Rocky defence, but all is not lost

GOALS will win us games has been Roy Keane's mantra during the summer as he went hunting strikers.

Derek Davis

Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 1

GOALS will win us games has been Roy Keane's mantra during the summer as he went hunting strikers.

But if he persists with the defence he has he will need to sort them out swiftly.

There was an all too familiar tale for Town as sloppy defending cost them this match and the attackers could not convert the chances that fell their way.

In a thoroughly entertaining encounter for the neutral, Ipswich failed to get the point they possibly deserved for all their second half endeavours.

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Jon Walters, who had pulled one back for the Blues, was denied by some terrific goalkeeping by Kieren Westwood, as was Jamie Peters, as the Blues played some bright enterprising football but not find the equaliser.

The damage had been done in 24 calamitous first half minutes when Clinton Morrison twice unlocked the Blues back line and as good as both finishes were, Ipswich will squirm at the video.

Of course the disappointment will be palpable but there were many encouraging signs and a win at home against Leicester, couple with a bright performance, will renew the high hopes Town fans rightly have for this campaign.

The supporters were in buoyant mood pre-match, you could say they were in seventh heaven after Colchester's result at Norwich and were in good voice.

Wearing black armbands the players stood around the centre circle for the minute's applause as a mark of respect for Sir Bobby Robson.

The Town fans chanted 'only one Bobby Robson' and the City fabs joined in as the clapping started well before the referee blew his whistle in another moving tribute to the much respected man.

New signings Damein Delaney and Lee Martin started while Tamas Priskin and Jack Colback were on the bench with Colin Healy serving a one match ban.

Stead spearheaded Ipswich's three-pronged attack with Walters and Martin either side and Peters, along with Trotter in support and Norris sitting deep.

Town instantly threatened and Peters almost burst through and won a corner that was headed over.

Both managers decided attack was the best form of defence only Coventry did it better early on.

Patrick Van Aanholt, an 18-year-old debut make on loan from Chelsea, got past Alex Bruce dearly on but fluffed the return by Michael McIndoe. Leon Best then got away from Damien Delaney and picked out McIndoe but his return ball was cleared by Liam Trotter.

For all the intricate play it was it was a simple ball long clearance from keeper Keiren Westwood that did the defence. Richard Wright was caught in no man's land as Morrison controlled the ball on the edge of the Town area and turn sharply to dink the ball into the far corner, despite Norris trying to clear off the line.

City appeared to have a good case for a penalty when Bruce blocked a McIndoe effort with an arm but the referee waved the appeals away.

Ipswich failed to deal with a series of balls into the area when Isaac Osbourne got a cross back in from his right Morrison met it ahead of McAuley and his powerful header beat Wright.

'Keano, Kkeano what's the score?' taunted the Sky Blue faithful while the Town defence held an inquest into what went wrong.

Town responded in the best way possible way four minutes later when Lee Martin slipped a pass through for Walters who sped on and finished emphatically past Westwood.

Town again threatened with Martin high and wide after Stead work then turned a Bruce cross just around a post.

A few well chosen words from Keane saw the Blues return from their half-time break with renewed vigour and determination as they laid siege to the City goal.

Peters had a left foot drive deflected wide and moments later had another attempt well saved by Westwood for a corner.

Owen Garvan replaced Norris when he limped off gingerly and Keane then brought on new �1.7m signing Tamas Priskin and 16-year-old Conno Wickham.

Walters went close with a 20-yard effort then forced Westwood into making terrific tip over save from his dipping header.

Morrison then brilliantly cleared a Pim Balkestein header off the line and while the travelling 1,643 Town fans cried in unison for a hand ball the referee gave a foul the other way.

Wright made a good save to thwart former Norwich midfielder Sammy Clingan and even five added minutes at the end was not enough for the Blues as Coventry hung on for all three points and a dream start for them.