It was business as usual at home again with Town running out comfortable winners in the end in a match perhaps spoiled by the sending off of Leicester man Patrick Kisnorbo. The game took a few turns but on the whole Ipswich will feel that this was a deserved win. Danny Haynes had a rare start, and with Pablo Counago, Alan Lee and Jon Walters all in from the kick off, we looked quite threatening on paper at least. Another unfamiliar face these days was Sito who was in ahead of Dan Harding. Although we started the match with obvious intent, our passing and running was not producing much in front of goal. Leicester showed little to break down our building momentum though, and after less than 20 minutes we were ahead after some excellent persistence from Danny Haynes out on the right. He paused on the edge of the box with the full attention of a defender who obviously did not expect him to then burst forward once again after his tap forward. Haynes crossed just before the ball reached the by-line and Pablo met it 10 yards out at the near post, his first touch chipping the ball up and forward, setting up a great volley for himself which sailed past the keeper. We had a penalty shout turned down for a very obvious to all except the ref hand ball in the box a short while after, and we were left bemoaning this just a few minutes later when the Foxes equalised. Neil Alexander cleared a ball up to the midfield which was headed back in his direction, but as Iain Hume picked the ball up in a central position and decided to follow it goalwards, our defence thought better of it. While they tracked him at closeish quarters it was soon obvious that it wasn't close enough as he looked up and shot from 25 yards, his effort dipping nicely beyond the exposed Alexander and into the net. Frustrating stuff to watch. You could argue that it had been against the run of play, it was just about Leicester's first real attempt on goal, but after this their tails were up, but thankfully only briefly. We settled again quite soon and were passing well, Pablo and Jon Walters coming very close to scoring before the most controversial moment of the game 10 minutes before half time. As Pablo raced forward into the box with the ball, Kisnorbo challenged on the edge of the box and Pablo went down, but it must be said not in "Pablo fashion", he just went down and didn't really have that "hey ref!" look on his face. The ref briefly pointed for a corner, then, spotting the lino flagging like crazy he consulted him and awarded a penalty. At the time I must admit I thought it was a pen, but having seen the replay I can't make my mind up 100%. However, the red card the ref produced for Kisnorbo looked harsh at the time, and even more so on replay. The ref agreed and rescinded it later. Lee dispatched a far better penalty than we saw at Charlton, and we were ahead again. Although we came close to adding another, that was pretty much it until half time. After the break, we were very much the better side, not needing to soak up much from Leicester who were under par, perhaps understandably with only ten men. As a 3rd goal looked almost inevitable, Town looked slightly more at ease, and after almost 65 minutes we got the goal to relax us in the stands. David Wright was making use of some regular gaping holes on the right and surged forward, sending in a cross which Pablo got a head to. The ball travelled on to the far post where Jon Walters crashed it into the net from a few yards. It was frustrating that we never really made use of the chances that came our way from this point, another high scoring game might've been possible, but Town remained professional and would not let the Foxes back into the game. We saw Liam Trotter get another run out and Billy Clarke too, the pair combining at one point when Clarke looped a forward ball to Trotter on the left, who confidently crossed to Pablo close to goal but his shot was saved. All in all an enjoyable game if not the most free flowing or spectacular. A wins a win and all that, and on balance the points deserved to come Town's way.
Neither team were exactly in form going into this fixture, Town away from home are at best average, and Charlton were putting together a poor home run of their own, having won only once in their last 6. This game had draw written all over it, but turned out to be anything but with Charlton making easy work of killing the game in the first half. Town lined up with only a couple of changes despite various bouts of flu in the camp, Fabian Wilnis started with Alex Bruce dropping out altogether, and Gavin Williams was once again preferred in midfield. Tommy Miller made a comeback as Sylvain Legwinski was not fit to play any part. The formation was the much maligned 4-5-1 which has seen little success so far for Town, meaning Pablo dropped to the bench. Charlton got off to the perfect start by scoring within the first few minutes, and to rub salt into the wounds, it was a couple of former Tractor Boys who combined to set the home side on the way to victory. Matt Holland sent in a cross from the right which Darren Ambrose headed in at the back post. Easy stuff for them and sloppy from us. Town were struggling to keep up, or wake up as Charlton worked hard at increasing their lead, and it was probably surprising that it took another half an hour for the second to come. The goal was from a corner and should have been claimed or at least cleared by Neil Alexander, but the ball found its way through to Iwelumo who couldn't have missed from all of less than a foot. Poor again. This triggered Jim Magilton to change the formation to 4-4-2, bringing on Pablo Counago for Gavin Williams. This certainly proved to be a positive mood for Town who at last seemed to be able to at least threaten to be a threat. It would get worse before it got better though, and the tally at half time was 3 nil as a long ball was ignored by the Town defence but picked up by Charlton, the ball being passed out to Ambrose who rifled home again. After the halftime break Jim had obviously given out a few rollickings and he made his final two substitutions, removing Dan Harding and Gary Roberts and bringing on Danny Haynes and a stranger to the side this season, Sito. The changes certainly had the desired affect, and Town looked sharper and pushed Charlton as they should have done from the start of the match. Just as Charlton had a dream start in the first half, it seemed Town would do exactly the same when Pablo Counago won a penalty just a couple of minutes in. Alan Lee stepped up but conjured a pathetic spot kick which was comfortably saved. Heads didn't drop though and we continued to push, Town now very much the side on top of the match in all but goals. We had shots against the woodwork, near misses and blocked efforts but the goal would not come, and as the home side started to counter Town's new found rythm it looked as though we had missed our chance to get back into the match. We did however finally make a breakthrough. It was worth the wait. Haynes and Walters were both involved before Lee crossed into the box to Pablo, who feigned to go one way and went the other before sending a fantastic back heel shot into the corner from 10 yards out. It was a special goal and a shame that it ultimately earned us nothing. The hunt for a second goal came close on several occasions, Town played with style and were hungry to avenge the first half humiliation, but ultimately time ran out and our away woes continue to be a problem. The game had turned nasty late on and after the final whistle had gone, Alan Lee was floored by a punch from Jonathan Fortune who was duly sent off. Plenty of positives to take from the second half, but the first half outweighed it in terms of sheer incompetence. It was good to see Pablo put in a good display away from home, something that he'll hopefully be doing with some consistency.