Town slip into bottom eight

IPSWICH Town's miserable run continue when they lost to Hull City in the Championship last night.All seemed well in the early stages but once lone striker Nicky Forster limped off with a jarred knee in the 27th minute, it all turned sour for Joe Royle's side.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's miserable run continue when they lost to Hull City in the Championship last night.

All seemed well in the early stages but once lone striker Nicky Forster limped off with a jarred knee in the 27th minute, it all turned sour for Joe Royle's side.

Seventeen-year-old Danny Haynes came on and was asked to carry the mantle up front such is the lack of strikers currently at the disposal of the Ipswich manager.

The 700 or so visiting supporters who braved the wintry conditions to travel to Humberside had cause for optimism that Town could possibly snatch a goal and come away with something on their first visit to the impressive K C Stadium.

But once Nicky Barmby netted from a breakaway for the Tigers in the 57th minute, it was all over.

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With their lack of goal power there was no way the Blues were going to fight back even though they continued to have as much possession as the home side.

Craig Fagan added a second goal in the 70th minute from another counter attack that caught Ipswich out at the back and this was more than enough for Hull to leapfrog Ipswich and climb the table.

Although promotion is out of the equation for Town this season, any hopes of mid-table mediocrity could be disturbed if this current run of just two victories in their last 14 games continues.

While fans will no doubt be dismayed at another defeat and also another goalless game for Town, there was at least more to admire in their general play than Monday's home thrashing by Crystal Palace.

Having said that, Hull are not in the same category as the Londoners even though they have now won their last three home matches without conceding a goal.

It was too much for Town to handle once Forster departed and although finishing quite strongly in the latter stages, the first goal knocked the stuffing out of them after a promising first half display.

Richard Naylor moved up front in the 67th minute when Matt Richards came on as a substitute at left-back with Fabian Wilnis taking over as Jason De Vos' central defensive partner.

Naylor created a few problems and it is likely that the former striker will start Saturday's game at home to Luton playing up front.

Ironically, the previous two seasons under Royle have seen Ipswich score goals for fun and they have been leading scorers in the division.

But following the departure - for financial reasons - of Darren Bent, Shefki Kuqi and Tommy Miller the punch has gone from the Town attack.

The Luton match will be a difficult one for Ipswich in the position that they now find themselves and it could be a controversial afternoon if things do not go the way of the Suffolk side.

There have been a number of protests at Portman Road this season, originally aimed at the chairman, David Sheepshanks, but last Monday it was switched to manager Royle.

While these protests have been from a minority, a continuation of this poor run can only add to the criticism and it could be an uncomfortable time for the Town hierarchy on New Year 's Eve.

But, surely, most fair minded Ipswich fans will look at the crippling injury situation that has affected the club this campaign and realise that this is going to be nothing more - at best - than a season of consolidation.

The financial situation has removed any aces that Royle held in his hand and it would need a very successful card player to win the game with the deal he is currently holding.

But the fact must be faced that if there are only two wins recorded in the next 14 games, then Ipswich will find themselves come the spring in the midst of a fight to avoid a drop down to League One.

Shane Supple came in to replace Lewis Price in goal with the Welsh international having a groin strain that did not stop him being on the bench. Supple did well and looked assured all through with the Ipswich defence giving a good account of itself until Barmby struck.

Sito Castro appeared to be more comfortable in his regular right-back position but not for the first time this season Ipswich paid a heavy price when he was unable to deal with a high ball directed in his direction, allowing the ball to be headed back so that Barmby could pounce.

This defeat adds to the pressure obviously for the club to gain a first home victory since November 5 when Plymouth were at Portman Road.

Five years ago, as the old year disappeared, Ipswich were third in the Premiership while Hull City were losing 1-0 at Rochdale and consigned to the bottom half of the old Division Three.

This fact will not be lost on fans who are calling for much better from the Blues team although it is doubtful that many other clubs could carry the support of so many fans to travel in treacherous conditions on a mid-week night between Christmas and New Year.

Ipswich never had a goal threat all game apart from a couple of efforts in the final minutes - it turned out to be a miserable trip to Humberside for Royle and his players.

Their coach broke down on the way north on Tuesday evening to make it a near six-hour journey, and then they had to journey back in a borrowed coach after suffering yet another defeat.

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