Swansea City have never played an FA Cup tie at the Liberty Stadium, their ground since the start of last season, and they will now have to wait many months - and possibly longer - to break that duck. This game against Ipswich was their ninth consecutive away tie in the competition and when Thomas Butler had a chance to finally bring a taste of the Cup to their part of south Wales, he failed to do so.
The scorer and hero of the Swans' win over Sheffield United in the previous round was only a foot away from making contact with Lee Trundle's cross but his miss, combined with Alan Lee's goal from the penalty spot, sent Ipswich into the fifth round. To rub salt into Swansea's wounds, Lee used to play for their local rivals Cardiff City.
Yet Portman Road could have been much more rewarding for the League One side. After all, their previous venture out of Wales for the FA Cup took them to Yorkshire three weeks ago and they beat the Blades 3-0, with that result doing no disservice to anyone.
Despite form favouring the visitors, their manager, Kenny Jackett, sprang one surprise, leaving his side's most gifted player, Trundle, out of the starting line-up, to the relief of Jackett's counterpart Jim Magilton.
Omitting Trundle, which he explained was to match Ipswich in midfield "in bodies and numbers", did reap its negative reward as the hosts' frustration mounted throughout the first half. As it inched its way towards its conclusion, the best Magilton's men could boast was a neat move involving Jaime Peters and Sylvain Legwinski, ending with the Frenchman steering a shot just wide. Minutes earlier, Peters, who was the home side's liveliest player, had tried his own luck but from 20 yards he hit a curling shot that flew over the crossbar.
Shortly after the interval the visitors extracted the first save of note from either goalkeeper as Andy Robinson shot from distance. Lewis Price could only push the ball out to Adebayo Akinfenwa but Richard Naylor recovered his ground to clear the danger.
The game changed in the 64th minute when Gavin Williams, a transfer target for Swansea, floated a high free-kick to the far post. Peters, again a threat, got his shot in but the referee adjudged he had been held back by Tom Williams. From the spot-kick, Lee calmly converted low to his left for his 12th goal of the season.
Magilton was disappointed by Peters' miss but relieved to get a second bite at the cherry. "Sometimes you get those penalties, sometimes not, but Lee showed great composure," he said. Jackett felt the award was harsh.
Unsurprisingly, Trundle's introduction changed the threat that Swansea posed. However, the inability of Butler to think as quickly as his team-mate meant the visitors went home a beaten side. With 12 minutes to go, Akinfenwa found Trundle and his cross took Price out of the equation. Yet Butler had not read Trundle's intentions and slid in too late to stop the Swans leaving this year's competition.Reuse content