Town get back on promotion track

AN embarrassed Red Devil may have been blown off course at Turf Moor but Ipswich used the ill-wind to get their promotion campaign back on track.

Derek Davis

AN embarrassed Red Devil may have been blown off course at Turf Moor but Ipswich used the ill-wind to get their promotion campaign back on track.

After losing their opening game at Portman Road last week, equalling the amount of home defeats all last season, Town got the away campaign off to an excellent start with this win at Burnley.

In complete contrast to last season when Town were robbed of victory by a refereeing decision, they rode their luck a little, defended stoutly and pounced when the chance came.

While the stricken soldier from the Parachute Regiment, dressed in a Burnley kit, waited to be rescued by firemen on top of the roof of the cricket end stand, Ipswich fought a rear-guard action with Richard Wright their saviour.

He made terrific tip over saves from Clarke Carlisle and Wade Elliott and was well positioned to deal with Chris Eagles who was the main thorn in Town's side.

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Just as the fireman were taking the parachutist complete with British Army flag down in their hydraulic cradle, Gareth McAuley knocked down a Tommy Miller corner and Liam Trotter was alert enough to pounce and drill the ball home through a crowded box.

Perhaps they were distracted by the kerfuffle but it was shoddy defending none the less.

The Clarets were again in disarray when Tommy Miller fed a ball out for Alan Lee whose cross was met by Kevin Lisbie but his header was saved by Brian 'The Beast' Jensen.

As Lisbie went to follow up Graham Alexander's attempted clearance went straight past his own goalkeeper and into the net.

Just as any hungry striker would Lisbie is claiming the goal as his own but the replays show Alexander inadvertently knocked the ball into his own net.

The records may show it as an own goal but you won't be able to take it away from the player in his own mind and that is now two in two league games since his £750,000 switch from neighbours Colchester United.

Such confidence going into the game at home against Wolves on Saturday is uplifting but Town won't be fooled into thinking they will be able to get away with what they did at Burnley.

Yes they worked hard, took the breaks when they came and might even have got a third before the unfortunate Steve Jordan presented Town with a definite own goal after nodding a Richard Naylor ball past Jensen.

The former Manchester City defender, who took Ben Thatcher's place at Eastlands, had never previously scored so now he is on minus one!

Jensen will be amazed to have conceded three goals, especially as he had so little else to do.

The Clarets' keeper denied Lee in a one-on-one situation and watched as Lee completely missed the ball crossed by Alex Bruce, who had earlier been linked with a move to Turf Moor.

The third goal also came against the run of play after Eagles' dazzling shot came off Wright who didn't know much about it and Paterson could not connect from close range.

Wright also saved at full stretch from Elliott and Stephen Caldwell rapped a header against a post but Town kept the clean sheet intact.

Having the evergreen Naylor at the heart of defence helped McAuley and the two captains were ably supported by Bruce and Thatcher at full backs.

Macedonian Veliche Shumulikoski was effective in the holding role, especially nullifying Robbie Blake's threat while Miller tried to get the play going.

The shaven-haired Walters worked without ever really making the impact he can and the threat of him leaving for Stoke remains hanging in the air.

Town still look better when they have the ball but the determination by the front men to do their bit in helping to defend was a good sign, although both Lee and Lisbie were fortunate that referee Tony Bates was not in a card giving mood after their robust off the ball actions.

It was by no means a perfect Town display but after not getting what they deserved at Turf Moor last year Magilton will be delighted they got the rub of the green this season and that the 'hard to beat' edict had sunk in.

It still meant Wright had more to do than he would have liked and it is still very early with no real indication as to what Magilton thinks is his best team.

With six new signings already and another two, possibly three, coming in before the window closes at the end of the month, there may still be more upheaval to come before Town can really settle into a rhythm.

Meanwhile picking up points on the road like this will be a confidence booster and, unlike the parachutist, they won't be left dangling on the edge of the play-off places come the end of the season.