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Match Report

 

Posted Fri 18 Sep 15 at 21:41 PM

Report: Ipswich Town 1 Blues 1

Birmingham City battled well against an Ipswich Town side that applied a lot pressure in the second half to claim a point at Portman Road.

David Cotterill's 22nd minute strike was cancelled out by a Brett Pitman penalty ten minutes later.

Manager Gary Rowett made three changes to his side following their first defeat of the season on Tuesday; Neal Eardley, Andy Shinnie and Demarai Gray coming in for Paul Caddis, Jon Toral and Jacques Mahoma respectively.

It was the hosts who started the brighter of the two sides.

Ipswich striker Brett Pitman tested Tomasz Kuszczak as early as the third minute, when his low drive from 25-yards was well held by the keeper down to his right.

Two minutes later, defender Tommy Smith went close when his near post header glanced the angle of the crossbar from an Ainsley Maitland-Niles corner.

Moments after, Freddie Sears went close as his snap-shot from eight yards fired narrowly wide of Kuszczak's right-hand post.

After weathering the early storm from the hosts, Blues created their first chance after 13 minutes, after a neat Shinnie throughball set up Jonathan Grounds. The Blues left-back getting the wrong side of Luke Chambers before seeing his effort smothered by Dean Gerken from close range.

In the 22nd minute David Cotterill fired Blues ahead. Shinnie, who looked lively in the opening 45 minutes, capitalised on a Christophe Berra slip on the edge of the Ipswich area which allowed the Scot to lay the ball on a plate for the supporting Cotterill, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

On the half-hour mark and the Tractor Boys were awarded a penalty. Maitland-Niles broke with the ball from inside his own half, outpacing Stephen Gleeson and Maikel Kieftenbeld in the middle of the park, before being brought down by Jonathan Spector on the byline after getting his shot away. With the Ipswich fans behind the goal appealing, referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot. Pitman levelled the match, slamming the ball into Kuszczak's left-hand corner.

Blues responded well and Cotterill nearly got his second of the night, when his swerving 30-yard free-kick was parried away by Gerken, which Ipswich scrambled away.

Maitland-Niles again posed a threat for the hosts, when he showed quick footwork to escape Cotterill and Kieftenbeld on the edge of the Blues area before firing over the crossbar.

In stoppage-time at the end of the first half, Rowett was forced into a change, Paul Caddis replacing the injured Neal Eardley, who appeared to pick up a shoulder injury.

Into the second-half and Blues looked to start on the front-foot as Demarai Gray drifted in from the left, skipped past two Ipswich defenders before dragging his effort wide of the mark.

Blues had substitute Paul Caddis to thank five minutes later. After Pitman got goal-side of the Blues back-line, Grounds' initial tackle inadvertently found Sears whose effort was cleared off the line by the covering Caddis.

Just after the hour, Clayton Donaldson saw his effort from six-yards well blocked by Tommy Smith just before Gray was crowded out in the box by the Ipswich defence.

The hosts began to apply the pressure and ask questions of the Blues defence. skipper Luke Chambers found himself unmarked from a corner but the defender pulled his instinctive effort wide.

Maitland-Niles had the best opprtunity to put Ipswich ahead after 72 minutes. The winger first to react to the loose ball, but the Arsenal loanee sliced his effort well wide of the goal.

After 73 minutes Jacques Maghoma replaced Shinnie and it wasn't long before Maghoma nearly made his mark. The winger pouncing on a poor header back to the 'keeper, unfortunately for Blues, Gerken was alive to the danger and got there just ahead of the substitute.

Into the final ten minutes and substitute Daryl Murphy lost his marker, but the striker's header looped over the crossbar to Blues' relief.

Five minutes from time and Clayton Donaldson was bundled down on the edge of the Ipswich area. Which prompted Cotterill and Gleeson to try one 'straight from the training ground' as Cotterill pulled it back for Gleeson who curled his effort just wide of the post.

Another Ipswich sub, this time David McGoldrick went close when his effort from what seemed an impossible angle fizzed past Kuszczak's post with a minute remaining.

Despite some nerves in stoppage time and the ball flashing across the face of Kuszczak's goal, Blues stood firm under some pro-longed periods of Ipswich pressure during the second half to claim a share of the spoils.


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