THERE was a disturbingly familiar theme to Ipswich Town’s latest defeat, this time at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday.

In a season of setbacks, it was a case of déjà vu. Groundhog Day, in fact.

Here’s the pattern.

Town play well in fits and spurts.

They huff and puff and are spirited and well-intentioned, backed superbly by their weary but wonderful supporters.

But when push comes to shove, when it comes to the crunch at the business ends of the pitch, they just can’t get it right.

Always liable to concede – and rarely packing any punch in the final third. An achingly familiar tale.

Defensively, Town’s solidity – or lack of it – is perhaps best summed up by the recalled Toto Nsiala.

A player who seems to flip-flop from brilliant to baffling.

Strong, robust and prepared to put his body on the line - but always capable of a costly slip or lapse.

A brand of defending that leaves supporters fighting the temptation to cover their eyes or look away.

Not that Nsiala was to blame for Wednesday’s winner.

On this occasion, regrettably, the culpable defender was Myles Kenlock.

At the other end, Town continue to infuriate. Another recurring theme.

They managed a feeble two shots on target all game with the first (the only meaningful one) not arriving until the 83rd minute, when Trevoh Chalobah’s header was smothered on the line by Keiren Westwood.

Reluctant to shoot, mirroring their lack of confidence, their creative juices run dry in the final third. Again, it’s hard to watch.

Which brings me to my next point. Referee Oliver Langford.

Inconspicuous in the first half, the West Midlands official was erratic in the second – blowing up for the most innocuous of challenges and then waving play on after Freddie Sears was unceremoniously upended by an Owls defender.

Not to mention missing a possible foul on Will Keane in the build-up to Wednesday’s goal.

Understandably, Town’s angry, incredulous fans vented their frustration.

Goalkeeper coach Jimmy Walker was booked for his protestations and, by all accounts, the local radio phone-in featured numerous callers wanting to vent spleen about Mr Langford’s performance.

I get it – but that wasn’t the reason Town lost and it’s not the reason they’re marooned at the foot of the Championship table.

The explanation for both is far more straightforward. They’re simply not good enough.

In his pre-match press conference, Paul Lambert insisted his side are better than their league position suggests.

“Sometimes the table does lie,” was his unconvincing assertion.

I beg to differ.

League positions are defined by performances and, ultimately, points.

Town have just 18 from 30 games. Pitiful.

They’ve only won three games all season and less at home than any other Championship side. They’ve also got the second-worst goalscoring record, the worst defensive record and the worst goal difference.

So far from being in a false position, the table is a depressingly perfect reflection of what’s become a nightmare campaign.