Where is it going to end?

AND so the atrocious away run continues.The most annoying thing about this defeat at the Ricoh Stadium, the first time City had beaten Ipswich in 13 years and two months, was this represented Town's best-ever chance of securing their first win on the road since March.

By Derek Davis

AND so the atrocious away run continues.

The most annoying thing about this defeat at the Ricoh Stadium, the first time City had beaten Ipswich in 13 years and two months, was this represented Town's best-ever chance of securing their first win on the road since March.

The omens before the match were stacked in Town's favour.

City had had not won in their past six home games, including a League Cup tie against West Ham, and the last team they beat at the Ricoh Stadium was Colchester back in October.

If Town were going to end their miserable run this was it and, quite frankly, now that they have failed against Coventry it is difficult to see where they are going to end the appalling run.

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To win just two matches away from home in 2007 is more than worrying - it is downright diabolical.

There can be no excuses for losing at Coventry either.

Town went behind to a Julian Gray goal after skipper Jason De Vos slipped up and was turned by his nemesis Dele Adebola.

But, not only did the Blues claw their way back into the game with a goal from Danny Haynes, they were so on top by half-time that there looked to be just one winner.

Surely, all they had to do was maintain their effort and tempo and Coventry, who were dreadful, would crumble.

Instead Ipswich came out of the dressing room after listening to manager Jim Magilton's team talk without any bounce.

Magilton was outfoxed by his best mate in football, Iain Dowie, who made two substitutions, Liam Davis during the break and five minutes later when he threw on Kevin Thornton.

They inspired City, especially Thornton with his penetrating runs and swift closing down borne mainly of desire.

That woke up the City crowd and the rest of the team started believing. A mistake by Chris Casement allowed Davis to burst through the midfield untouched and he played the ball to Adebola, who showed great poise and balance for such a big man and finished deftly.

Casement was making just his third appearance of the season after going on as a substitute in the 4-1 win over Coventry at Portman Road in September then starting in the 3-1 defeat at Hull a week later.

Dan Harding missed out, with the thigh injury picked up in the midweek loss at Leicester City not helping his cause, which meant David Wright moving to left-back and Casement on the right.

Fabian Wilnis was back at centre half with Alex Bruce not fit after straining an abductor muscle and Richard Naylor did not even travel despite a strong feeling on Friday morning that he would be involved.

Magilton decided against taking him to Coventry following training and said he preferred for him to have more games to build up match fitness first.

It was City who had the first sniff of a chance when De Vos hesitated and Michael Mifsud burst through but squandered the chance by hitting over the bar.

De Vos and Town were not so lucky the next time when Adebola, a Town target last season, skipped past De Vos and laid the ball across for Mifsud, whose shot was well saved by Neil Alexander, but Gray was on hand to knock in the follow up.

Town then fought back. Casement put in a low cross for Pablo Counago whose clever flick was cleared.

Seconds later David Wright hit a thunderous 35-yard shot which the impressive Andy Marshall tipped onto the crossbar. Haynes was the quickest to react and nodded in five minutes before the break.

Counago had a good chance with a header from a Haynes cross but Marshall tipped over the bar.

Ipswich had a good claim for a penalty when Arjan de Zeeuw appeared to trip Alan Lee from behind but referee Iain Williamson was well placed and waved it away.

Town looked for all the world that they would go on and win but instead it was City who came out in the second half with more purpose and amazingly given the way the half had ended - belief.

Casement cleared off the line and Alexander had to be alert whereas at the other end Marshall had virtually nothing to do in the second half.

At 2-1 down Magilton took off leading scorer Counago for midfielder Gavin Williams and later took off the woefully out-of-form Lee for the lively Jordan Rhodes.

But it was not enough and Town slumped to their 17th away game on the bounce without a win, and their seventh defeat on the road in a row.

Town's bad end to the year was compounded when Tommy Miller was dismissed for a second yellow card, his first-ever sending off. It looked a harsh decision by the referee as the challenge was innocuous but the reaction from the crowd and City players may have influenced his decision.

Only Mansfield and Ipswich outside the Premiership have failed to win away and the League Two side are looking at slipping out of the league. Ipswich have been fortunate that their home results have seen them stay among the promotion contenders but once that starts to go then the wheels could come off big time.

With free-scoring league leaders West Brom at Portman Road tomorrow, the unbeaten run is in serious jeopardy and points dropped against the likes of Burnley and Barnsley doesn't bode well for Magilton's Town.

The manager faces a big month with the transfer window opening tomorrow. He will be under pressure to bring in new players and to turn things around away from home, while keeping the points rolling in at Portman Road.

Failure to do so could mean the lucrative new contact he has being disregarded by the moneybags new owner who, even from long distance, will be keeping a close eye on how his new toy is doing over the next few weeks.

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