Tales of delight and woe for ex-Town stars

IPSWICH Town’s season may have already long been over, but Saturday was make-or-break for several of their ex-players and current loanees.

The stories of delight outnumbered the tales of woe, and yet it was the latter group who were the more prominent.

Here are a selection of those hits and misses:

TALES OF WOE

JACK COLBACK: Having impressed during his loan spell at Portman Road, Colback came on as substitute for his Sunderland debut yesterday in the final Premier League match of the season at Wolves - and was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.

Sunderland lost 2-1. Manager Steve Bruce said: “I saw Jack’s first challenge and he didn’t touch him. His second was a bit naive but he is a young boy. I’ve got no complaints.”

NEIL WOODS: The ex-Town striker could not prevent Grimsby Town from suffering relegation into the Blue Square Premier, after a 99-year stay in the Football League. Woods was appointed Mariners manager last November, after a six-year stint as youth coach, with the Blundell Park club facing relegation straight in the face. A disastrous club record 25-game winless streak left Grimsby floundering with Darlington in the relegation zone, and yet they were given hope of survival by a late return to form. They needed to win at Burton Albion, and hope that rivals Barnet lost against Rochale. But the miracle never happened, with the Mariners well beaten 3-0. Woods, who scored five goals in 27 league appearances for Town between 1987 and ‘90, admitted: “We didn’t get relegated because of today, but because we were not good enough throughout the season.”

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COLIN HEALY: On loan at Falkirk since January, midfielder Healy could not prevent the Bairns from enduring relegation out of the Scottish Premier Division for the first time since 2005. Falkirk needed to win at lowly rivals Kilmarnock to save themselves on Saturday, but they could only manage a goalless draw. Healy, who was substituted after 75 minutes, scored once in 19 league appearances. The Irishman now returns to Portman Road, although he was only used sparingly by Roy Keane last season.

ALEX BRUCE: Unable to land a regular place in Roy Keane’s starting line-up, the experienced defender has landed on his feet at Leicester City, even though his loan stay at the Walkers Stadium has been disrupted by injury. Bruce was involved in yesterday’s Championship play-off first leg tie, which Leicester lost 1-0 at home to Cardiff.

That’s why he is in the “tale of woe” bracket, coupled with being denied an injury-time equaliser by the agility of Bluebirds keeper David Marshall.

STORIES OF DELIGHT

ED UPSON: The young midfielder has not been offered a new contract by Town, but he was in a good mood on Saturday night after helping Barnet to safeguard their Football League status. On loan with the Bees, Upson played his part in a 1-0 win over Rochdale.

KEVIN LISBIE: Seemingly surplus to requirements at Portman Road, the veteran front-runner was in-and-out of the Colchester United starting line-up throughout his season-long loan. And yet he still ended up as the U’s top scorer with 13 goals, after scoring his 13th with an injury-time winner from the penalty spot in Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Leyton Orient. Lisbie still has a year left on his contract at Town.

MATT RICHARDS: The former Town left-back rifled home a 20-yarder for his fourth goal of the season in Walsall’s 2-1 home win over MK Dons.

Richard’s strike helped the Saddlers to a final finish of 10th in League One.

LIAM TROTTER: A key member of Millwall’s promotion-seeking side, since his loan switch from Town in January, Trotter again caught the eye in a 3-2 win over Swindon Town. Both clubs will now contest the play-offs. Trotter has been one of the first names on Kenny Jackett’s team-sheet, rattling up 20 appearances and missing just a couple of games due to injury. Town have offered Trotter a new contract, but the 21-year-old will have no shortage of options.

MARCUS STEWART: The former Town veteran played the first 63 minutes of Exeter City’s vital 2-1 home win over Huddersfield, a result which kept the Grecians in League One. The 37-year-old has managed a couple of goals for the Devon club.