Blues pay the penalty for rash challenge

ROLL UP, roll up, renew your faith in Ipswich Town right now.This has to be the message to Blues fans on the day details of 2006/7 season tickets are being announced.

By Elvin King

ROLL UP, roll up, renew your faith in Ipswich Town right now.

This has to be the message to Blues fans on the day details of 2006/7 season tickets are being announced.

The Championship club deserves a good response for the hard work put in over the last few months.

From looking to be way off course for a return to the Premiership in the foreseeable future during the Christmas holiday period, the Tractor Boys are now on track to bring exciting times back to Portman Road.

This is not a rallying call on behalf of the club, but a genuine impartial belief that Joe Royle's squad will develop into a considerable force, and one well worth supporting.

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Please forget the rather contentious suggestions coming out of Portman Road that a reduction in the number of renewals this summer may mean the sale of one or two talented youngsters.

This will grate with some supporters, who may feel they are being blackmailed into writing their cheques.

But the bottom line is that despite the frustrations of the weekend there is genuine class at the club and every reason for optimism.

An eight-match unbeaten league run came to an end thanks to a rash challenge by Sito Castro in the 73rd minute that led to Kenny Miller converting Wolverhampton's first penalty award of the season.

It was a game that Ipswich deserved to win as they dominated play for long intervals and knocked the ball about with confidence.

This was despite their lack of genuine front men after the curse affecting Town strikers continued with news that proposed loan signing Ricardo Fuller needs a new work permit.

It was enough to put Town on the back foot from the kick-off, but with Richard Naylor having his best half as a makeshift forward and Darren Currie and Owen Garvan running the midfield the visitors quickly gained the initiative.

The chances that came their way were spurned, although at worst a draw looked likely with Wolves looking to have no idea how to find the net.

On the odd occasions they threatened in an entertaining open game, Shane Supple was up to the task.

Fickle Wolves fans were on the backs of their team when Sito had his rush of blood, and from then on the Ipswich challenge fizzled out.

Managers can interpret matches in strange ways in the heat of the battle and both Royle and his opposite number Glenn Hoddle were guilty in their post-mortems.

Royle was correct in calling the member of the Work Permit UK team who spotted Fuller's move on television as a jobsworth, but his opinion of referee Andy Woolmer was off the mark.

Town's boss called him an embarrassment, but the official did not influence the result of the game.

There may be better referees on the circuit, and certainly luckier ones for Town as they have failed to score in the three games he has handled this season, but Mr Woolmer was correct in most he did.

He may have booked seven players, but he kept a lid on tackles from home players that at times looked as though they might escalate into minor assaults.

His penalty shout was spot on and he could easily have sent Sito off having earlier booked the Spaniard for hand ball.

And the referee pulled up Tomasz Frankowski when the home striker appeared to take the ball cleanly off Supple when the keeper was struggling not to handle outside the box.

While Royle's honest opinions were borne out of frustrations, there was no excuse for Hoddle's claim that his team deserved to win.

“It was a well-earned three points,” trilled the ex-England manager, who must be a million miles away from being considered to replace Sven Goran Eriksson.

His time at Molineux must surely be numbered; with only an eye-catching display at the back by his skipper Joleon Lescott keeping depleted Town at bay.

Town made two changes from the team that won away from home for the third consecutive game at Crewe last Tuesday with Garvan back from suspension and Dean McDonald taking over from Alan Lee.

With Lee in the team Town would surely have won, and Town's last lingering hopes of a play-off place probably went when the 27-year-old limped off with a hamstring injury at Gresty Road six days ago.

The ball has run for Town in recent weeks. It didn't on Saturday, but get ready to hold on to your hats in 2006/7.