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Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Birmingham City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 1st April 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 1-1 Birmingham City - Match Report
Saturday, 1st Apr 2017 17:23

Grant Ward’s 72nd minute cross-shot saw the Blues to a 1-1 draw with Birmingham at a fractious Portman Road. Jonathan Grounds gave the visitors the lead three minutes after the break but Ward equalised with a cross which fortuitously flew over Birmingham keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Brett Pitman, Freddie Sears and Jonathan Douglas all returned to the Blues starting line-up with top scorer Tom Lawrence and midfielder Emyr Huws both missing out.

Toumani Diagouraga dropped to the bench, while Tommy Smith, who only arrived back from New Zealand duty yesterday afternoon, was also left out of the 18.

Town switched to a 4-4-2 diamond with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal, Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen the full-backs and skipper Luke Chambers and Christophe Berra the central defenders

In midfield Cole Skuse sat deep with Douglas and Ward ahead of him in narrow roles to the left and right respectively, with David McGoldrick behind strikers Sears and Pitman.

Birmingham were the first to threaten in the seventh minute, Lukas Jutkiewicz playing a ball through to the breaking David Davis but Bialkowski came off his line quickly to claim.

The Blues were unable to create an opening in a scruffy early spell with the visitors having most of the ball. In the 14th minute Craig Gardner sent over a freekick from the left which grazed Berra’s head before Bialkowski caught on his line.

Town threatened for the first time in the 16th minute when, after good work from Douglas, Sears and Knudsen, a bouncing ball dropped to McGoldrick in the area but his shot was too close to Kuszczak.

The Blues were starting to get on top and two minutes later Sears found space at a tight angle on the left but his shot was blocked by Ryan Shotton.

Town briefly began to put the Midlanders under pressure and on 22 Spence cut in from the right but scuffed his shot wide.

There was a scare for the visitors in the 32nd minute when McGoldrick caught Krystian Bielik in possession on the Town left but his low cross was too close to Kuszczak, who claimed at a stretch.

A minute later Jutkiewicz sent a dangerous ball across the Blues box from the right but Davis arrived too late to add a final touch.

The Blues went closer to opening the scoring moments later, a loose ball falling to Sears on the right of the box after McGoldrick had fed Knudsen on the right. The former Colchester man’s shot rippled the net having struck a defender but having gone the wrong side of the post.

Town continued to take the game to the visitors and on 38 Sears crossed from the right and Knudsen’s flicked header very obviously caught Maikel Kieftenbeld’s hand, however from so close a penalty award would have been harsh.

On 41 Jutkiewicz looped a header over at the far post, then just before half-time Skuse was forced off having undergone treatment on the field after Davis had arrived late and caught him in the face after the Bristolian had nodded the ball to a team-mate. Kevin Bru took over with Douglas dropping into the holding role.

The rest of a not hugely enthralling half passed without further incident. Birmingham had started the stronger but the Blues had gradually got themselves on top but without being able to create too many opportunities, although McGoldrick and Sears had both gone close to scoring what could prove to be a vital goal in Town’s season.

But four minutes after the restart it was the visitors who went in front. Bialkowski saved Jutkiewicz’s shot from the edge of the area but Grounds reached the rebound first to slam in, however looking to have strayed offside.

However, no flag was raised and the goal led to the first boos of the afternoon from the home support.

The Blues immediately looked to hit back. Sears cut the ball back from the byline on the right but a defender cleared, then soon after Pitman headed wide before McGoldrick nodded straight at Kuszczak.

Birmingham went close to making it 2-0 in the 54th minute when Gardner played in Jutkiewicz but Bialkowski blocked superbly.

Just before the hour, Emilio Nsue took the ball across the area before hitting a shot well over. The Birmingham chances led to terrace abuse aimed in the direction of manager McCarthy, owner Marcus Evans and MD Ian Milne as well as a chant of “We want our Ipswich back”.

With the Blues making little headway in an increasingly poisonous atmosphere, loanee Dominic Samuel was handed his Town debut for Pitman in the 71st minute.

Match Gallery: 8 photos

And a minute later the Reading man was involved as the Blues got level in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Samuel laid the ball wide to Ward, who burst down the right and whipped over a powerfully hit cross which flew over Kuszczak and into the net.

The former Spurs man’s sixth goal for Town may have been his luckiest but it was also his most important.

Having levelled, the momentum was suddenly but all too briefly with the Blues, McGoldrick cutting the ball back from the left however without being able to find a team-mate.

On 79 the Irish international scuffed wide after battling to win a Bru clearance with Town on top but not able to put the visitors under sustained pressure.

As the match moved into its final minutes Birmingham began to look the more threatening side, Donaldson just failing to reach Gardner’s ball in from the right and Bialkowski pawing it out for a corner.

The Pole made his second superb save of the game from Gardner’s flag-kick which was arcing goalwards having been inadvertently flicked goalwards by McGoldrick until he clawed it over.

Town came closest to winning it in injury time after a corner was cleared to Bru, but the Mauritius international screwed his shot well wide.

The final whistle triggered more boos and further chants of “Marcus Evans, you’re killing our club”.

Overall the 1-1 draw was probably a fair reflection of the match. Having been the better side before the break, as so often this season the Blues allowed the opposition to gain the upper hand by going in front soon after the restart, although there looked to be a hint of offside.

From there the Portman Road crowd, which had been rather sullen during the first half, made their feelings known once the Blues went behind, only really getting behind their side again in a spell following Ward’s goal.

Town have now won just one of their last 14 in all competitions but have lost only one in their last 10.

The result sees Town remain 17th but now six points from the bottom three with seven left to play starting with Tuesday’s game against Wigan, who lost 2-1 at Newcastle.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Berra, Knudsen, Skuse (Bru 45), Douglas, Ward, Sears, McGoldrick, Pitman (Samuel 71). Unused: Gerken, Taylor, Rowe, Diagouraga.

Birmingham: Kuszczak, Nsue, Grounds, Robinson (c), Shotton, Kieftenbeld (Gleeson 86), Tesche, Gardner, Jutkiewicz, Davis (Donaldson 83), Bielik. Unused: Legzdins, Adams, Frei, Dacres-Cogley, Keita. Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire). Att: 16,667 (Birmingham: 952).

Photo: TWTD

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midastouch added 17:24 - Apr 1
With that awful line up we got exactly what most of us expected out of that game! As soon as I saw the terrible line up I knew we'd get a draw at best, in fact I feared worse! Draw your home matches and lose your away games, a recipe for disaster!

Mick Mugabe is like a dictator who is clinging on to power till the bitter end!

How can Marcus Heavens keep watching this rubbish and not act? It's simply beyond logical comprehension! On the one hand we have a highly successful business man, that much can't be denied. But his business skills simply do not seem to translate across to football whatsoever! Sad but true!

Sort it out please Marcus, it's time to wake up before it's too late or we might soon be languishing in League One!

midastouch added 17:26 - Apr 1
I'm starting to wonder what is worse, Douglas on the back of a shirt or Evans across the front?

Bluetone added 17:26 - Apr 1
McCarthy is trying to get us demoted in revenge for us not worshiping him as the brilliant manager he see himself as.
Get rid of him now before he can do any more damage.

iaintaylorx added 17:27 - Apr 1
So with a 6 pointer, he decides to play a bloke who cannot run, play a pass and he even said he can leave at the end of the season, but decides to throw Douglas into a game like this? What did he expect ro get with that team? Embarrassing! JUST EFF OFF NOW! Seriously started to **ss me off!

The sooner Mick goes, the better!!!!!

HALLSJ added 17:29 - Apr 1
Oh what a six pointer now on Tuesday anything other than 3pts and we could well be drawn into this mess

dalianwasexciting added 17:29 - Apr 1
Lucky goal to grab a draw (ie a victory in Mick's eyes) at home to a side in equally poor form since the departure of Mr Rowett.

The issue is with the ownership - a club with any nous would have removed MM way back having run his course, but this lot have turned a blind eye to awful football, poor team selections, any funding of the playing staff, the fans, the club and the name of the club. I can only surmise its what they want - ME got what he wanted - his name all over sky whenever Roy Keane had an opinion and presumably something is in it for his wider business, but whatever the situation is it seems he cares not a jot about our once proud football club.

I sat through the Duncan days, the McGiven days and the despondency of the current situation is a million times worse then back then.

TimmyH added 17:30 - Apr 1
Hugely predictable result (wouldn't surprise me if the managers agreed on a draw before the game) between two poor teams. Yes that 9 draws in 12 games! McCarthy trying to draw his way to safety!
I'm just plain bored of the club right now, god knows how I'll feel if Mick stays in the summer, probably take up knitting.

Chondzoresk added 17:30 - Apr 1
Glad I stayed at home to watch the paint dry, then into the garden to watch the grass grow. Poor, really poor, set up for a bore draw. I'm beyond despair now. I just live in hope that Dino goes soon. The sooner the better. But until then.

jas0999 added 17:30 - Apr 1
Very poor result. Inexcusable performance and overall I thought we were lucky to get a point. Very lucky equaliser. Can't believe the team selection. Skuse/Douglas rarely works. Very negative in a home game we needed to win. Mick will probably be delighted with a point and moving further away from relegation. Sums up the ambition of all management at this one great club.

First half was dull. Second slightly better. Boos and chants aimed at Evans, Milne and McCarthy justified in my opinion and also most entertaining aspect of the game.

How on earth MM is still at the club is simply beyond me. Quite unbelievable. Tough to justify a season ticket renewal at a higher price. The principle of it, not so much the actual increase. Evans, McCarthy and Milne out. Now.

martin587 added 17:31 - Apr 1
Utter Shambles.No fight,no bite,in other words Clueless.No midfield.Cannot score.Evans Out.MM out.55 years a supporter,I will Not be renewing my season ticket until the manager goes.
It's heart breaking to see this club run like this.It is a total joke,and how can Milne say on the radio today this is a good squad on paper.If it is just who is to blame.??
Evans is distroying this club.
MM is insulting us supporters with his tactics and team selection.

dalianwasexciting added 17:31 - Apr 1
HALLSJ - We are already in this mess.

blueboy1981 added 17:31 - Apr 1
........ did anyone of sane mind expect anything else ? ......... 'no such thing as a bad point' is all he has to offer.

And NEVER will have more to offer....... !!!

bressinghamblue added 17:32 - Apr 1
4-4-2, Douglas and Skuse, no Huws or Lawrence .... need I say more?

Go Mick, go now. You are the most boring, turgid, stubborn excuse for a football manager. We will be in League 1 unless you either grow a pair or leave our once great club. Sir Bobby must be turning in his grave.

I will not renew my season ticket until he is gone.

dalianwasexciting added 17:33 - Apr 1
The worse thing than the fayre served up is the total shi&e he spouts during his post match press conferences.

therein61 added 17:34 - Apr 1
I could not believe the starting line up which our leader put out desperately looking for a point(which he fortunately got!!!!!) the man is utterly clueless as to what it takes to win a football match his only saving grace is other results today and that is all that will keep us up.

MicksZzzTactics added 17:35 - Apr 1
So with me being onne of those here on TWTD who really intends to keep his word... and thus standing firm as a "boycutter" of both ME & MM the rest of this sad season!, ehhhh did I miss something in today's preperceived: Breathtaking, alllout attacking minded & us going for the win, full-value-for-your-hard-earned-money "SPECTACLE"???? :-) lol .... Hmmm on top of my own semi-depressed head I would initially imagine that 95 minutes of "In a different class" proper bloke 'Snooze Doggy Douglas' (46 of them alongside his immaculate sidekick 'WhatsMyExskuse') equals =

but obviously anyone among those imho ehmmm juuuust slightly Foolish Romantics aka "true" LET'S-BE-TOGETHER fans :-) who did went please feel free to correct me if I'm dead wrong on that otherwise fairly well-founded (considering previous "spectacles" featuring those two, and especially a whole full game?! of our very own Usain Bolt / Andres Iniesta HYBRID i.e. no. 22) assumption! lol

Incompetent ME & equally incompetent MM out! Yesterday, Today .... and Tomorrow!

therein61 added 17:41 - Apr 1
R.I.P Ipswich Town slayed by a clueless favourite picking excuse for a manager well past his sell by date.
oh sorry great point today Mick enjoy your pint tonight while patting yourself on the back of course the atmosphere in the ground will not have affected you one bit!!!!!!!

blue75 added 17:45 - Apr 1
Really easy to comment on this game went up 10mins into 1st half went down after 30mins didn't go back looking forward to McCarthy's bullsh1t on how good we were!! #mccarthyout!!!

pumppedlar2 added 17:48 - Apr 1
Says something about the current team spirit under MM, that McG never even acknowledged Bart for the brilliant save he made to deny the own goal that would surely have won it for Birmingham

vanmunt added 17:49 - Apr 1
If there ever was a team selection to say 'f@@k the lot of you' it was today. Sack him, sack him now for the love of all things Ipswich Town.

prebsa added 17:50 - Apr 1
Just not good enough. The chants in the north stand second half summed it up. Our club is being ruined by three people. Mick Milne and Evans.

Awful selection and tactics again! The dinaspur continues to pick the oaps he has available to him.

This club is in a seriously bad position and if nothing changes then there will only be one direction for us to go. Our home shirt is already pointing which way it thinks we are going and it's right!

Mick/Milne/Evans OUT


chrishants added 17:51 - Apr 1
5 man defence plus Skuse & Different class. What do you expect

walberblue added 17:51 - Apr 1
Bottom six mick and itfc. Like a really bad smell you can't find the source of. Someone who's walked in with dog mess on there shoe but you can't find it. where are you tonight/ on the a12 to bromley and some golf tommorow?

Taricco_Fan added 17:55 - Apr 1
“The definition of insanity is playing Skuse and Douglas over and over again, but expecting different results”.

- Albert Einstein

dalianwasexciting added 17:56 - Apr 1
prebsa - you are of course, spot on. However I would like to add the names of Clegg/Keane and Jewell to that list. The club lost its connection with the fans the day ME sacked Magilton on the back of a massive home win. Some players back then should hang their heads in shame for helping hasten that demise but the problems are being perpetuated, it can only mean one common denominator, and that is the clueless, aimless ownership steering inexorably towards further choppy waters.

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