SO much for the magic and romance of the FA Cup.

In terms of the latter, Ipswich Town's limp second-round exit against Coventry City was more out-of-date chocolates and garage flowers than pillow talk or candlelit suppers. The ultimate date from hell.

There was no chemistry, no spark and, sadly, it was another bruising example of what's become a depressingly broken relationship.

Town and the cup come together every year to try and resolve their differences - only to have the equivalent of a very public spat and storm off their separate ways.

We've seen it time and again and this was the lowest of the low.

Clearly, the FA Cup is not top priority and there's still plenty to be positive about regarding the club's promotion push in League One.

They're second in the table, breathing down the necks of the leaders, and it could and should be an exciting second half of the season.

However, this was a missed opportunity to glean extra confidence and momentum - traits that would have served them well in the league.

Instead, Town's performance was abysmal, individually and collectively.

Barry Cotter was horribly exposed for both goals, Emyr Huws looks a shadow of the player he was before his injury and James Norwood and Kayden Jackson posed alarmingly few problems for the Coventry defenders.

I'm already looking forward to Freddie Sears being fit again, up front alongside Will Keane.

There appeared a lack of effort, dare I say it, and certainly a lack of energy and enthusiasm.

A portion of the blame, surely, has to lie with manager Paul Lambert.

In fairness, he picked a strong team - one that, on paper, should have been capable of performing much better.

But his much-discussed rotation policy, seemingly making wholesale changes every week, is testing my patience.

It's nonsensical and eight changes undoubtedly had a very adverse affect on Tuesday.

Far from looking fresh and hungry, Town's performance was haphazard, disjointed and lacked cohesion.

There was no pattern to their play and the passing was awful.

The problem with sweeping changes is that it becomes hard to forge relationships and understandings.

In simplistic terms, defensive players need to become accustomed to playing with each other and likewise the attacking ones.

Only then will the team link and gel, so the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.

Slick Coventry showed what can be achieved when that understanding is there.

Town's performance smacked of the polar opposite and, all things considered, also taking into account the tiny crowd and miserable weather, it was a hugely depressing night.

The Blues' hopes of a cup run have been crushed for another season and those of us with a misty-eyed affection for the famous old competition will have to wait another year for an attempted reconciliation.

The question now is which stage they enter next season's competition?

Will it be the first round or the third, depending on whether they're playing in League One or the Championship?

If it's the latter, perhaps gambles like this week are worthwhile and all will be forgiven.

But not just yet.

A painful, harrowing night is too fresh and vivid in the memory.