Royle criticises 'childish' defending

JOE Royle blasted his side's childish defending after blowing a 2-1 half-time lead to concede three second-half goals against an in-form Wolves, writes Derek Davis.

JOE Royle blasted his side's childish defending after blowing a 2-1 half-time lead to concede three second-half goals against an in-form Wolves, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues boss was furious after his side switched off for the last 20 minutes of the game and blamed all three departments of the team for capitulating so badly.

He said: "Everything looked good for 60 minutes, they had had one shot and scored, then in the last 20 minutes they had three and scored.

"Some people just switched off and whereas the ball had stuck up front in the first half it then started coming back with alarming regularity.

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"We gave the ball away in midfield twice for their second-half goals and we defended like children. From being so right we went so wrong in all three departments."

Town twice led before throwing away the chance to go into the coveted play-off places. Instead it is Wolves who moved into the top six as their in-form attack exploited a Town defence that went AWOL in the second half.

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Marcus Bent put Town ahead after just 104 seconds but Kenny Miller notched the first of his two to equalise in the 11th minute after Andy Marshall failed to hold Colin Cameron's initial 20-yard shot.

On the stroke of half-time Matt Holland celebrated his 300th Ipswich appearance by scoring a cracking 35-yard blockbuster after Jim Magilton rolled a free-kick to him.

After the recent downbeat couple of weeks it seemed a perfect tonic and the Blues' second-highest crowd of the season at 27,700 were buzzing.

But Wolves striker Miller snatched his second to take his tally to eight goals in six games after George Ndah beat the offside trap and Town were struggling.

Then Lee Naylor chose this game to record his first goal in two seasons with a spectacular 25-yard volley after a corner was cleared only as far as the defender.

Ndah sealed victory for the visitors, latching onto Cameron's through ball and cooly rounding Marshall before slotting the ball into an empty net.

It was Town's first home defeat in the league since going down to Rotherham in early December and while it was a cruel blow Royle vowed Town would still push on.

He said: "It is not a disaster, just a massive set-back. We had five minutes in the dressing room saying what had to be said but that is done now. We have to now focus on the game against Grimsby which is another must-win. We still have 15 games to go so it is not over yet."

Wolves manager Dave Jones admitted his side rode their luck in the first half but in the end they won the war.

He said: "We didn't start too brightly and got away with a couple of things. They edged the first half and we have the second.

"We said before the game whoever won the midfield would go on and win the game. We won the personal battles all over the field and when we scored our second it deflated them.

"The best goal for me was the second equaliser. It was a top-drawer ball for Kenny Miller by Mark Kennedy. Lee Naylor's technique was superb and I thrilled for the lad."

Darren Ambrose went off with a knock but even the introduction of Pablo Counago, and later Martijn Reuser for Chris Makin could not inspire a come-back.

Town's predicament off the field attracted the predictable vultures with the directors' box so full of scouts and managers, including Everton's David Moyes, that Charlton boss Alan Curbishley and his assistant Mervyn Day watched from the press box.

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