Town see out New Year in defeat

JIM Magilton's Ipswich ended the year as they started the season - with a defeat.The anticipation and hope of success under a new regime has been blunted over the intervening months and blighted by inconsistency.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton's Ipswich ended the year as they started the season - with a defeat.

The anticipation and hope of success under a new regime has been blunted over the intervening months and blighted by inconsistency.

Just when you think things may be on the up something comes along and dents the confidence and the optimism.

After winning at Coventry the Blues went to West Brom in an upbeat mood, tinged with some trepidation.

But they showed no fear and indeed for large tracts of the first half had the edge over a lethargic looking Baggies.

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For all their possession though Town rarely looked dangerous in the final third and two things altered the course of the game.

Firstly Tony Mowbray tweaked his side by putting Senegalese international Diomansy Kamara wide right and exploited Town's defensive heel, which has been the right back slot.

Secondly referee Clive Penton produced a shocking change of mind to award West Brom a penalty.

Kamara had got the better of Bruce near the corner flag and crossed from near the bye-line.

Sylvain Legwinski blocked from close range and the ball hit his hand and went out for a corner, which Penton initially signalled for.

But the roar of the crowd and the appeals of the Albion players forced him to change his mind and award a penalty.

It is doubtful given Penton's position that he would have seen a handball and clearly gave it without realising it was ball to hand.

Penton had earlier denied Ipswich claims for a penalty when Martin Albrechtsen grappled Gary Roberts to the ground and was also the official who controversially booked six Town players at Southend in October, which earned the club a fine.

It is unlikely that Magilton will ever want the Sussex official in charge of a Town game again and who can blame him?

Magilton made his feelings about the official's decision clear but also

He said: “It was a shocking decision and said it was deliberate hand ball but there was no way Sylvain could get out of the way.

“While it was nil-nil I was very comfortable. For half an hour we controlled the game but lacked the killer touch. For al our possession we didn't create enough.

“But to come to West Brom and play as we did was good.

“The second goal was outstanding but it was the first goal that changed the game.”

That lack of cutting edge was apparent when Macken and Roberts squandered decent early chances.

Owen Garvan did put the ball in the net but was so far offside even the officials could not get that wrong.

Billy Clarke and Danny Haynes livened things up a little for Town with the latter failing to finish from six yards but on the whole it was a case of battening down the hatches for Town.

Lewis Price saved Kamara's spot kick but neither he nor any of his defenders could prevent the Parisian from following up and netting his sixth gaol in nine games.

Price had made an outstanding string of saves, including one from his own skipper Jason de Vos who almost headed in a corner.

The outstanding Jason Koumas was denied by a brilliant full stretch save in the first half when Price tipped a thunderous shot onto the crossbar and over but the ref even got that wrong and gave a goal kick.

The Wales international stood up well to late Kamara effort and twice forced Kevin Phillips away from goal when the former England striker was clean through and could not finish.

When he was beaten again it was from an unstoppable 25-yard scorcher from his Wales team-mate Koumas after Kamara again cut in from the left flank.

Baggies boss Tony Mowbray had some sympathy for his former club but

“Teams are only as good as your strikers and we have strikers who can score wonder goals which is important when you are not playing as fluently as you can do.

“We pushed Kamara into an area where he can do more damage and it worked.

“Ipswich made it difficult for us for long spells of the game but they never really hurt us and we had the quality to come back.

“Ipswich will feel a bit hard done by but referees have a difficult job to do and you can only hoe those decision even themselves out over a season.”

Perhaps Town will get a soft penalty today and start the New Year with a victory.

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