|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Stoke City|
Saturday, 16th February 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 1-1 Stoke City - Match Report
Saturday, 16th Feb 2019 17:11
Will Keane nodded an injury-time equaliser as the Blues drew 1-1 at home to Stoke City, James McClean having made the most of a Town defensive mix-up to put the visitors ahead three minutes before half-time.
Boss Paul Lambert made one enforced change to his team with Jon Nolan replacing Flynn Downes, who had been suffering with illness before being replaced by Nolan on Wednesday.
Cole Skuse was back on the bench after recovering from illness with Trevoh Chalobah continuing in the deeper midfield role. Teddy Bishop started back-to-back games for the first time since November 2016.
Skipper Luke Chambers again missed out due to his foot injury with Bartosz Bialkowski wearing the armband.
Stoke, without a goal in four matches and an away win since October, made one change with James McClean replacing Benik Afobe as they moved to 4-5-1 rather than their more regular diamond.
Stand-in Blues skipper Bialkowski was the first keeper called into action, pawing away an awkward Tom Edwards cross from the right in the third minute.
But Town were beginning the game where they left off on Wednesday and on eight Judge tried a curling effort with the outside of his boot which looped not too far wide of Jack Butland’s right post without overly concerning the England keeper.
The two sets of fans subsequently paid tribute to probably England’s greatest ever keeper, ex-Stoke man Gordon Banks, who died earlier in the week.
Pennington did well to cut out a Tom Ince cross from the right in the 14th minute, then reacted quickest to clear after Myles Kenlock had dallied in the area.
Stoke were on top and a minute later McClean crossed from the left and the ball eventually fell to Joe Allen, who stabbed back to Ince, who rather fortunately for the Blues blazed well over.
Town subsequently had a decent spell and in the 20th minute Chalobah struck a low effort from the edge of the box through to Butland after a well-worked move down the right.
On 28 Stoke worked themselves a chance on the edge of the area but Ince’s shot deflected away from goal. Sam Vokes stuck out a foot but sent it wide and in any case was flagged offside.
The visitors largely continued to control the game and in the 34th minute - soon after McClean had been booked for a clumsy foul on James Bree - they went close to going in front.
Ince whipped over a cross from the right which Vokes headed over from eight yards when the Wales international will feel he should have done better.
Four minutes later, a low Ince cross from the right flashed across the Town six-yard box with no one adding the final touch and then just past the far post.
But it was far from all Stoke with the half having been an end to end affair and on 39 Bishop skipped into the area before sending a low ball across the box but too far in front of his team-mates.
On 41 Nolan almost found himself space to shoot as he broke into the area but was closed down, but a minute later the Potters took the lead after a disastrous mix-up in the Town defence.
Knudsen got to a ball played into the Town box from the left ahead of McClean, with Pennington also in attendance, and the Dane headed back towards goal. However, Bialkowski had come off his line - with his call presumably unheard - and the Irish international was able to turn into an empty net from a matter of inches. It was Stoke's first goal for 404 minutes after four goalless matches.
Judge, like McClean and Blues team-mate Keane watched by former Blues boss and current Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, back at Portman Road for the second time in four days, shot over and then cut in from the left and struck an effort which Butland claimed to his left as the Blues sought to get back on terms immediately.
There was applause for the Blues as they left the field at the break having been a touch unfortunate to be behind given the nature of the game.
Stoke had, however, shaded the half having created the better opportunities with Vokes missing the best of the game’s earlier chances.
The Blues had put together some neat moves but as so often of late with the final ball or shot going astray and Butland hadn’t been significantly stretched.
Six minutes after the restart, the Blues were within a couple of inches of levelling. After Bishop had won a freekick with a trademark run towards the box, Judge curled a freekick to Butland’s left which cannoned off the post. Quaner looked to get on the ball but turned his ankle and appeared to suffering a painful injury but was able to carry on.
Etebo smashed over for Stoke in the 58th minute with the Blues passing it around neatly at times but without being able to create a chance, Judge’s freekick aside.
Match Gallery: 16 photos
A minute later Bishop made another strong run into the area and exchanged a one-two with Nolan but the ball was forced behind for a corner. In the 63rd minute Town switched Quaner for Kayden Jackson
Town began to take control as the game passed the 70-minute mark, enjoying long spells of possession but still without being able to carve out a serious chance with the Stoke defence remaining resolute.
On 76 Keane claimed a penalty when he felt a Nolan shot had struck Ryan Woods on the arm, however referee Scott Duncan felt otherwise.
The Blues continued to dominate possession and on 79 Kenlock scuffed a weak shot which struck a Stoke defender after a long spell of Town passing.
Gwion Edwards replaced Nolan for the final nine minutes and immediately made some impact, crossing for Jackson who acrobatically hooked over.
Town continued to take the game to the Potters as the game moved into three minutes of stoppage time.
And, after Toto Nsiala had replaced Bishop as an emergency striker, the Blues equalised via Keane. Judge sent over a corner from the right and Keane nodded into the net to Butland’s right to send Portman Road into relieved raptures.
There was no time for either side to find the game’s third goal before referee Duncan’s final whistle.
On the balance of the game overall, the Blues deserved a point having dominated for spells without creating many chances - in a manner which is all too familiar - while Stoke had few if any opportunities during the second half.
While it was a game the Blues were hopeful of winning on the back of Wednesday’s display against Derby, securing a late draw is still a relatively positive result with both Reading and Bolton losing 4-0 and Rotherham drawing 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday.
Town are now nine points plus goal difference from safety ahead of next week’s trip to Wigan and then a home game against the Royals.
Town: Bialkowski (c), Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Kenlock, Chalobah, Nolan (Edwards 81), Bishop (Nsiala 90), Judge, Quaner (Jackson 63), Keane. Unused: Gerken, Skuse,, Dozzell, Dawkins.
Stoke City: Butland Edwards, Batth (c), Martins Indi, Clucas, Woods (Adam 81), Allen, Etebo, Ince (Shawcross 88), McClean (Afobe 76), Vokes. Unused: Federici, Bauer, Williams, Bojan. Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland). Att: 15,924 (Stoke: 1,138).
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