NIGEL Clough said a killer goal just before half-time cost his team dear after they opened brightly but ultimately went down 4-1 at promotion chasing Ipswich.
The Brewers led through a Jamie Murphy goal but fell 2-1 behind just before the break and never recovered.
Both teams had to cope with strong winds and rain throughout the game that made playing conditions very difficult and with John-Joe O’Toole, Jake Buxton and Colin Daniel already injured lost Kieran O’Hara and Richard Nartey during the match.
The Albion manager said: “It was difficult circumstances when you lose your goalkeeper and three centre halves, but we didn’t defend anywhere near well enough. With the potent strike force they have it’s understandable but we are still disappointed with the nature of the goals we gave away.
“The turning point was just before half-time when they scored a goal straight from a goal kick. The two centre halves failed to deal with it and we end up going in 2-1 down instead of 1-1. The first half we had chances and they had chances and it could have been 3-3 but having gone ahead so early we should have at least gone in level at half-time.
“That second goal gave them a massive lift. They had been under a bit of pressure after we had got that early goal – Jamie Murphy being brilliant again – and if we had gone in at half-time level it might have given us a better chance in the second half.
“You have to give Ipswich credit as once they get an opportunity they put in great crosses and finish well. They have very good strikers and we didn’t cope with them today. If we had our first choice centre halves out we would have had a tough job, but when you lose three through injury it makes it even more difficult.”
Losing O’Hara was another blow for the Brewers.
Clough said: “I thought he had done his groin at first, but it was his ankle asthere was a collision in the goal and he has twisted it. Hopefully it’s not too serious. Ben Garratt came on and did very well making a few brilliant saves. He’s a good, confident, experienced goalkeeper and we saw that in that 45 minutes.
“John-Joe was on the bench today but couldn’t really come on or we would have used him. He was only there in case of emergency for five minutes. Jake is still out with his ribs, and Richard Nartey has hurt his calf. We will asses them next week and see who is fit for Southend.
“We had a young back four out today with Shaughnessy, Nartey and Hutchinson and they have to learn quickly as you can’t make mistakes at this level.
“But that shows our limitations when you come to places like Ipswich Town and they bring internationals on off the bench. On a good day when we are all fit and have everyone flying it’s not a fair challenge, but we make the best of it. But we have to accept where we are as a team and the size of our club.
“The reality is we lose our first-choice keeper and three centre halves and we are Burton Albion playing at Ipswich. You look at the standard of teams like Ipswich and I don’t how we can match that at the moment. The league is incredibly strong.”