Relief for Royle as Town claim win

WITH the first league win now under his belt, Blues boss Joe Royle believes the release of the enormous pressure will help Ipswich Town soar back towards the happier end of Division One, writes Derek Davis.

WITH the first league win now under his belt, Blues boss Joe Royle believes the release of the enormous pressure will help Ipswich Town soar back towards the happier end of Division One, writes Derek Davis.

Goals from Alun Armstrong and Darren Bent, with a Walsall equaliser by Gary Birch squeezed in between, took Town off the bottom of the table and they now meet the new incumbents Wimbledon on Saturday.

Bent's second-half winner was akin to a huge relief valve being opened and a wave of optimism swept Portman Road.

Royle admitted: "Darren needed that goal and he took it well. The pressure is off a bit and we can relax a bit now we have won a game.


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"We have played well in the circumstances under the weight of not winning a game before tonight so they did well.

"Hopefully the pressure released in this place will help us settle down. We will do an awful lot better."

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Royle praised loan boy Alan Mahon, Georges Santos and skipper Jim Magilton on a night when there were plenty of heroes.

He said: "We got glimpses of what Alan Mahon can do and he has such enthusiasm and such talent and we have only seen the tip of iceberg.

"Georges Santos was arguably man of the match but Richard Naylor was unfortunate not to play."

But he reserved special praise for the Portman Road crowd, down in numbers, but not in passion.

He said: "The stars on the night were the fans, who were fantastic to us from the first minute to the last.

"They were determined there would be no cynicism and stayed with us."

The Blues boss admitted it was nervy at times, especially when Walsall equalised. He added: "Realistically over the 90 minutes we have had 18 attempts on goal.

"It was a tricky game, as they came to keep the ball and the two old-stagers, Merson and Samways, if given room will hurt you and they frustrated us for a while.

"We got the goal but conceded another from a free-kick which was frustrating and the person who should have been marking him knows."

There could have been even more goals in the end but Town will settle for the win.

He said: "Pablo (Counago) must think there is curse in that six-yard box and he might have had a hat-trick when he came on."

Saddlers boss Colin Lee had no complaints about the penalty.

He admitted: "I have not had any serious complaints from the players, which would indicate the linesman got it right.

"That was a big improvement on our performance on Saturday but I'm not happy with their winner.

"We played with three centre-halves and you would expect one of them to get in there and stop him.

"It was a fairly even game and we had the better of the first half. Ipswich changed things a little in the second half but we were about to change that then Gary Birch got injured.

"Their keeper made a great save from Darren Wrack and if that had gone in we would be talking about a Walsall win."

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