Ipswich will look to the positives

THERE is a concerted effort at Portman Road to be upbeat and focus entirely on the positives.

Derek Davis

THERE is a concerted effort at Portman Road to be upbeat and focus entirely on the positives.

So while the result can't be ignored, Ipswich Town will look at all the good things they can glean from their trip to The Valley.

For a start they went their unbeaten in five games throughout September and with five away points in the bag. This time last year they had just two and it took them until mid-January to accumulate five.

They have also been reinforced considerably through the summer and so theoretically are a better, stronger, more competitive squad.

Certainly Iván Campo drew praise for his first half virtuoso performance playing just in from of the back four and orchestrating much of what was good for Town.

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After going down to a Nick Bailey free kick after just six minutes, but let's skirt round that for the moment and look for the good bits, Town hit back convincingly.

Jon Stead had started up front as the lone striker but Jon Walters moved from wide right and joined him while the Town fans chanted for Pablo Counago to go on.

They got their wish on the half hour, but only because Tommy Miller was struggling with a hip injury.

Counago added impetus to Town and they clawed their way on top and deserved their equaliser.

It came from the artisan and the artist combining brilliantly as Jon Walters won a header, Pablo Counago played a back heel into his path and the cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by the hapless England Under-21 defender Martin Cranie on loan from Portsmouth, with Jon Stead lurking behind ready to finish.

From the rest of the half there looked just one winner with Alan Quinn getting ahead on to a Campo cross.

The Spaniard showed his Premier League class and was unfortunate to see a 23-yard free kick rebound back off the crossbar.

Town also came close when the hard-working and impressive Norris, a January signing by Magilton, struck a fierce shot-cum-cross that Walters came inches from meeting with a diving header.

Norris was a demon all afternoon and no more so than in the dying stages when he came clattered Bouazza who had refused, as is his right, to put the ball out of play as Volz lay prone in the penalty area, and the Town number 10 was fortunate the referee ignored what might have been a red card offence.

Quinn hit the crossbar with a wicked angled shot and Kevin Lisbie on his return to the Valley was denied by some brilliant defending by the impressive centre half Mark Hudson.

Certainly the spirit and effort from the side was a positive, even if was against a pretty average Charlton side.

But accentuating the positives while ignoring the rest is akin to living in a kind of La La land where everything is all sunny and smiles and is dangerous in its deception.

The danger is those in charge lose touch with reality and believe the 'yes' men whispering in their ears, poisoning against those who live in the real world, pointing out the truth, both good and bad.

The first goal against Town was rank bad defending. Richard Wright will not be happy at being beaten from around 25-yards and nor will he be pleased with his wall, that didn't look well positioned, or how easily Hudson eased Quinn a side to allow the gap for Bailey's well-struck low shot to nestle inside a post.

Town's defence is still struggling, especially Moritz Volz who was passed fit but left trailing in Hameur Bouazza's wake more than once, not least when Darren Ambrose crossed unmolested from wide and the bal looped over Wright off the German, while the dropped Alex Bruce watched from the bench.

Ambrose also had a goal disallowed for offside, and Wright was forced into making a good save from Luke Varney after the striker had got behind the Town defence with out impediment.

On another day the referee might have given two penalties against Richard Naylor and one against Walters, while Town appealed for one when Linvoy Primus bowled over Counago with a sly nudge.

It would have been interesting to what would have happened if Bailey, a signing from Southend, had stayed on, but his replacement, a certain Matt Holland, aided the Addicks as he and Zheng Zhi got to grips with Campo and got Charlton's game going and Ipswich had little answer.

So, while Ipswich will feel, aggrieved not to get something out of this game and will look to stay positive, they will be kidding themselves to think they look like genuine promotion candidates right now. While it is good to have the glass half full, rather than half empty, more than just uplifting words and a blinkered view is needed to secure the promotion that everyone connected with the Blues crave.

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