Third time unlucky as Town lose again

ONCE again the Ipswich's Achilles' heel was cruelly exposed and for the third away game in a row lost to an injury-time goal.The Blues undeservedly went ahead through Gary Roberts just moments after Derby's Steve Howard had a headed goal disallowed in a one-sided first half.

By Derek Davis

ONCE again the Ipswich's Achilles' heel was cruelly exposed and for the third away game in a row lost to an injury-time goal.

The Blues undeservedly went ahead through Gary Roberts just moments after Derby's Steve Howard had a headed goal disallowed in a one-sided first half.

It was no surprise when the Rams went ahead through Howard early in the second half and it looked as if they would go on to seal their sixth win in a row when Simon Walton was sent off for Ipswich after a second booking.


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Town made them fight for it and it was not until time added on that the Rams battered their way to victory from another corner with Arturo Lupoli heading in.

Jon Macken paid the price for his petulance at Barnsley when he kicked out at bottles and the dug-out after being substituted - he lost his place to teenager Billy Clarke, who was ruled fit after knee and ankle injuries, which also meant a place on the bench for Danny Haynes.

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With Sylvain Legwinski suspended, Owen Garvan got his first start of the season as he returned to full fitness following a knee injury, shingles and a viral infection.

Derby's fine run of form since their 4-3 loss at Colchester has seen them win nine and draw two in 13, included five straight wins.

On the other hand Ipswich have struggled with wins against Southend, Luton and Norwich, their only bright spots in nine outings.

The Rams had a claim for a penalty turned down after just four minutes when the ball hit Jason De Vos's arm but the Canadian didn't know much about it.

Moments later they went close from a free kick with skipper Michael Johnson outwitting the Blues defence but his lob over Price also went over the bar.

Derby pinned the Blues back but Price and his defence just about coped and the goalkeeper was never in any real danger until Jon Stead, with three goals in three games, made him work on the half-hour with a low shot which Price smothered. He was also equal to a tame effort from Howard.

Seven minutes before half-time a Boertien cross was headed in by Howard but the referee's assistant flagged for a foul by the striker.

As County remonstrated and lost concentration, the Blues took full advantage.

From Price's free kick the ball was crossed by Matt Richards and Michael Johnson could only head clear as far as Roberts, who struck the ball superbly first time, also left-footed, from 25 yards to give Ipswich a shock lead.

It was their first effort on goal and totally against the run of play but that didn't bother the 839 travelling Blues fans who had made the trip and were non-stop in their vociferous support.

Such moments can change games and deflated Derby took time to recover their composure.

It was Ipswich who came out early in the second half looking stronger, although, again, they didn't put the Rams under serious pressure.

Derby finally got the equaliser they deserved and it came from a Morten Bisgaard corner.

Howard beat Naylor in the air and despite Harding's best efforts on the line, the ball bounced in off defender and into the roof of the net.

Then came Walton's dismissal for a second bookable offence. The on-loan Charlton midfielder had already been booked for stupidly kicking the ball away and saying something to the referee moments before half time when he compounded his foolishness with a rash, and unnecessary tackle from behind on Michael Johnson. The referee had no option but to show red.

Ipswich were put under the cosh even more and only a terrific one-handed save after a quick change of direction by Price denied Lupoli.

The on-loan Arsenal striker went close again with an angled shot and both he and Howard failed to get on the end of a low Stead cross, which ran across the face of goal.

Garvan had the chance to win it for Ipswich with a 19-yard free kick centre of goal but screwed his low shot wide.

But it was Lupoli, once a target for Town, who sealed Town's fate as they failed to deal with yet another corner and there were two Derby players fighting to get the final touch with Blues players statuesque.

Ipswich will now seek revenge as they entertain Burnley on Saturday just a couple of weeks after losing to a last-minute goal at Turf Moor.

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