‘Third goal was a joke,’ slams Jewell

FUMING Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell slammed another dramatic collapse from his side – calling Reading’s late winner ‘a joke’ following a third successive 3-2 loss.

Just like at Nottingham Forest the week before, Ipswich led 2-1 going into the final five minutes only to concede goals in the 90th and 93rd minutes.

Town rode a first half storm to go in 0-0 at the break and then took the lead through Daryl Murphy’s 55th minute header.

And although Reading levelled in the 76th minute when Kaspars Gorkss headed in from a set-piece, Town got back in front two minutes later when Josh Carson’s shot deflected over the keeper.

Once again poor positioning, decision making and basic mistakes cost the nervy looking Blues though, with Alex Pearce heading home from a corner before Noel Hunt finished a counter-attack in stoppage-time.

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The Blues are now just a point above the Championship relegation zone following five straight defeats.

They have leaked 13 goals in the last four games alone and – with 33 conceded all season – now have the worst defensive record in the division.

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“They were the better team and we were a little fortunate to be in front, but at 2-1 you’re thinking ‘if we win this, we’ll turn the corner’,” said Jewell.

“We go and concede another from a set-piece though and then their third goal is unbelievable. We have a throw-in in their half and then the next thing you know it’s 3-2. It’s a joke goal and it costs us a point.

“We keep making mistakes and wrong decisions and in this division you get punished.

“We just haven’t got that mental strength or physicality, or whatever it is, to get results at the moment.

“Football is all about confidence and we just haven’t got any at the moment.

“Sick is the right word to describe how I’m feeling.”

He continued: “If there wasn’t mistakes in football every game would finish nil-nil, but people have got their man to mark and they didn’t basically.

“You just had the feeling they were going to score because that’s the way it is with us at the moment. We’re low on confidence.

“We should have seen the last two games out. If we were mentally tougher we would have got six points out of the last two games, but at the moment – because our confidence is so low – every time the ball goes in the box we’re nervous.”

Jewell ditched his diamond formation for the game, instead going for a more traditional 4-4-2. But with 10 minutes to go, at 2-1, he brought on Jimmy Bullard for striker Michael Chopra and went for a 4-5-1/4-3-3.

“We tried to play 4-3-3 and just shore it up a little bit, but we didn’t keep the ball and we didn’t pass the ball,” rued Jewell.

“Even so the goals we’ve given away haven’t come from that, they’ve come from people not marking.” Skipper Grant Leadbitter had much-improved game in a more withdrawn midfield role, but was forced off in the 87th minute with a groin injury.

“I had to put Reece (Wabara) in but we couldn’t hold on,” said Jewell, Wabara – forced to play out of position in midfield – losing possession before Reading scored their winner.

“Grant has got a nasty groin injury. I wouldn’t have thought he can play on Tuesday (at Burnley), he’s limped quite badly into the dressing room.”

Keeper David Stockdale (shoulder) and centre-back Ibrahima Sonko (hamstring) both missed the game through injury, with Jewell saying both are touch and go for Burnley.

“Sonko has only trained once with the first team (since recovering) so we’ll have to see how he comes through tomorrow and Monday.

“Stockdale did his shoulder on Monday afternoon in training. We don’t think it’s too serious, but we’re not sure if he’ll be okay for Tuesday. Richard (Wright) wasn’t to blame for the goals though.”

There was one positive note for Ipswich, with Daryl Murphy – playing for the first time since September – scoring one and making the other.

“Considering he was playing for the first time in a while I thought he did very well,” said Jewell. “His goal was great for him.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Evening Star for full match report and reaction.

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