Naylor: I blame myself
RICHARD Naylor is not one to shirk his duty.And Ipswich Town's longest-serving player was man enough to admit his part in Nottingham Forest's 4-3 First Division victory at Portman Road.
By Elvin King
RICHARD Naylor is not one to shirk his duty.
And Ipswich Town's longest-serving player was man enough to admit his part in Nottingham Forest's 4-3 First Division victory at Portman Road.
"I had my worst game since I moved into defence," said Naylor. "I scored an own goal and the ball got caught under my feet a couple of times when I should have cleared.
"I have to be disappointed at the way I played."
Naylor came to Ipswich as a defender from school, but was switched to a striker during his days in the youth team.
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A succession of injuries – allied to the ban on manager Joe Royle bringing in loan signings before the transfer deadline – have seen Ipswich run out of defenders.
Consequently, Town entered the Forest match with a back three of Naylor, Matt Holland and Chris Makin – all
determined characters but none
considered central defenders at the
beginning of the season.
"We could have done with an experienced central defender," added Naylor. "Our inexperience did not help against an attack as potent as Forest's.
"My own goal was an instinctive move and one that was right in the circumstances. If I had left the ball it would
carried on for a Forest player to tap into the net.
"We should have been three or four up after 20 minutes. After we had a two-goal cushion we went through a rocky spell.
"We came back to level at 3-3, but then let in a fourth goal with Nottingham's only serious effort on goal in the whole second half.
"But we are still in there fighting and that is what we are going to have to do until the end of the season."
Tommy Miller scored two goals – the second from a twice-taken penalty – before substitute John Thompson, Marlon Harewood and Naylor's own goal put Forest in front.
Marcus Bent equalised after an hour, before Harewood headed in an Andy Reid free-kick to win the match.
There was a tremendous atmosphere with the biggest crowd of the season at Portman Road.
Town's fans did their best to carry their side through with the North Stand in particular good voice.
Three points would have put Town right in the heart of the Nationwide League Division One play-off battle. Now Royle's men must cut out the errors at the back and gain at least four wins from their final five games to have a chance of reaching the top six.