Town pass test but real exam to come

Ipswich Town 2 West Bromwich Albion 1FOR those that like a good old moan, Saturday was too hot - even for the fans, the football never reached any great heights, while the players made a few mistakes in front off just 7,189 fans.

Derek Davis

Ipswich Town 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

By Derek Davis

FOR those that like a good old moan, Saturday was too hot - even for the fans, the football never reached any great heights, while the players made a few mistakes in front off just 7,189 fans.

For the overly optimistic, Town beat a Premier League side, new boy Kevin Lisbie was awesome and scored the winner on his debut, Richard Wright was brilliant along Pim Balkestein and Gareth McAuley while Tommy Smith shone.

The reality is somewhere in the middle.

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Yes, it was hot and they beat a Premier League side, but it is July when both occurrences are common-place.

The result in itself means nothing, except it is always better to win than lose in anything, and the Baggies are behind in their preparations as there season doesn't start until a week after Town's.

While Ishmael Miller proved a handful for Town's defence, there were a number of encouraging signs, not least how Ipswich eventually got to grips with Albion's five-man midfield

Certainly Jim Magilton was not getting carried away, although quite right accentuated the positives.

He said: “Magilton said: “It was extreme conditions hot and muggy and the lads had to work extremely hard against a very good side, a Premier League side.

“It was good experience for our lads and shows the level we have to attain to get out of this division.

“The shape of side was good, but it was a sloppy first goal, probably Tommy's only mistake, overall I'm very pleased.

“It was a good result for us, even if it was two dubious decisions from the referee.

“It is about fitness, confidence and another stepping stone to August 9.”

The dubious decisions he refers to came from Suffolk official Mick Thorpe who looked anything but a homer - just ask Alan Lee - until he was generous in awarding Town a penalty a minute after Miller had put the Baggies, deservedly, in front.

Miller often got in past the centre-halves and Richard Wright blocked one shot with McAuley clearing before it rolled in.

The Baggies number nine got the goal he had threatened five minutes before the break when he swivelled 22-yards out and placed his left-footed shot in a top corner past Wright.

A minute later Town were awarded a soft penalty when an attempted clearance from Leon Barnett deflected off Albion skipper Jonathan Greening's hand.

The ever dependable Tommy Miller buried the spot kick by sending Dean Kiely the wrong way.

The heat seemed to get to Lee reacted angrily to Magilton after he slipped trying to get a pass from Veliche Shumulikoski .

Lee wasn't happy again when he felt he had been brought down unfairly by Paul Robinson but the officials judged the defender had won the ball.

Jon Walters had been given time off by manager Jim Magilton and was in the north-west to be with his wife who is about to give birth to their second child and not, as the rumourmongers persist in claiming, joining Stoke City.

Magilton experimented by playing teenager Tommy Smith with Gareth McAuley in central defence while Balkestein looked good going forward at left back.

Lisbie, signed form Colchester United in a £600,000 deal that could rise to £750,000, was introduced as a second half substitute and was involved in a super move along with Alan Quinn and Pablo Counago that deserved a goal. However, West Brom's new £3.25m signing Scott Carson saved low down.

Lisbie got off the mark with the winner in the dying moments when he refused to give up under a couple of challenges and found a composed finish to beat England hopeful Carson.

Albion offered little in the second half although Wright did well to turn away a Marek Cech shot after De-Heon Kim teed him up and the Town keeper punched clear from the corner.

Ipswich Town: R Wright; D Wright (Bruce, 78) Smith, McAuley, Balkestein (Harding, 68); Haynes (Peters, 77) Shumulikoski, Miller (Garvan, 64) Quinn (Trotter, 74); Counago (Bowditch, 74) Lee (Lisbie, 64).

Subs not used: Supple.

West Brom: Kiely (Carson, 46); Hoefkens, Barnett, Clements, Robinson; Morrison, Greening, Kim (Bednar, 78) Brunt (Worrall, 68); Miller (Moore, 46) Cech (MacDonald, 60). Subs: Daniels, Bednar, Pele, Beattie, Slusarski, Hodgkiss, Tininho, Dorrens, Alliyu.

Referee: Mick Thorpe (Suffolk) Attendance: 7,189