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Coach Ellis ‘proud’ as Ipswich come so close to upsetting league leaders

PUBLISHED: 14:07 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:08 29 January 2018

Ipswich star Ryan Wilson battles the Nottingham defence. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ipswich star Ryan Wilson battles the Nottingham defence. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Pavel.Kricka@btinternet.com

NBL Division Two

Ipswich 97

Nottingham Hoods 103

Ipswich came within a whisker of a major upset when they hosted league leaders Nottingham on Saturday, writes Rob Schatten.

Ipswich's Bradley Potter takes a jump shot. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA Ipswich's Bradley Potter takes a jump shot. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

The visiting Hoods have lost just once all season, and came to Copleston looking for a third win of the season over an Ipswich team whom they had defeated by 56 points as recently as October.

But coach John Ellis’ side went off like a train through the first half, making an outstanding 67% of their first-half shots to lead by one at half time, 52-51.

The Hoods are not top of the league without reason, and clamped down on Ipswich’s offense in the third quarter, limiting the hosts to 13 points as the third quarter ended 73-65 to the visitors.

This was followed by two quick three-pointers from Luke Mitchell and scores for Janes Mestre early in the fourth quarter, and Ipswich were now 16 points adrift.

Rabi Rai breaks through the defence to score for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA Rabi Rai breaks through the defence to score for Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Following an Ipswich timeout, Colin Dockrell and Ben Winter keyed a 12-1 run for the hosts which brought them straight back into the game.

The rest of the game played out in staccato fashion with Ipswich forced to foul the Hoods and stop the clock.

Ellis’ men continued to shoot at a high percentage and took advantage of tenacious defence by Rabi Rai, Rory Winter and Ryan Wilson to edge within two at 95-97, but the Hoods were absolutely clinical at the free throw line, making 15 of 18 across the last three minutes to deny Ipswich the opportunity to tie the game up.

“It’s a very frustrating loss in the moment, but I think we have to be nothing but proud of how we played today,” said Ellis.

Ipswich's Ben Winter driving past the Nottingham defence. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA Ipswich's Ben Winter driving past the Nottingham defence. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

“We had a 60-second lapse in defensive effort that cost us about ten points, and that gave us a mountain to climb.

“I’m always saying I’m very proud of the resilience this group shows and our veterans are great leaders, but today was a prime example – that team floored us three months ago and today we almost came back for the upset of the season.”

Ipswich travel to the struggling London Pioneers on Sunday.

Ipswich Town defender Jonas Knudsen believes wins will come if the recent level of performances are replicated.

There was a sense a toxic atmosphere awaited manager Mick McCarthy as the Blues faced Cardiff following the weekend’s events at Norwich.

David McGoldrick is likely to miss the rest of the season after suffering a groin injury in training, raising the question of whether he has played his final game for Ipswich Town.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy felt his side were on the end of two harsh refereeing decisions in tonight’s 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff City.

Ipswich Town put in a much-improved display but were ultimately beaten 1-0 at home by Cardiff. Sports writer Andy Warren hands out his player grades.

Kenneth Zohore’s scrappy goal proved the difference in a much-improved performance from the Blues but Cardiff leave Portman Road with all three points,.

Kenneth Zohore’s scrappy goal proved the difference as Cardiff left Portman Road with three points, on a night where Ipswich Town put in a much-improved display in front of their home crowd.

Ipswich Town will be looking to put their East Anglian Derby heartbreak behind them when Cardiff City visit Portman Road.

We have assembled a group of Town fans to predict the outcome of Ipswich games and have their say on what’s going on at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he’s ready to start experimenting with his side now that a Championship play-off place looks out of reach.

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