|Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Lincoln City|
Saturday, 7th January 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-2 Lincoln City - Match Report
Saturday, 7th Jan 2017 17:22
Tom Lawrence saved Town’s blushes with an 86th minute equaliser, his second goal of the game, as Vanarama National League leaders Lincoln City came within four minutes of a famous third round FA Cup upset at Portman Road but had to be content with a 2-2 draw. The Imps went ahead through Theo Robinson in the seventh minute, Lawrence levelled four minutes later before the Lincoln striker netted his second on 65 and the Imps looked destined to win it until Lawrence’s late goal rescued Town.
Boss Mick McCarthy made five changes with Dean Gerken, Jonas Knudsen, Andre Dozzell, Freddie Sears and Grant Ward all starting.
Skipper Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse dropped out of the squad having been doubts with knee problems, while Myles Kenlock also missed the game having suffered a calf injury at QPR.
Also not in the 18 was striker David McGoldrick, who is understood to have suffered a groin injury in training on Friday, while another frontman Leon Best was ill.
The Blues bench included 17-year-old left-back Pat Webber, who signed from Worthing at the end of last season, 19-year-old central defender or right-back George Fowler, who is from Ashfield near Debenham, Irish U19 international midfielder Adam McDonnell, 19, who made his league debut at Derby on the final day of last season, and strikers Shane McLoughlin, 19, an Irish U18 international, and England U18 international Ben Morris, 17.
Christophe Berra skippered in Chambers’s absence, while Lincoln named an unchanged team.
Town started brightly and won two early corners, but the 4,838 travelling Imps in the Cobbold Stand quickly had something to celebrate with their side taking the lead with their first chance of the game in the seventh minute.
Nathan Arnold sent over a teasing low cross from the right and former Derby striker Robinson got in between Adam Webster and Emmanuel to divert the ball past Gerken from close range.
But the Imps lead wasn’t to last for long. On 12 Lawrence picked up the ball just inside the Town half and brought it forward to the edge of the area unchallenged before hitting a low shot which went under Lincoln keeper Paul Farman and into the net to level the scores and settle more than a few nerves around Portman Road.
While it was a great run from Lawrence, who has now scored four goals during his loan spell from Leicester, Lincoln will be disappointed not to have got in at least one challenge and Farman will feel he should have done much better.
Neither side threatened again until 25th minute when Pitman hit an effort from distance, which flew well over.
Lincoln had been having more of the ball but without creating an opportunity, while the Blues had been very wasteful in possession with Dozzell having been unable to get into the game.
Imps midfielder Arnold hit a low effort from the left of the area which Gerken saved comfortably on the half hour, then moments later, following a freekick, the Blues keeper grabbed a dangerous bouncing ball in the area ahead of Robinson. The former Ram claimed he had been fouled as he went after the ball but referee Lee Probert showed little interest.
On 33 Berra made an important interception from a Bradley Wood cross from the right after a quickly taken freekick not far inside the Town half.
The visitors continued to have most of the ball, however without Gerken being forced into further action, and on 35 an Alan Power shot from the edge of the box deflected over.
Town began to have more of the ball as half-time approached and in the 43rd minute Dozzell hit a low shot which deflected just wide from the edge of the box after good work on the right from Emmanuel.
The resultant corner on the left led to another flag-kick on the right from which Pitman tried to replicate his overhead kick against Bristol City but failed to get any power on it and Farman claimed.
Neither side created a further opportunity before the whistle was greeted by cheers from the visiting fans and a few boos from the home support.
Town had started brightly and then quickly got themselves back on terms after the potentially serious blow of the early Lincoln goal but subsequently struggled to impose their superiority on the Imps.
Lincoln had subsequently been on top but without being able to create a chance from which they might have regained their lead.
The Blues had started to press more towards the break with Dozzell getting more involved but overall the non-league side will have been much the happier going off at the break and Town needed a much better second half to avoid a replay or worse still a giantkilling.
Soon after the restart Knudsen slipped on the Blues left gifting the ball to Robinson but the Danish international quickly got back to block the Lincoln striker’s cross.
The visitors threatened again in the 50th minute after a Knudsen cross from the left was cleared, Berra eventually cutting out Arnold’s cross. Soon after, Gerken grabbed a curling Robinson shot from the edge of the box.
The Town keeper was forced into a more serious save in the 56th minute when Terry Hawkridge fed the breaking Arnold after the Blues had lost possession on halfway but Gerken was out quickly to block and Berra cleared the danger.
Powerful Lincoln number nine Matt Rhead headed into the arms of Gerken on the hour, then soon after Dozzell played the ball into Sears’s feet inside the area and the ex-Colchester man hit a shot on the turn which flew only just wide.
On 62 Gerken put Bru under unnecessary pressure with a quick throw from which Lincoln quickly regained possession but the keeper comfortably claimed Sam Habergham’s shot from the right.
The visitors had looked the more threatening side throughout the second half and in the 65th minute they went back in front. Berra, under pressure from Rhead, headed Imps skipper Luke Waterfall’s long ball behind him and into the path of Robinson, who gleefully smashed home his second goal of the game to send the visiting fans wild.
With sections of the Town support singing ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ in the direction of manager Mick McCarthy Lincoln continued to take the game to the Blues with growing confidence, while the Championship side were unable to keep hold of the ball or put the Imps goal under any pressure.
Match Gallery: 8 photos
Lawrence hit a 30-yard freekick over from distance in the 74th minute as the Lincoln support taunted the Town fans with chants of ‘Championship, you’re having a laugh’.
Town finally began to put the visitors under some pressure as the game reached the 80-minute mark. Ward brought the ball into the area on the right and fed Pitman, who turned his shot well over.
With nine minutes remaining Jack Muldoon replaced two-goal striker Robinson, whose last visit to Portman Road saw him score as Derby beat the Blues 2-1 in October 2012, a game which led to former Town manager Paul Jewell’s departure the following day.
On 83 Lawrence crossed from the left and Farman did well to get down to his left to keep out Dozzell’s flicked header.
Aside from that Town hadn’t looked like getting back on terms until another brilliant Lawrence strike saved the Blues’ blushes. The on-loan Leicester man picked the ball up midway inside the Imps half and smashed a low shot which flew past Farman to his left.
Having got back on terms, Town now went after a winner, Lawrence and Sears exchanging passes on the left of the area before winning the first of two corners.
But there was another big scare for the Blues in the final minute when Lincoln broke quickly and, with a blatant trip on Berra having been missed by the officials, Alex Woodyard broke into the area from Arnold’s pass, however, Emmanuel did superbly to get back and use his strength to dispossess the Imps midfielder.
Seconds before the whistle Berra won a header from a Knudsen long throw on the right but Sears’s looped effort towards goal was straight into Farman’s arms.
Loud boos greeted the final whistle from home sections of Portman Road, while the Lincoln supporters celebrated the draw which might well have been an even more famous win but for Lawrence’s equaliser. Manager McCarthy was also booed as he made his way to the tunnel.
Having failed to impose themselves in the first half, the Blues were little better at the start of the season and worse once yet another defensive error had led to Lincoln’s second goal.
The Blues gradually started to make some headway but it took a piece of individual magic from Lawrence, quickly emerging as Town’s player of the year, to save what would have been considerable embarrassment and a first FA Cup defeat to non-league opposition since the January 1960 loss to Peterborough United at the same stage.
From there the Blues might even have won it with the Imps finally put under some pressure but were unable to claim a winner which would have been very harsh on the visitors, who might even have grabbed a third goal on the break but for Emmanuel’s interception.
The teams, who both go into the fourth round draw at 7.10pm on Monday ahead of Cambridge United’s tie with Leeds United, will meet again at Sincil Bank a week on Tuesday when the Blues will have to be much better if they are to avoid an embarrassing replay exit.
Town: Gerken, Emmanuel, Webster, Berra (c), Knudsen, Bru, Ward, Dozzell, Lawrence, Sears, Pitman. Unused: Bialkowski, Fowler, Webber, McDonnell, Douglas, McLoughlin, Morris.
Lincoln: Farman, Wood, Habergham, Waterfall (c), Power, Rhead (Long 90), Hawkridge, Raggett, Arnold, Woodyard, Robinson (Muldoon 81). Unused: Walker, Marriott, Miles, Fixter, McCombe. Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire). Att: 16,027 (Lincoln 4,838).
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