Rock-bottom Town have got to improve

THINGS can only get better or, more pertinently, things have to get better.Rock bottom, without a point in three games, and not really looking as if they can hurt teams like Leicester, who before Saturday had not scored never mind picked up a point, the situation looks bleak.

By Derek Davis

THINGS can only get better or, more pertinently, things have to get better.

Rock bottom, without a point in three games, and not really looking as if they can hurt teams like Leicester, who before Saturday had not scored never mind picked up a point, the situation looks bleak.

The Foxes not only took their first three points but their first three goals against an Ipswich side who just didn't look like they had the stomach for a good game of football, never mind a fight.

Their third defeat in a row is their worst start to a league campaign for 50 years but those of you who love positive omens will be cheered to learn that in 1956, after losing away at Torquay and Bournemouth and at home to Millwall, the Blues beat Bournemouth at Portman Road and went on to win the title and promotion from Division Three South.

It was also the last season that they played Colchester United in the league.

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So there is hope with history, but for Jim Magilton to repeat the feat of Sir Alf Ramsey he needs to see something far more tangible from his players.

Rhetoric is not enough. There is no point the players, to a man, welcoming Magilton as the manager with fine words. It is deeds that count in situations like this.

A lack of ability can just about be accepted, being beaten for effort and desire three games in a row is not.

Magilton has warned that if players don't start raising the bar, doing as he wants and showing in action, not talk, that they are fully behind him, then they will be out the door.

For his part, the Irishman perhaps needs to make some very tough and probably unpopular decisions, regarding a squad that contains many close friends.

The unpalatable truth is that a defence that has been suspect for years is being exposed as woefully inadequate and, as much as everyone loves Jason De Vos and Richard Naylor, there is clearly a problem there.

The lack of service for the forwards, and subsequent lack of goals, is another worrying aspect, as is the complete flatness of Ipswich's performance, especially in the early stages.

The arrival of Alex Bruce and Dan Harding has proved positive so far, and West Ham's Mark Noble will be a welcome addition but the 19-year-old should not be seen as a saviour.

Town once more performed the huddle before kick-off but it was Leicester who were cuddling eight minutes later when Patrick Kisnorbo stole in unmarked and unchallenged to head in a Danny Tiatto free-kick for the Foxes first goal of the season.

It was a bread and butter set piece that should have been dealt with by a defence drilled in positioning and who to pick up.

Just as worrying was City's second goal, when Dean Bowditch tried to help out at the back but his wayward clearance fell invitingly for an untroubled Stephen Hughes to pick his spot and shoot across Shane Supple inside the far post from the edge of the area.

City might have had another couple before Iain Hume again took advantage of some awful marking to beat Supple in a one-on-one.

Matty Fryatt, who had led Town a merry dance all afternoon, was ruled offside when he buried another inviting cross.

A word on referee Jon Moss, who was taking charge of only his second league game and his first at this level. He was excellent.

He dealt with a touchline bust-up between Magilton and the abrasive Foxes' assistant coach Mike Stowell brilliantly and constantly had quiet words with players as he kept the game going without ever losing control. The clash between former Wolves keeper Stowell and Magilton showed that at least these two cared and it was clear that the passion from Stowell had rubbed off on his players.

Only a last-gasp saving tackle by Harding denied Fryatt, who had pounced on another sloppy loose ball in the midfield.

Alex Bruce saved off the line from substitute Levi Porter, on for an injured Danny Tiatto who had pulled the Blues apart, so they were glad to see the back of him just before half-time.

The Blues fans who had negotiated their way via a closed A14 to the Walkers Stadium, with its lowest- ever attendance for a league match, had little to cheer about but did their best.

Matt Richards latched on to a poorly cleared Bowditch header and lashed the ball left-footed from 30-yards, beating the keeper with a cruel deflection.

Town had certainly given the impression that they were going to go for Leicester's throat, with Darren Currie back in the starting line-up in place of Jaime Peters, while Alan Lee was up front with Nicky Forster and Bowditch playing wide left.

Currie hit the outside of a post with a terrific dipping free-kick but, some decent deliveries from corners apart, that was pretty much it in the first half as the Foxes went galloping at Town.

Sam Parkin came on for Forster and caused City's defence some problems with his robust style and might even have had a penalty when Kisnorbo blocked a header with his hand.

Just when things looked as if they couldn't get any worse, the Blues went to three at the back for a final push. But that worked against them, with City breaking and Hume scoring with the last kick of the game.

For rock bottom Blues the only way now is up, anything else does not bear thinking about.

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