Ipswich defeated in Hammers friendly

THE good the bad and the downright ugly, were on display at Portman Road last night.

Derek Davis

Ipswich Town 3 West Ham 5

THE good the bad and the downright ugly, were on display at Portman Road last night.

The good from Town's point of view was their explosive goal power that caps an exciting flow of chances created from all over.

The bad was the woeful defending, stemming not just from the back alone, but throughout which allowed Dean Ashton to bag a hat-trick.

And the ugly came, not just because two ex-Canaries scored, but in the form of arch-villain Craig Bellamy whose ill-chosen words towards a lady in the family area as he went of injured, did not do him, his club or profession, any favours, especially on the day the Respect campaign was launched by the Football League.

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The after effects of that will no doubt follow, more pressingly for Town boss Jim Magilton is how to stop leaking goals.

After the Brighton game a week ago Magilton spoke of how he was happy with the way his team played with the ball but was still concerned about the defensive qualities all through the team, and warned it could be their downfall if they didn't tighten up.

The problems are rarely highlighted at home but against West Brom, and even more so last night against West Ham, they became glaringly obvious.

It took former Norwich City striker Dean Ashton less than four minutes to put the Hammers ahead when the Town defence was hopelessly exposed by the Hammers' neat passing.

When no-one closed down, Tommy Smith allowed a cross to run to the wide open Ashton and with Pim Balkestein not tucking in to cover, a harsh lesson was handed out to all concerned as Ashton lashed the ball home.

But Town can always find the net and the speed and movement of their attack is as good as the Championship will see this coming season.

Although working together for the first time in a game the Kevin Lisbie, Pablo Counago partnership looked superb.

Town equalised two minutes later when Pablo Counago sparked a Blues break and Kevin Lisbie's pace created space.

Veliche Shumulikoski played a one-two with Counago and dinked the ball cleverly over England hopeful Robert Green.

The inadequacies at the back were highlighted once again when Craig Bellamy, another ex-Norwich forward, sped clear onto a Lucas Neill long ball and beat Richard Wright well a well-weighted lob.

But the positives were accentuated for Town in the 25th minute when Green saved a close range shot from the lively Lisbie but Garvan cleverly found a gap with a low shot and he too was able to celebrate a new deal.

So the ying and yang continued.

Danny Haynes went looking for a penalty but got nothing.

Gareth McAuley header against a post and then another nod down from corner squirmed wide.

Richard Wright watched as Valon Behrami shot low across his goal as Town looked good with the ball, bad without.

The ugly bit came in the 22nd minute as Bellamy pulled up chasing a long ball and after kicking a hoarding walked up the touchline into the dressing room clearly in distress with a sore hamstring, but not before hurling abuse at Town fans.

He was followed six minutes before the break by Anton Ferdinand, also complaining of a hamstring problem.

Ipswich failed to clear their lines again 11 minutes after the break and an unmarked Ashton gleefully accepted his gift to score from 10 yards.

The Norwich ex England striker completed his hat-trick when he got away from McAuley to meet a low Kyel Reid cross and direct goal-wards.

Still Town fans will take comfort that an ex-player of theirs in Darren Bent who got four in the 5-1 win over Norwich a couple of weeks ago.

Mark Noble rubbed salt in the wound for the Blues though with a stunning 25-yard drive to make it five for West Ham, and after being such a popular loanee at Portman Road two years ago.

Substitute Alan Lee got a late consolation with some help from Liam Trotter and Jaime Peter raised hopes but a hefty touch allowed the keeper to save.

Ipswich Town: R Wright, D Wright, Balkestein (Bruce, 65) McAuley, Smith (Naylor, 88) Shumulikoski, Haynes (Peters, 81) Garvan (Miller, 77) Counago (Rhodes, 77) Lisbie (Lee, 65) Quinn (Trotter, 81). Subs not used: Supple,

West Ham: Green (Stech, 60) Neill, Widdowson, Ferdinand (Davenport, 39) Upson, Behrami (Mullins, 73) Parker, Ashton (Stanislas, 83) Bellamy (Hines, 22) Etherington (Reid, 46) Noble. Subs not used: Stokes, Collison, Spence.