Our best this season, says Royle

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle insisted that Saturday's 3-2 triumph at Cardiff City, especially the first half display, was "the best we've played this season.

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle insisted that Saturday's 3-2 triumph at Cardiff City, especially the first half display, was "the best we've played this season."

Town had to cope with losing their skipper Jim Magilton to injury after only 27 minutes, and were also unlucky to concede a penalty in the second half, which left the door ajar for Cardiff, writes Carl Marston.

But they coped admirably with these setbacks, to make it 10 wins from their last 14 league games.

"I don't think anyone can deny that we deserved to win this game. We were so in control in the first half," explained Royle.


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"We switched off a little in the second half, but it was always going to be difficult here. That's only Cardiff's second defeat at home, and we have ended up scoring three goals away from home again.

"We could have also kept a clean-sheet. I don't know why they got their penalty.

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"Cardiff's second goal late on was only really a gesture. They didn't give us too many problems after that, and even their manager Lennie Lawrence admitted that the right team had won.

"There were lots of stars for us today. Everyone did well. Bart-Williams and Wright were outstanding in midfield, and our young players are coming on well. Westlake, Richards and Bent all worked relentlessly, and Kuqi again made strong runs for the team.

"For a team who couldn't score during the first six matches of the season (just four in those first six league games), we are now doing very well in front of goal," added Royle.

Georges Santos became the 15th different player to score for Ipswich this campaign, when he connected with Jermaine Wright's 33rd-minute corner. In fact, only Fabian Wilnis, of all the outfield players on display at Ninian Park, has failed to score for Town this season.

Ipswich have powered up the Division One table over the last three months.

They are now in the play-off zone, in fourth spot, but Royle does not want the momentum to stop here. "We are still playing catch-up in the table," insisted Royle.

He added: "The most pleasing thing about today was the result, not the performance. We are fourth, but we should be higher than that. We are still six points behind the leaders.

"We can improve our position. We can go higher still. It's not even Christmas yet, and I still expect us to be in the top two by the end of the season, especially when considered that today we were missing four senior players, and also lost Jim Magilton to injury.

"Jim (Magilton) has a gash on top of his foot. It is very swollen. It was a bad tackle, and Jim must be considered very doubtful for the match at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

"Of all those teams challenging at the top, I would say that we're the best, though I'm biased!"

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