Jewell quipped, in a deadpan manner: “So was I.

“You can’t question the players’ efforts though. I think there’s been only one game this season – Burnley away – when some of us threw the white towel in.

“In most of the games we’ve been beaten I haven’t been able to fault the players’ efforts.

“I thought the crowd’s reaction for the them at half-time and even coming off at the end was terrific.”

And when it was put to him that the average age of his side was just under 25, Jewell joked: “I know, I looked at the team this morning and thought it’s gone from ‘Dad’s Army’ to ‘Spotty Army’!”

– For match analysis and further reaction, see Monday’s EADT and Evening Star.

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