LISTEN carefully and you’ll hear a fat lady singing.

She’s been warming up for weeks, gargling, humming and practicing scales.

And shortly before 5pm on Saturday, her one-woman concert finally got underway. An explosion of noise in the vicinity of Portman Road.

Yes, sadly and regrettably, it’s now game over in terms of Ipswich Town’s quest to stay in the Championship.

Not mathematically, maybe, but in every other sense. There’s no way back from here. They’re doomed.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Reading – heart-breaking and catastrophic in equal measure – has all but condemned them to League One football.

They’re a dozen points from safety with a significantly inferior goal difference and zero chance of getting the victories needed for safety. In my opinion.

To keep their razor-thin hopes alive, they had to defeat the Royals. It was essential.

Instead, they succumbed to another costly defeat, conceding another late goal.

It was a sad, gut-wrenching day but also one that made me angry – and not just because of the result.

Paul Lambert’s tactics were muddled from the start.

Was James Collins fit to start?

It was a gamble that backfired and undoubtedly the wrong choice of system.

Hence the changes at half-time, although it was a wasted opportunity when Toto Nsiala replaced Collins on 40 minutes. Why make a straight swap and stick with three centre-halves?

Town started with wing-backs and effectively only had one striker, Collin Quaner.

Teddy Bishop was in a more advanced role but it didn’t suit him. It was unnatural and he looked uncomfortable.

Why not play Kayden Jackson up front with the Huddersfield loanee?

Baffling and a decision that must, surely, leave the former questioning his future at Portman Road.

Quaner hasn’t impressed me at all.

I can’t fault his effort or commitment but his size, strength and physicality should be a weapon. That’s not the case.

He doesn’t maximise his attributes and, alarmingly for the main frontman, rarely looks like scoring.

Like his team, he poses minimal threat.

It’s been a recurring theme all season, as has defensive fragility and ineptitude.

On this occasion, the finger of blame needs to be pointed at Luke Chambers.

The skipper was poor, at fault for the first goal and caught out of position on several occasions.

Inexplicably, he also headed a late chance wide with the goal at his mercy.

Chambers is a great captain, without doubt. Fans buy into his passion and warrior-mentality.

But those qualities allow him to curry favour because I’m far from convinced about his defensive capability.

In many ways, it’s the same situation with Lambert.

The Town boss can do little wrong in supporters’ eyes, because of his devotion and fiery spirit.

But in terms of his management, how much substance is there behind the PR spin?

For me, the jury’s still out. There’s been no ‘bounce’ since his appointment and little tangible improvement, certainly in terms of results (just two fortuitous wins).

He inherited a mess, undoubtedly, but has had enough time to make a difference; to have an impact.

Instead, Lambert and his team appear to have run out of both time and ideas.

Sadly and unbelievably, it’s not about safety and survival anymore.

It’s about passion and pride - the very least supporters deserve.

Rant over (for now).