Royle: Ref denied us chance of win

IAN Westlake edged Ipswich Town nearer the play-offs with a vital equaliser at Bramall Lane last night, writes Derek Davis.But Blues boss Joe Royle was livid that Town were denied a last-gasp penalty which might have made their path to a top-six finish that bit easier.

IAN Westlake edged Ipswich Town nearer the play-offs with a vital equaliser at Bramall Lane last night, writes Derek Davis.

But Blues boss Joe Royle was livid that Town were denied a last-gasp penalty which might have made their path to a top-six finish that bit easier.

Chris Morgan clearly handled in the area as Darren Bent tried to bring the ball under control, but rookie referee Eddie Ilderton ignored the pleas.

Royle also felt Ipswich should have had a penalty in the first half when the same defender used an elbow to clear the ball.

He said: “We are bitterly disappointed not to get a penalty in the last minute. I don't understand how the linesman stood just 15 yards away can't see that. We also should have had a penalty in the first half.”

The point leaves things finely poised in the play-off places and Royle is sure they will now need to win at home against Cardiff City next week to secure a top-six finish.

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He said: “One-one was fine. We still have to win the last game. I have said all along we would need four points and that has not changed. We would have settled for this position, especially after we were bottom after six games.”

Although the draw was probably enough, Royle was disappointed with the performance.

He said: “It was not a typical Ipswich performance. We were resolute and defended really well. As an attacking force we were non-existent in the first half.

“It is a hard place to come but some people were not firing on all cyclinders.

“We played our best stuff when we went behind and when it was all level I thought we were going to go on and win it, which we would have if that penalty had been given.”

The Sheffield United players went back on to the pitch after the game to do what can only described as a farewell and thank you lap of honour and Blades boss Neil Warnock admitted he felt their play-off hopes were ended because they are now reliant on unlikely results elsewhere.

He said: “You don't get the results that we need to go for us so I feel that is it for us.”

Warnock believed the draw was fair enough although his side would have won it but for Kelvin Davis. But he didn't see either of the penalty incidents.

He added: “It took two world-class saves for Ipswich to get a point. Overall the lads could not have given me more. If you let them play they are probably the best footballing team in the league, but we didn't let them play. They will be a threat but it will be an interesting week.”

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