Town fans witness soft FA Cup defeat

IPSWICH Town took over 3,300 fans to the south coast, and they were returning home this evening dejected after this FA Cup exit at the fourth round stage.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town took over 3,300 fans to the south coast, and they were returning home this evening dejected after this FA Cup exit at the fourth round stage.

League One Southampton made it four wins in four FA Cup contests against the Blues over the years.

It needed a goal out of the blue to give the home side the lead at St Mary's Stadium, but despite a spirited late revival Roy Keane's side were not at their for long periods of the game.

The Saints took the lead in the 32nd minute when full back Wayne Thomas crashed home a cracking goal from 25 yards.

They increased their tally in the 73rd minute after Town had lost the poise they showed in the opening period. Substitute Michail Antonio tapped the ball home after a free-kick had deflected off the Town wall and been half stopped by Arran Lee-Barrett.

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Ipswich had the ball in the net just after the interval with the 'goal' strangely being ruled out by the referee. It proved a controversial decision with Town making their protests known.

More so after substitute Pablo Counago placed home a consolation goal as the game entered five minutes of lively stoppage time.

Town made one change from the side that beat Coventry City 3-2 last week. Edwards came off the bench to play on the right side of midfield taking the place of Norris, who is still on his way back to 100% fitness after a lengthy injury lay-off.

Norris is set to be involved from the start in Tuesday's home Championship game against West Brom. With Stead available after serving his four-game ban on Tuesday, John and Walters continued their partnership up front with Coventry hero Counago joined on the bench by Priskin, who earned a recall to the squad with a positive performance for the reserves in midweek.

Wickham was left out of the squad, and there was no place again for Bruce or Quinn.

The Saints from League One included striker Barnard who was signed from Southend yesterday, and he formed a front partnership with the free-scoring Lambert.

The home team had three ex-Ipswich players in their squad, skipper Davis, Harding and Bialkowski. Harding had been an ever-present up to last Wednesday's cup win at MK Dons, but was on the bench after recovering from a virus.

Coach Foley helped to warm up the substitutes prior to kick-off having taken charge of the reserves on Wednesday following the departure of Klug. Other Town coaches Loughlan, McParland and Gomez were also on the pitch pre-match.

Town had over 3,000 fans supporting them on the south coast, and they made their presence felt as kick-off approached. The visitors attacked the end where their fans were congregated in the opening period.

Ipswich were close to a second minute lead when Leadbitter's low shot following a free-kick took a deflection and struck the legs of keeper Davis on the goal line.

Davis came 20 yards outside his area to just get to the ball ahead of Leadbitter as the game began at a lively pace and Garvan taking Norris' normal role beside Leadbitter in the centre of midfield.

In the 11th minute Town messed up a short corner and the ball zoomed up the other end of the field for Barnard to have a free 16 yard shot that was straight at Lee-Barrett.

Lee-Barrett then collected a low drive by Lallana as the Saints created danger again. Davis stretched to claw away a Delaney header at the top corner of the goal in the 14th minute after a right-wing corner.

In the 32nd minute the home side took the lead with a magnificent 25 yard angled drive by right back Thomas that flew into the top right corner of Lee-Barrett's goal. It was an unstoppable effort that came at a time when Town were exerting their authority and after McAulay headed a cross from the left out of the area.

Ipswich hit back roared on by their fans, and McAuley's climbed well to head goalwards with Davis saving above his head.

In the 49th minute Ipswich had the ball in the net when substitute Counago appeared to touch a long throw across Davis and into the net. The referee was adamant there had been an offence and despite Town protests gave a Southampton kick in the six-yard box.

This was presumably because he didn't think the ball had been touched following the throw - or it may have been handball or a foul. Whatever, it was an unlucky Town break.

Lee-Barrett saved from Thomas at the near post following Saints' first corner in the 56th minute before Priskin came on to join Counago up front. Leadbitter was wearing the captain's armband following Walters' departure.

Delaney did well to head over his own bar as Lambert waited to provide the finishing touch from close in after the ball had looped over Lee Barrett in the 64th minute. Thomas then headed just over from five yards with Town now on the back foot.

Town had lost their authority and their rhythm this half, and it was no surprise when substitute Antonio tapped the Saints further ahead in the 73rd minute. He couldn't miss after a low free-kick had been deflected off the Town wall to be blocked by Lee-Barrett before rolling free.

Ipswich huffed and puffed after this but did not manufacture a decent chance until the 90th minute when Martin put Counago through to slide the ball low into the corner of the goal.

Rosenior fired over when well placed deep into injury with Leadbitter booked for making his feelings know to the referee at the final whistle over the ruling out of a Town goal just after the break.

Teams

Southampton: Davis; Thomas, Perry, Jaidi, Mills; Lallana, James (sub Gillett 69 mins), Wotton (Lancashire 87), Holmes; Lambert, Barnard (Antonio 69). Substitutes: Bialkowski, Harding, N'Diaye, Saganowski.

Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett; Rosenior McAuley, Delaney, Peters; Edwards (Martin 65), Leadbitter, Garvan, Colback; Walters (Counago 46), John (Priskin 57). Substitutes: McLoughlin, Balkestein, Wright, Norris.

Referee: Mr A Hall (West Midlands)

Attendance: 20,446 (3,341 Ipswich).

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