|Ipswich Town 2 v 2 AFC Bournemouth|
Monday, 21st April 2014 Kick-off 15:00
Town 2-2 AFC Bournemouth
Monday, 21st Apr 2014 17:35
Paul Anderson and Paul Green were on target as Town and Bournemouth drew 2-2 at Portman Road. Anderson put the home side in front on 36 but the Cherries hit back via Steve Cook's overhead kick just before the break. Green's first Blues goal restored the lead on 56 but Matt Ritchie's deflected freekick gained a point for the Dorset club.
Christophe Berra and Luke Hyam missed out due to injury with on-loan Middlesbrough man Frazer Richardson handed his first Blues start at right-back. Skipper Luke Chambers moved to his preferred position of centre-half alongside Tommy Smith.
Anthony Wordsworth continued in central midfield in Hyam’s absence with Anderson returning on the right and Stephen Hunt on the left, with Frank Nouble dropping to the bench.
Neither side was able to carve out an opening in a scruffy first 15 minutes of over-hit passes at both ends of the field.
There was a scare for the Blues on 14 when Chambers lost his footing but the ball ran through to Gerken before Lewis Grabban was able to get onto it. Two minutes later, the former Millwall striker hit a low effort wide from distance.
On 25 Yann Kermorgant headed well over with chances still rare but with Bournemouth having most of the ball.
Two minutes later, the Frenchman went closer when he nodded Marc Pugh’s cross from the left just over. Soon after, Eunan O’Kane lashed wildly into the upper tier of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand when he should have done better after Ritchie’s mis-hit effort fell to him inside the box.
Hunt switched to the right and Anderson to the left as the Blues looked to get more into the game. On 34 Jonny Williams sent Aaron Cresswell away down the left but the full-back shot wide.
Despite the visitors having been the better of the two teams, the Blues went ahead in the 36th minute. Cole Skuse was found in unfamiliar territory on the right and sent in a low cross. Daryl Murphy couldn’t reach it, but Anderson smashed his fifth goal of the season into the roof of the net from a few feet out at the far post.
Town were close to adding a second two minutes later after Pugh had fouled Williams not far outside the area. Cresswell curled a goalbound freekick but Cherries keeper Lee Camp did superbly to tip it onto his right post.
Richardson did well to divert Ritchie’s low cross away from Pugh at the far post as the visitors looked to get back on terms.
On 41 Grabban shot wide after a blocked Ritchie shot had deflected to him in a good position in the area.
And it wasn’t long before Bournemouth were back on terms. A Charlie Daniels freekick from deep on the left was headed into the air by Cook at the far post and Cherries the defender acrobatically overhead kicked into the roof of the net.
Just before the whistle Wordsworth hit a shot into Camp’s arms when he might well have tested the one-time Town target more.
It would have been harsh on the visitors to have found themselves behind at the break as they had shaded what hadn’t been a great half, creating most of the better opportunities with Town having gone in front from their only clear-cut chance.
However, the Blues could easily have found themselves two in front before the equaliser but for Camp’s excellent save from Cresswell’s freekick.
Ahead of the restart, Town switched Wordsworth for Green and Anderson and Hunt swapped back to the right and left respectively.
The Cherries started the second half on top and on 50 Grabban almost latched onto a ball over the top having got beyond the Town backline. On 53 Nouble replaced Anderson, who had suffered a knock soon after the break.
Town went back in front with their first chance of the second half. After Williams was fouled by Simon Francis on the left, Cresswell sent over a freekick, Smith flicked it on and sub Green stooped to nod home his first goal for the Blues.
Murphy thought he was away and in the clear from Williams’s pass on the hour only for the linesman to raise his flag, wrongly according to the Town players.
The Cherries should have been on terms in the 65th minute when Francis crossed from the right and the ball deflected to Pugh who really ought to have scored but lashed wildly over. That was the former Hereford man’s last involvement as Bournemouth boss swapped him and Daniels for Tokelo Rantie and Adam Smith.
Having gone in front Town were largely content to sit back, soak up everything Bournemouth could throw at them and catch them on the break. On 77 Tyrone Mings replaced Williams with Cresswell moving to an unfamiliar right midfield role.
The sub was quickly into the action, heading the ball away from goal after Rantie had nodded it beyond the advancing Gerken who was outside the area as the Cherries broke following a Town freekick.
Ten minutes from time, the visitors equalised for the second time. After Smith had fouled Rantie five yards outside the area, Andrew Surman played a freekick short to Ritchie, who hit a low shot which took a huge deflection off Skuse at the end of the Town wall and beat the wrong-footed Gerken.
On 84 Mings flicked Cresswell’s freekick from the left just beyond the far post as the Blues looked to restore their lead once again.
The game was now an end to end, very open affair. Richardson dispossessed Grabban in a dangerous position inside the Town area, then almost immediately at the other end Murphy and Hunt were just unable to get on a Nouble cross from the left.
Bournemouth continued to take the game to tiring Town as the match moved into its final minutes. On 88 Gerken saved Kermogant’s shot from the edge of the box, then as the fourth official announced four additional minutes the Blues keeper did well to get down to his right to push Grabban’s low shot wide.
The visitors presented the greater threat during injury time, a mis-hit Skuse shot after a corner had been cleared to him 25 yards out the nearest the Blues came to a winner.
There was almost a moment of controversy right at the end when referee D’Urso blew the final whistle as Kermogant headed a cross narrowly wide.
A draw was probably a fair result. Bournemouth were the better side before the break, while Town presented a greater threat in the second half before going in front for the second time.
After that the Blues - who had had a day fewer to recover from their first Easter weekend game - defended in depth and were unfortunate with the Cherries’ second equaliser. But overall it would have been harsh on the visitors had they taken nothing from the game, particularly given some of the chances they created but spurned.
With Brighton drawing 1-1 at home to Blackpool and Nottingham Forest winning 2-0 at Leeds, Town are eighth a point from Brighton in sixth, while Reading, a point and a place behind the Blues, are in action at home to Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Town: Gerken, Richardson, Chambers (c), Smith, Cresswell, Skuse, Wordsworth (Green 46), Anderson (Nouble 53), Hunt, Williams (Mings 77), Murphy. Unused: Loach, Tabb, Taylor, Marriott.
AFC Bournemouth: Camp, Francis (c), Cook, Ward, Daniels (Smith 65), Surman, O'Kane, Pugh (Rantie 65), Ritchie, Kermorgant, Grabban. Unused: Allsop, Elphick, Harte, MacDonald, Fraser. Referee: Andy D'Urso (Billericay). Att: 20,356 (Bournemouth: 890).
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