|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Peterborough United|
Saturday, 24th November 2012 Kick-off 15:00
Town 1-1 Peterborough
Saturday, 24th Nov 2012 17:25
DJ Campbell netted his fifth goal in nine games from the penalty spot in the second half as the Blues drew 1-1 with fellow strugglers Peterborough at Portman Road. Posh went ahead via Lee Tomlin during a dreadful first half with Town improving after the break.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy recalled Michael Chopra and Tommy Smith to his starting line-up with Luke Chambers and Daryl Murphy dropping to the bench.
New loan signing Tyrone Barnett is unavailable against his parent club, while keeper Scott Loach was back on the bench after his thigh injury. Peterborough, in white with black shorts, included summer Blues target George Boyd.
There was an early scare for Town in the fifth minute when Mark Little, the right-back in a five-man Peterborough backline, returned a Posh corner back into the Blues area from deep. Keeper Stephen Henderson came a long way for a ball when he should have stayed on his line and got lucky when it deflected into his right hand off Shaun Brisley.
Four minutes later, the Blues were behind after another yet defensive mix-up. Joe Newell found Lee Tomlin, who scored a hat-trick in last year’s 7-1 at London Road, inside the area and two Town defenders followed Saido Berahino leaving the Posh frontman an easy task of beating Henderson.
It was another woeful piece of defending from the Blues which wouldn’t have been out of place on a Sunday morning park pitch.
Town threatened for the first time on 10. Lee Martin crossed from the left and the ball was cleared to Guirane N’Daw, who looped a header which Posh keeper Bobby Olejnik punched away from under the bar with Chopra appearing to foul him.
Referee Mark Halsey failed to spot the shove but play was stopped anyway to allow N’Daw to receive treatment for a head injury, the midfielder returning to the field not long after wearing a bandage on his head.
Higginbotham headed a cross from the right into Olejnik’s arms but with an offside flag raised. The game, played in driving rain, had developed into a scrappy affair with Town unable to keep possession and Peterborough little better.
However, as the game reached the half hour mark the Blues started to get a bit more of a grip on the game, Edwards sending over a cross which flew just behind Campbell.
But it was the visitors who were still presenting the greater threat and on 43 Berahino, who earlier had been through on goal a couple of times only to be thwarted by a linesman’s flag, hit a low shot from the edge of the area which Henderson saved, albeit not entirely comfortably.
Town enjoyed their best spell of possession in the minutes before the break but were unable to convert that into chances with Edwards sending in a late cross which was too close to OIejnik.
It had been another poor half from the Blues, having conceded yet another dreadful goal. Peterborough had been only marginally better but neither side had been able to hold on to the ball for more than a couple of passes.
The sodden conditions may not have helped but both teams looked short on confidence and cohesion with Town only having threatened with N’Daw’s header.
The Blues had what looked a reasonable penalty shout in the 49th minute when Little grabbed hold of Martin’s shirt as an Edwards cross came in from the right. The Peterborough right-back clearly had a grip of the midfielder’s shirt but referee Halsey waved away the protests.
Town were starting the second period strongly and a Martin corner led to Higginbotham, twice, and Chopra having shots blocked. For Posh, George Thorne hit a low strike wide after a Boyd break down the left.
On 59 Tomlin turned from hero to villain. Martin tricked his way past the striker on the left inside the area and the former Rushden and Diamonds man tripped him. Campbell took the responsibility from the spot and hit his fifth goal in nine games for the Blues powerfully to Olejnik’s right and low into the corner of the net.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas replaced Chopra, who had shown willing but had had little service, in the 62nd minute.
Henderson did well to block from Tomlin after the Posh striker had somehow got in behind the Blues’ defence, before N’Daw made a superb 50-yard pass to Emmanuel-Thomas but the break eventually came to nothing with an Edwards cross headed away.
Town had made a significant improvement on their first-half showing though and looked the more likely winners.
In the 66th minute they came within an inch or so of going in front. Edwards played Orr in down the right and the on-loan full-back sent a low ball across the box which Campbell sliding in at the far post only just failed to reach.
Little curled over for Posh on 69 with the visitors now beginning to get on top and enjoying the greater share of the ball.
Daryl Murphy replaced scorer DJ Campbell for the final 14 minutes and moments later created a chance for Martin. Cresswell sent in a freekick from deep on the left, the Irishman headed down and Martin’s audacious overhead kick wasn’t quite strong enough to beat Olejnik, who saved to his left.
Henderson, who had been given stick from some sections of the home support in the first half, saved from Peterborough sub Dwight Gayle in the 78th minute.
Moments later, the Blues switched the underwhelming Reo-Coker for Luke Hyam, the crowd greeting the academy product’s introduction warmly.
Posh debutant Gayle cut in from the left on 84 and hit a shot only narrowly over, but as the game moved into its final minutes it was mainly Town threatening.
The Blues nearly won it in the 86th minute. A Town corner was cleared to Orr on the right and the loanee sent over a deep cross to Higginbotham. The centre-half’s looping header looked destined for the top corner until Olejnik superbly tipped it over.
N’Daw was booked for a foul on 89 when he appeared to win the ball, before Henderson saved to his left from Grant McCann.
Town continued to push, albeit unconvincingly, in the closing stages but failed to test Olejnik any further and after three minutes of injury time Mr Halsey blew his whistle.
It had been a better second half from Town, although by no means brilliant, and they certainly deserved their equaliser. The Blues probably had the better chances thereafter with Campbell unfortunate not to get a toe to Orr’s cross and Higginbotham only failing to register due to Olejnik’s exceptional save, although defeat would probably have been harsh on Posh.
Neither side will be particularly happy with a point against one of their fellow strugglers, especially with Bristol City picking up all three points at Middlesbrough and dropping the Blues to 23rd with the more tricky prospect of Nottingham Forest at home on Tuesday.
Town: Henderson, Orr, Smith, Higginbotham, Cresswell, Edwards (c), N'Daw, Reo-Coker (Hyam 79), Martin, Chopra (Emmanuel-Thomas 62), Campbell (Murphy 76). Subs: Loach, Hewitt, Chambers, Mohsni.
Peterborough: Olejnik, Little, Brisley, Knight-Percival, Bostwick (c), Newell, Thorne, McCann, Boyd, Berahino (Gayle 53), Tomlin. Subs: Day, Ferdinand, Zakuani, Alcock, Swanson, Clarke-Harris. Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire). Att: 16,427 (Peterborough: 519).
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