DEJECTED Ipswich fans were today left to rue the torment of the play-offs after a night of heartbreak at Portman Road.More than 30,000 loyal Blues fans packed into the stadium to create a crescendo of noise in a passionate affair.
DEJECTED Ipswich fans were today left to rue the torment of the play-offs after a night of heartbreak at Portman Road.
More than 30,000 loyal Blues fans packed into the stadium to create a crescendo of noise in a passionate affair.
But despite the noise and the best efforts of the eleven heroes in blue, Town fell to yet more play-off misery.
The game had started so brightly for Ipswich as the supporters answered chairman David Sheepshanks' rallying battle cry to create an electric atmosphere.
Balloons, ticker tape and blue and white flags greeted the teams as they entered the arena.
However, Ipswich's promotion bubble was cruelly burst as a second half Bobby Zamora double ensured Town fell to their agonising sixth play-off failure in seven attempts.
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After a season that had promised so much, disconsolate supporters who had stuck by the team were left with only fading dreams of the Premiership.
It is the second year running that Alan Pardew's West Ham have knocked Ipswich out at this stage, but it was no easier to take for a partisan Portman Road.
And it was even harder to accept after The Hammers finished a whole 12 points behind Ipswich in the league.
Visiting fans taunted the home contingent with chants of "Top of the league and you mucked it up" along with regular reminders of who was going to Cardiff on May 30.
In the town centre, unofficial celebration parties in various bars and pubs were cancelled as gloomy supporters headed straight home.
Town fan Lisa Twigg said the night's game had left her "absolutely gutted".
She said: "How can we finish third and not go up? It's so unfair.
"We were top of the league at Christmas and everything looked so good.
"But despite tonight, it's still been a good season. We'll be back next year."
Fellow fan Ryan Corbyn said: "We've been questioning if the play-offs should still be used. I think they should scrap sixth place and send the team in third straight to the final.
"It's very hard to take when we were so far ahead of West Ham."
Tractor Boy Stephen Tait said: "If we had played well tonight we would have won - it's as simple as that. I was confident before the game because we had done the hard part."
Max Wilding added: "I am a bit disappointed with tonight but I really think we will be back up there again next season.
"We didn't perform tonight and we didn't make use of our home advantage.
"It's tough to accept though - we had 12 points more than them and a better goal difference but it counts for nothing at the end of the day."