WHERE to begin.

Another match, another defeat and another dose of disappointment.

Except this time it felt different, heightened by toxicity as Ipswich Town's disconsolate players left the pitch following Tuesday's 1-0 defeat against Fleetwood Town.

Blues fans have become resigned to dejection in recent seasons.

The lows have engulfed the highs and last year's relegation is now being compounded by mediocrity and underachievement in League One.

The club are wallowing, languishing and, seemingly, in freefall.

But to repeat the point made above, Tuesday felt different. A defining moment. A fresh blow and a new low.

When Ipswich hoisted the FA Cup aloft in 1978, Fleetwood were a non-league minnow, foraging in the Cheshire League.

That speaks volumes for one team's spectacular fall from grace and the other's meteoric rise.

On current form, despite the clubs' vastly different histories, pedigree and support-base, it's hard to see those paths changing.

Town's promotion 'push' has crumbled and, on the evidence of their limp, lacklustre midweek display, they look far from equipped to challenge for the top six.

A mid-table finish, at best, looks a more likely outcome.

While admittedly hamstrung by injuries and suspension, there can be no excusing such a meek performance, especially in a turgid and confidence-sapped first half in which they failed to register one meaningful shot or attempt.

While some changes were enforced, to make six was incredible. I was stunned by such wholesale, radical alterations.

For such a pivotal game against quality opposition, I wouldn't have considered dropping Luke Woolfenden and Freddie Sears (give the latter an hour and then take him off, if fitness is an issue).

I also felt desperately sorry for Brett McGavin, who was drafted in from nowhere, having last featured in a Trophy tie in early December.

The poor lad was overawed but to give him the hook at half-time was cruel; a bodyblow that will set him back in terms of his progression.

Thankfully, Sears came on for the second half and injected a bit of life, later with the help of Teddy Bishop.

But it was to no avail.

Fleetwood were the team with the ideas, energy and creativity.

Bar a couple of saves from keeper Alex Cairns, it was the most comfortable of 1-0 victories.

To be blunt, it was hard and uncomfortable to watch. Cringeworthy, in fact.

As were the scenes at the final whistle, when manager Paul Lambert and his players received a hostile reaction from supporters, especially those in the Sir Bobby Robson stand.

It followed a cacophony of boos, which in turn followed chanting aimed at Lambert and owner Marcus Evans.

Patience, it would seem, has finally run out. Tolerance levels have been stretched to breaking point.

Speaking pre-match, Lambert described Tuesday's match as "must-win".

At the time I thought it was an odd and unusual comment, even though true.

Fans and the media may love that soundbite but managers usually steer clear of such remarks.

It ramps up the pressure and leaves them with questions to answer when things explode in their face.

Lambert cuts a frustrated, jaded and battle-weary figure at the moment, short of ideas and enthusiasm.

It's the polar opposite to Fleetwood boss Joey Barton, who was nothing short of sensational in his post-match interviews. Lucid, eloquent, charming and engaging.

The moods in the two camps could hardly have been more contrasting.

Adopting a glass half-full attitude, you could argue the only way is up for Ipswich.

But with leaders Coventry City at Portman Road on Saturday, and given the club's alarming ill-health, it's hard to see anything changing soon. I dearly hope I'm wrong.