DEFEATS, like victories, come in all shapes and sizes.

Sometimes your team is unfortunate, robbed of the point or three they deserved.

Sometimes they suffer a blip; a bad day at the office, perhaps akin to Colchester United's surprise setback at Cambridge United.

Then there are defeats that set alarm bells ringing.

Optimism and anticipation before kick-off is replaced by frustration, disappointment but also anger and rage.

That's how I felt after watching Ipswich Town's dismal 4-1 defeat at home to Peterborough United on Saturday.

Crestfallen but furious, reminiscent of last season's harrowing home losses against QPR, Bristol City and Millwall.

The first was the final nail in Paul Hurst's coffin.

The other two symbolised a waving of the white flag, fluffing leads, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and confirming the inevitable - that Town were destined for League One.

Saturday sparked similarly grave concerns.

The Blues are fourth in the table.

On paper, one horrendous result doesn't alter the fact they're in the midst of a promotion push.

It should be exciting. It should be special.

Instead, it feels something is inherently wrong.

Here's a question. How much have Town improved since last season, since Paul Lambert was appointed boss in October 2018?

For me, it's marginal at best.

Have they made tangible progress? Is there any evidence of an upward curve?

The same problems are festering and that was painfully evident on Saturday.

At one end of the pitch, they still look anxious and brittle.

They're still plagued by costly, needless errors, just as throughout their ill-fated relegation campaign.

Nothing has been done to remedy that issue.

And at the other end, they simply don't offer enough in the final third.

Peterborough's forward-thinking players - all of them, not just their strikers - looked menacing, whereas the home attack was pedestrian and predictable.

Town can play well in fits and starts but, and it pains me to pose this question, have they become an average team in an average division?

Maybe so.

Maybe they've found their level and perhaps that's the grim reality.

In terms of facilities, history and resources, they're undeniably a big fish in a little pond.

But in terms of what matters right now - results and performances - something's wrong.

There's cause for concern and supporters deserve better.

They've stuck with their team, travelling in huge numbers to away games.

Over 21,000 witnessed Saturday's disaster and the average home attendance is 19,887.

That dwarfs most others in the division and is second only to Sunderland.

But how much longer will that unswerving loyalty last?

It seems odd to be this negative, with the team sitting fourth and seemingly having everything to play for, and I accept this piece is laden with emotion.

Perhaps I'm being knee-jerk. Perhaps I'm over-reacting.

Perhaps I need some perspective and perhaps I need a reality check.

However, I can't help being concerned.

I've felt that way for much of the season and what I witnessed at the weekend simply heightened the sense of panic.