Town ship three at the death

IPSWICH Town's inability to compete with the big boys in the Coca Cola Championship away from Portman Road was again highlighted at the Hawthorns on Saturday

IPSWICH Town's inability to compete with the big boys in the Coca Cola Championship away from Portman Road was again highlighted at the Hawthorns this afternoon.

The Blues enjoyed the netter of the exchanges for a while after the interval with Alan Lee heading against the far post and then shooting into the side netting.

But they struggled in the opening period and conceded three bad late goals. The defeat sees Town drop out of a play-off position.

Ipswich have not beaten team in top half of the table away from home since they won at Carrow Road, Norwich in February 2006.

They were a much better force for most of the second half, but West Brom took the lead in the 20th minute when Filipe Teixeira ended well beaten.

Ishmael Miller held off a challenge from Alex Bruce to net with a low shot into the far corner of the goal in the 20th minute and Filipe Teixeira and Kevin Phillips (2) netted late goals.

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Town made one change from the side that lost 2-0 at Watford in their last fixture a fortnight ago. Roberts was left on the bench with French midfielder Sylvain Legwinski coming in for his first start of the season.

Goalkeeper Neil Alexander was able to take his place in between the posts as his wife Joanne still awaits the imminent birth of the couple's second child.

Albion had five players away on midweek international duty - Chris Brunt, Carl Hoefkens, Robert Koren, Zoltan Gera and Craig Beattie - and manager Tony Mowbray and his assistant Mark Venus had had little chance to work on tactics during the week.

Gera and Beattie were left out of the side that beat Barnsley two weeks ago, with Brunt and Ishmael Miller coming in to make their full Albion debuts.

Both Pablo Counago and Owen Garvan tried 20-yard shots within the opening two minutes as the visitors made a bright opening.

Legwinski was playing in the middle of a three-man midfield with Walters on the left side up front, and when the Baggies attacked Lee was back to concede a corner.

In the fifth minute decibel levels increased in an already noisy ground when a right-wing corner found its way to Kevin Phillips beyond the far post. The renowned goal poacher shot from close range - the ball hitting the deck and bouncing just beyond the far post.

Albion keeper Dean Kiely, who once spent a month on loan at Ipswich in 1989, was left watching as Alan Lee sent over a searching cross from the right. Jon Walters moved in for the kill, but ended on the floor after fouling Leon Barnett - the Town man needed treatment and a bandage round his head from physio Byard before he could continue.

While he was off the field, Counago put Lee through; the angle was tight with the Town leading scorer side-footing beyond Kiely, but also a yard beyond the far post.

This was in the tenth minute, and soon afterwards Harding deflected a Morrison cross for another Albion corner. This came to nothing, but the danger was not cleared and Miller headed a Brunt cross a foot wide from six yards out.

Walters' blow to his head meant that he was wearing a shirt with no number, and he could only stand and watch when Brunt had acres of space to cross from the left with his driven cross beating friend and foe alike as it flew across the face of the goal and missed the far post by a whisker.

Walters tried his luck from distance - Town already had more shots than in the Watford defeat - with Kiely making a comfortable save.

Town went behind in the 20th minute after Lee lost the ball by the Town left touchline deep in the Albion half. Felipe Teixeira sent a long flowing forward pass and MILLER went haring off in pursuit. The number 17 held off Bruce before sending a precise low shot across Alexander and into the far corner of the goal just inside the post.

Ipswich survived a couple of scares as an energetic Albion continued to pose problems and winning their sixth corner in the 35th minute.

Four seasons ago Town lost 4-1 at the Hawthorns to go bottom of the table. This was in September and manager Joe Royle lifted the Blues into a play-off position at the end of the campaign.

Brunt was having plenty of space down the West Brom left, and from a pass inside David Wright upended Phillips a yard outside the penalty area.

The free-kick was charged down by the wall, but before the ball was cleared, Phillips' cross was headed strongly by Miller with Alexander diving full length to make a 37th minute save.

Kiely came off his line smartly to collect as Lee threatened, and from Legwinski's high ball forward Lee could only head into the path of the home keeper.

There was a television feel about the occasion with BBC Match of the Day (Sunday) host Adrian Childs - a Baggies supporter - in the press room before kick-off. And Matt Smith from ITV's Championship show that is to be screened tomorrow morning was filming in the press area prior to the start.

Miller went through the middle and shot a yard wide with the Town midfield and forwards unable to take the pressure off their overworked back four.

Lee was caught offside, which did not please him but as the interval approached Ipswich began knocking the ball about well and once put a dozen passes together.

The visitors won their first

corner in the minute of stoppage time with the ball skimming Bruce's head as it went across the penalty area.

Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 1 Ipswich Town 0

West Brom 3

Ipswich fans were on their feet within seconds of the restart when Counago set up Lee for an angled rising shot that Kiely pushed aside at the near post. From the corner De Vos caused confusion in the home defence before I Miller knocked the ball back to his own keeper.

Wright then threaded a long ball through the Albion defence for the busy Counago to run on to. The number nine reached the ball ahead of his marker to slide a shot a yard wide of the far post.

This was better from Town, and a goal now could make for an interesting contest.

T Miller was booked for pulling back Robinson - De Vos had also gone into the book in the opening period - but the free kick was lifted high over the bar after being played to Brunt.

After 54 minutes Peters came running on to replace a tiring Legwinski to play on the right of a four-man midfield - Walters being on the left.

A suited Magilton was now in the technical area, and Peters made a strong run before being fouled. The little winger was then fouled again a yard outside the area with Wright winning a corner from his free-kick that was deflected off the wall.

This was Town's best period of play, and possible led to Albion replacing Morrison with Koren after 61 minutes. Home fans were getting a tad restless now at Ipswich's command, and when the ball was headed back to Counago in the 63rd minute he had a free shot but failed to get and real power with Kiely diving to his right to save.

In the 66th minute Town went within inches of equalising. Wright crossed accurately from the right, and Lee rose to beat Kiely with his header - the ball bouncing back off the far post for a grateful home defender to boot clear.

And there was more bad luck for Ipswich soon afterwards when Harding's deep cross was played into the side netting by a lurking Lee.

Chaplow replaced Brunt after 71 minutes as the sun continued to shine on the Hawthorns and four minutes later Clarke came on for Counago, who had run all over the place.

Little had been seen of the Albion attack for some while, although I Miller got in a cross from the left by-line before winding himself as he clattered into the advertising boards behind the goal. Wright was quickly on the scene to nurse the Albion striker, who was soon able to return to the action.

Pele came on for I Miller after 79 minutes and then Harding was booked for a foul and De Vos blocked a shot from Phillips.

With five minutes to go Town went close again when Walters and Lee combined to set up Clarke for a clear shot that Kiely saved diving to his right.

But disaster was to hit Ipswich in the last few minutes when Albion hit back to score three more goals.

In the 87th minute TEIXEIRA burst in from the right to unmarked to beat Alexander from close range - with Harding in pursuit.

Three minutes later Teixeira crossed from the right and PHILLIPS netted from close range. In the four minutes of stoppage time PHILLIPS tried his luck from 22-yards and beat Alexander via the keeper's left hand. Result:

West Brom 4 Ipswich Town 0


West Bromwich Albion: Kiely; Hoefkens, Albrechtsen, Barnett, Robinson; Greening, Brunt, Morrison, Teixeira; Phillips, Miller. Substitutes: MacDonald, Chaplow, Pele, Koren, Beattie.

Ipswich Town: Alexander; Wright, De Vos, Bruce, Harding; Walters, Miller, Garvan, Legwinski; Counago, Lee. Substitutes: Supple, Casement, Peters, Roberts, Clarke.

Referee: Mr J Moss (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 19,460

Albion man of the match: Teixeira. Town man of the match: Wright.