Patience required

Patience. Not something that sits easily with football supporters and runs out quicker than the proverbial freshly baked scones.A small group of Town supporters in the North Stand, ironically given the problems with standing during games, staged a sit-down protest, after this defeat which leaves Town without a win in five league encounters so far this season.

Patience. Not something that sits easily with football supporters and runs out quicker than the proverbial freshly baked scones.

A small group of Town supporters in the North Stand, ironically given the problems with standing during games, staged a sit-down protest, after this defeat which leaves Town without a win in five league encounters so far this season.

The same group had chanted obscenities towards the chairman while play was going on and were rightly booed by fellow fans.

Less than 50 vented their frustrations, out-numbered by stewards (standing) after the game, as they called on the board to be sacked. They were ignorant, no doubt, that they cannot be sacked and are all up for re-election at the end of the year after the share issue.


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The vast majority of Ipswich fans preferred instead to try and urge their side on during a second half fight-back, which raised hopes that the problems on the pitch were beginning to be resolved.

Certainly the midfield looked a lot more solid than of late with skipper Jim Magilton getting on the ball to good effect and it could easily have been Town going in front.

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Unfortunately the Blues can't find that elusive first goal and how Pablo Counago did not get a hat trick, only David James knows.

The England keeper brought off a fabulous save after great work by Alun Armstrong and the Spaniard wriggled clear to drive in an angled shot but James' used a strong left hand to block the effort.

His second save was reminiscent of the one he pulled off for England in the opposite stand at Portman Road 10 days ago, when he denied Croatia.

This time Counago got up well to head down a Tommy Miller cross from six yards but the 6'5'' keeper stuck out a long leg and the ball scooped up and over the bar.

His third save was a rush out and block affair in the second half when Counago latched onto a ball from substitute Darren Bent after good work from Miller. The Spaniard also went wide from 20 yards.

Drissa Diallo had a header from a Magilton free kick cleared off the line and Alun Armstrong won a brave header against James and was punched in the face for his trouble.The ball was cleared as it went goal-wards by Ian Pearce.

The referee did not seem interested in any penalty appeals either, nor when Matthew Kilgallon, on loan from Leeds United, tripped Armstrong in the box.

Neither side were hugely impressive; Town more than matched the Hammers for long periods and stand-in manager Trevor Brooking was understandably twitchy in the final 20 minutes after Jermaine Wright pulled one back for Ipswich.

The midfielder had replaced George Santos at half time after the Frenchman failed to find a rhythm with his passing despite doing good defensive work.

Wright offered more in the way of attacking options and got on the end of a Counago lay-off and his 20-yard shot took a deflection off a prone Kevin Horlock to loop past James.

While James was showing he is probably the best keeper England have at the moment, even though he is playing in Division One, Kelvin Davis had little to really trouble him.

The difference between the sides was in the finishing.

The Town defence did just about enough to contain the lively front three for the Hammers who will cause endless problems in this league, if they are not sold. But the two goals came from long range.

All three front men created a lot of space with their movement, constantly switching from one flank to the other or popping up in the middle.

Jermaine Defoe, a Manchester United target, cut in from the right before unleashing a terrific 25 yard left-footed shot on the run which beat Davis.

The Hammers had already had one goal ruled out for offside when Connolly got on the end of a Kilgallon cross.

There was still not much n the game and Town looked well capable of pulling things back but a killer goal two minutes after the break gave them too much of a deficit to over come.

The ball was played straight down the Town throat, Neil Mellor, on loan from Liverpool brought out a good save from Davis but Connolly showed his technical excellence by hooking in his volley from hip height.

Ian Westlake, making his first senior start for Town did very well, closing down quickly, putting in quick, accurate passes and came close to getting on the end of a cross and trying his luck from distance. He was replaced by Darren Bent whose luck is eluding him at the moment and fired over from 14 yards and wide from 20 yards.

But goals will come. It is about being patient, and being relaxed. Not easy for anyone when the bottom of Division One looms but anxiety, on and off the pitch, helps no-one.

There were enough encouraging signs in the defeat to look forward with a positive frame of mind, even if it is nearly two weeks before Town can attempt to get back on track. Until then – patience.

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