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Warnock: Town fans were the 12th man

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

THE referee didn't notice, the fourth official didn't announce it on his electronic board but Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock appreciated the influence the extra man Ipswich Town introduced to swing the game – The Portman Road crowd.

THE referee didn't notice, the fourth official didn't announce it on his electronic board but Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock appreciated the influence the extra man Ipswich Town introduced to swing the game – The Portman Road crowd, writes Derek Davis.

While privately he will slaughter his players for throwing away a two-goal lead, he publicly praised Ipswich for their gutsy win.

He said: "I thought the crowd had a massive influence, they were magnificent, crikey.

"It was a cracking game with a great atmosphere.

"When you go down to 10 men, teams regroup and when the crowd are as they are, it makes it difficult for the officials. The crowd were very influential and quite right. I thought it was a brilliant effort from Ipswich as a club."

He was also fulsome in his praise of Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose and added: "When I could watch them I thought they were superb. They were that quick I couldn't see them half the time, they were like a blurred vision. It makes you wonder why Ipswich are where they are and not at the top of league when you see performances like that."

United are sitting pretty in third place while Town are ninth but Warnock believes they could well meet in the play-offs come May.

He said: "It is a super club here and, who knows, we may be here again this season.

"I'm distraught at losing that. Joe has to be delighted

"We have to go back to when we lost to Derby and Nottingham Forest in consecutive games but went on to win the next 15 so we need to put that sort of run together again now.

"We lost a game we should have won, even though anyone watching the second half would have seen Ipswich deserved it. We have to get over the disappointment and get on with things."

It looked all over when Dean Windass drilled in the Blades' second, but Ipswich had other ideas.

Warnock said: "Our second goal was the turning point. We thought that was the end of the game and you do that at your peril and hence we have missed a great opportunity to get nearer the automatic places and we have been punished.

"That is a lesson to our lads although you can't take away anything from the Ipswich lads. They played very well in midfield and up front in the second half and created a lot of problems."

Fabian Wilnis rampaged down the flank meant to be protected by on-loan Newcastle United defender Wayne Quinn, who eventually retired with a bad back. But substitute Richard Edghill fared little better against the flying Dutchman.

Warnock conceded: "They capitalised on the right side and scored some good goals. No complaints at all."


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