Lee joy tempered by possible ban

ALAN Lee stood arms outstretched looking up to heaven.The 27-year-old had just capped a remarkable performance with an 89th minute strike that confirmed three points for Ipswich Town at the St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

By Elvin King

ALAN Lee stood arms outstretched looking up to heaven.

The 27-year-old had just capped a remarkable performance with an 89th minute strike that confirmed three points for Ipswich Town at the St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

He ran to the section of the ground that housed the delighted Blues supporters.

They saluted their new hero, and the Republic of Ireland international was quick to return the compliment.

“The fans' reaction to me brought a lump to my throat,” said Lee, who took both his goals splendidly.

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“Before the second goal they were chanting my name, and it was unbelievable.

“It was a great afternoon for me and I have not had that much fun for three seasons.”

And Lee revealed that his team mates have not been so close to him as the fans.

“I travelled to Ipswich with just one bag of clothes, and the lads were ribbing me as I was turning up last week in the same gear all the while.”

Lee sped back to Cardiff on Saturday night to take stock on his new-found fame after a depressing injury-hit time in Wales.

And to pack some fresh clothes for his return to Suffolk to help Ipswich move up the Championship table.

“I have to be happy with my goals, but full credit to my team mates for doing the spadework,” added Lee.

“They helped me to create some leeway, and I could easily have had a hat-trick with a close-range header that the keeper knew nothing about. The ball came back off his body.

“I still had energy at the end, and there is no doubt that we deserved to win.”

Lee left St Mary's nervously waiting for confirmation whether he can face Leeds United at Portman Road in Town's next game on January 31.

He was booked in a bizarre incident in the 16th minute, and said: “I have a funny feeling that it was my fifth yellow card of the season.

“And if so I will be gutted at serving a one-match ban. I could not believe the decision.

“Darren Powell clearly tripped me inside the penalty area, and then went down as if injured to hide his guilt I think.

“I asked the assistant referee why he had not reacted. I did not curse and did not get over excited.

“I was amazed when the referee called me over and put my name in his book. He would not answer any questions, despite opponent Nigel Quashie kindly putting my case to the official.

“If I was to miss the Leeds game it would be terrible.”

Cardiff sources have confirmed that Lee received just three bookings this season prior to his £100,000 move to Portman Road - against Derby, Crewe and Coventry. He needs one more by the end of next month before he would receive a ban.

Town manager Joe Royle said he was going to look into any way of having the card rescinded - although this is highly unlikely to happen.

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