Just too easy for the Tractor Boys

Last updated : 22 March 2012 By Tony Scholes

By the time referee James Linington blew the final whistle we could have no complaints and everyone was just mightily relieved that it was just a one goal defeat after the battering we'd taken in the second half.

We were simply second best; had no real answer to the rampaging Ipswich and but for goalkeeper Lee Grant, who made a string of fine saves, the scoreline would have been considerably harsher.

Lee Grant kept the score down with a string of fine saves

Eddie Howe made three changes to the side that had drawn 0-0 at Cardiff on Sunday. Jay Rodriguez returned from injury and there were places too for both Marvin Bartley and Charlie Austin with Ross Wallace, Danny Ings and Martin Paterson left out, although it was later revealed that Ings had a minor injury.

It was a strange looking line up, basically a 4-5-1 with Jay Rod almost hugging the touchline at times on the left wing and Austin the lone striker.

For a time it really was better than Cardiff. We did try and move the ball a little bit quicker and in the first quarter of the game we probably matched our hosts and it was during this spell that we got our only two efforts at goal all night.

Both missed the target and both came from our full backs. Kieran Trippier brilliantly worked his way into the box and then made an awful mess of things by not laying the ball back and hitting a shot into the side netting and Danny Lafferty headed over from a free kick.

At the other end, it took some strong defending from Michael Duff and David Edgar to prevent Ipswich having too many opportunities and, all in all, midway through the first half we'd certainly given us much as we'd got.

Then, sadly, it all changed. Ipswich stepped things up and by half time we were thankful for the whistle. Ipswich had really got on top with much of their play coming down the right from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who was the best player on pitch by a country mile.

By the time that half time whistle had blown Grant had already earned plaudits with two good saves, one a superb tip over to prevent a header from Lee Bowyer going into the top corner.

Still level at half time, I just felt we needed to hold Ipswich off for the first ten or fifteen minutes and then we could push on ourselves. Unfortunately we didn't hold them off at all and right from the kick off they were at us and in the second half gave us as severe a battering as we've suffered since probably the first half at Birmingham in November.

Within the opening minutes Grant twice came to the rescue and it was aware very quickly that we needed to do something to change things. Poor Lafferty was struggling with Emmanuel-Thomas and it was no surprise to see him replaced just eight minutes into the half with Ben Mee coming on, although it was later reported that Lafferty was again suffering with a hamstring problem.

Mee hardly had time to warm up before Ipswich finally took a deserved lead. Bartley gave the ball away and they sped past Marney in the middle of the pitch. Again it looked as though Grant had rescued things as he saved from Lee Martin, but defensively we were all at sea and eventually former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra scored.

By now it really was one way traffic and before the hour there were two more changes as Marney, for me out best outfield player, and Austin were removed and replaced by Wallace and Paterson.

That changed the system to 4-4-2 but it made no difference at all and Ipswich continued to totally dominate the game and but for Grant's continued heroics they would certainly have scored more.

Still, at 1-0 there's always a chance and we clung to that hope. Unfortunately we couldn't even muster one attempt at goal (on or off target) so there was never any real chance of it being anything other than hope.

There was just a moment of cheer as the silly Grant Leadbitter got himself sent off with two yellow cards at the end. I thought the first one, for a foul on Bartley, was extremely harsh from an otherwise excellent referee, but the second was fully justified and at least the paltry few Burnley fans left in the ground had something to cheer.

The season's over now in terms of anything we can achieve and Eddie Howe is considering or maybe threatening to introduce some of the youngsters. One way or another, this team is in some desperate need of a lift.

The teams were;

Ipswich: Alex McCarthy, Carlos Edwards, Aaron Cresswell, Damien Delaney, Tommy Smith, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Lee Bowyer, Grant Leadbitter, Lee Martin, Michael Chopra (Ibrahima Sonko 90+4), Daryl Murphy. Subs not used: Arran Lee-Barrett, Ryan Stevenson, Josh Carson, Andy Drury.
Yellow Cards: Lee Bowyer, Grant Leadbitter.
Red Card: Grant Leadbitter.

Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Danny Lafferty (Ben Mee 53), Junior Stanislas, Marvin Bartley, Dean Marney (Ross Wallace 58), Chris McCann, Jay Rodriguez, Charlie Austin (Martin Paterson 59). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Josh McQuoid.

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).

Attendance: 16,564 (including 211 Clarets).