League Insider - Keane
Rob Parrish looks at Roy Keane's Ipswich woes, Marlon King finding the net and the big freeze.
Last Updated: 13/12/10 12:08pm
Roy Keane resisted the temptation to lambast referee Andy D'Urso following Ipswich's miserable 3-1 home defeat to Swansea on Saturday lunchtime.
D'Urso elected to ignore very strong appeals for a penalty from the Tractor Boys five minutes from time when Carlos Edwards appeared to be checked in the area, denying Ipswich the opportunity to bring the scores level from the spot.
To rub further salt into the home side's wounds, Swansea immediately went on the attack with Craig Beattie producing a stunning strike into the top corner of Brian Murphy's goal to condemn Keane's men to a fifth successive Championship defeat.
Given the previous history between the Ipswich manager and Saturday's match official, it was perhaps something of a surprise that the fiery Irishman instead turned his temper on his squad, who just days earlier had secured their place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with victory over West Brom.
For those of you who need a reminder, D'Urso was the man chased pretty much the length of the field at Old Trafford when he had the temerity to award a penalty against Manchester United in their Premier League clash with Middlesbrough.
Leading the charge on that January afternoon almost 11 years ago was shaven-headed midfield enforcer Keane, whose vein-bulging protests in company with fellow snarlers Jaap Stam, Nicky Butt and Denis Irwin had D'Urso back-pedalling at pace to stay out of the clutches of the aptly-named Red Devils.
The scenes sparked further debate over the way referees' authority was being called into question, and a decade on initiatives such as the 'Respect' campaign are still required in a bid to ensure match officials are not hounded over perceived blunders.
But, as previously mentioned, Keane insisted it would be 'wrong' to point the finger at D'Urso for their latest reverse, instead admitting that the errors at both ends of the field from his squad were far more to blame for their downfall, and conceding he felt he was facing 'Groundhog Day' having made the same comments after their derby defeat by Norwich.
Ipswich's current malaise has the makings of a crisis, with the club having plummeted from the fringes of the promotion race to a place just four points above the relegation zone, a worrying situation which cannot be papered over by their forthcoming two-legged semi-final meeting with red-hot Carling Cup favourites Arsenal.
Keane, who is now approaching 200 games as a manager following his time at Portman Road and previously with Sunderland, will have to call on all the nous gained during his time in the dug-out and his previous experience as a player with the all-powerful United side if he is to stop the rot.
But the 39-year-old, who is in the final season of a two-year contract he penned when appointed in April 2009, knows it will be his head which is on the block if league results do not improve in the coming weeks.
King on the spot
Marlon King found the net for the first time since a recent spell away from the game as a guest of HM Prison Service as Coventry edged out Middlesbrough 1-0 at the Ricoh Arena courtesy of the disgraced striker's late penalty.
Quite whether an individual who recently served nine months of his 18-month sentence for assaulting a woman in a nightclub - a conviction he still contests - deserves the opportunity to continue a hugely lucrative career is open to debate.
But given that Lee Hughes and Joey Barton, respectively jailed in the past for causing death by dangerous driving and assault, are still employed as professional footballers it would appear that the moral compass of some clubs is far from fully functioning.
Beating the big freeze
Just 10 of the scheduled 36 fixtures in the Football League managed to beat the big freeze this weekend, with League One and Two hit particularly hard.
Congratulations must go to the ground staff at Swindon, Northampton and Oxford who ensured their respective fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday, Stockport and Barnet went ahead, with victories from each side a fitting reward for their efforts.