Date: 24th January 2016 at 4:45pm
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This was a hugely disappointing result and resting all his best players in the midweek cup replay did Mick McCarthy no favours at all here.

In truth, this was never going to be blues day. Two wonder goals, an unfortunate sending off and some very inconsistent refereeing decisions all conspired against the blues, who fell to their first defeat away from home in eight games.

Town started brightly enough and had a few half chances with Daryl Murphy and Freddie Sears going close before Birmingham eventually took the lead.

The goal when it came after 23 minutes, was as a result of Town not being able to clear their lines. The ball bobbled around in the penalty box like a pinball and after Gerken had managed to block a close range shot at point blank range, the rebound fell kindly to debutante Will Buckley who tapped home.

How many times this season have we leaked goals in this way? Before the ball found the back of the net, we had a number of opportunities to clear but we failed to do so and this sadly is a reoccurring theme with the blues defence these days.

Then to add insult to injury Jonathan Douglas was red-carded before the break, when he dived in for a ball which had run away from him and caught Buckley on the shins with a challenge that was deemed to be dangerous, as his studs were showing.

It was at best a dubious sending off. Some ref’s give them some refs don’t but we got the ref that did! We also got the ref who was full of glaring inconsistency.

Birmingham could have had two players red carded too for challenges that were arguably worst than the one by Douglas but the home side escaped without either even getting a booking!

As Town pressed in the second period and were starting to dominate possession, a bolt from the blue ended any Town hopes.

The ball fell to a Birmingham player on the edge of the box and Toral smashed an unstoppable volley past Gerken from around 25 yards that no keeper in the world could have saved. It has to go down as one of the best strikes of the season.

The third goal was also a bit of a gem – although captain Luke Chambers must take some of the blame for clearing the ball straight into the path of a Birmingham player. Any hopes of a Town revival were ended then and there, when Kieftenbeld made in 3-0 in the 70th minute with a stunning strike.

In fairness to Town, they continued to carve out openings and Ryan Fraser; who was arguably Town’s best player, had a couple a couple of late chances, which might have made the score line more respectable but this was not to be Town’s day.

Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich


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