Reaction: Mick McCarthy says two ‘bombshell’ goals and a ‘harsh’ red card was his team’s undoing in 3-0 defeat at Birmingham

Jonathan Douglas is shown a straight red card at Birmingham during the first half

Jonathan Douglas is shown a straight red card at Birmingham during the first half

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy said two ‘bombshell’ goals killed his spirited team off following what he believed was a ‘harsh’ red card to Jonathan Douglas in today’s 3-0 defeat at Birmingham City.

The Blues gave as good as they got in an even first half but were left facing an uphill battle following Will Buckley’s 23rd minute goal and Douglas’ dismissal for a lunging challenge seconds before the break.

The 10-man visitors produced a spirited second half display and had the better goalscoring chances, but they were dealt body blows in the 54th and 70th minutes as Jon Toral and Maikel Kieftenbeld netted with fine volleys from outside the area.

“I thought the game was fairly even up until the sending off, I wasn’t unhappy, then that changed things,” said McCarthy. “I think the tackle looked worse than it was – I don’t think it’s a sending off.

“He (referee Michael Bull) said he (Douglas) jumped in with two feet. He didn’t. I know he went in with his foot high, but he almost pulled out of it. I don’t think he made any contact. It looked worse than it was. I think it was harsh.

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“Will Buckley had a tackle on our left-back in the first half. I don’t want him sent-off, but I don’t see the justice in the two of them (not being treated the same). Then Ryan Fraser gets kicked in the head on the edge of the box towards the end. It’s not a penalty, but wow it’s a free-kick.”

McCarthy continued: “I thought we were great in the second half, I thought we were brilliant, we had some great chances but we’ve been outdone by two complete and utter bombshells.

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“There’s not a lot we can do about the shots. They don’t come very often in the season and unfortunately two have come against us today,

“It’s an even game, the sending off changes it and then 3-0 makes it look like we’ve been slapped when we haven’t. Even with 10 men we weren’t slapped.”

With homesick Australian winger Tommy Oar having had his contract cancelled yesterday, McCarthy was asked if that meant his plans for the January transfer window had changed.

He replied: “Not really, no. Larsen (Toure) is back and fit, Tabby (Jay Tabb) is here too. I have to say, Tabby is not Tommy Oar in terms of what he can do, but in fairness Tabby has been more successful on the left than Tommy Oar was while he was here – he didn’t rip it up. I’m disappointed he didn’t see it out, but, do you know what, if somebody is unhappy, is finding it hard and wants to leave, then in my book what’s the point in trying to keep him? Thankfully we didn’t pay a million for him, but there aren’t many of them in the team!”

Birmingham boss Gary Rowett said afterwards that he wanted to strengthen his squad from a position of strength. Does that not apply to Ipswich?

“If we could, we would. It all depends on who’s available,” replied McCarthy. “I don’t know if Gary has got lucky today with being able to put (recent Sunderland loanee) Will Buckley straight in the team (due to Jacques Maghoma being ill). It’s sod’s law that someone scores on their debut against you. That seems to have happened a lot against us.

“If you sign someone like that, keep winning and they don’t get in the team then that’s also a dilemma (with loan players).”

Having just signed a new contract until 2018 this week, will McCarthy remain focussed on the bigger picture following a week which also included the 2-1 loss at League Two side Portsmouth in the FA Cup?

“There’s no doubt I will,” he said. “I’m not coming away from here thinking we were dreadful and not competitive. In fact it was quite the opposite.

“We’ve had a bad result today, but the performance was good and things are going well for us. The support today was fabulous.

“There are 18 games to play. We’ve all had ups and downs. It was Birmingham’s day today, it will be our day another day.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for comment and analysis.

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