Sat 01 Apr 17
at 18:15 PM
Report: Ipswich Town 1 Blues 1
Blues left Suffolk disappointed despite a 1-1 draw at Portman Road.
A cagey first-half ended goalless but Blues got out the traps quickly after the break with Jonathan Grounds netting his first goal of the season, three minutes in.
Blues kept on the pressure and should have made it at least 2-0 before Grant Ward equalised after 72 minutes.
Blues stuck to the task however and had a chance late on through Clayton Donaldson, but it wasn’t enough to leave with all three points.
Gianfranco Zola named the same starting 11 for the third successive game with Cheick Keita replacing Jacques Maghoma in the only change on the bench.
Blues started with the usual 3-5-2 and found themselves matched up by an Ipswich side who’d made three changes.
Zola's side started brightly and had the better of the early exchanges.
Lukas Jutkiewicz overhit his pass as David Davis charged through on goal just seven minutes in, whilst Craig Gardner’s excellent free-kick from the left grazed off Christophe Berra’s head and into Bartosz Bialkowski’s grasp.
The hosts settled after a nervy start with David McGoldrick going close twice.
The striker miscued from 10 yards after Blues failed to clear and minutes later he forced Tomasz Kuszczak into a terrific low save from a similar position.
Ipswich finished strongly and had a goal disallowed through Freddie Sears and a handball appeal in the area rejected. Both decisions were correct and it set-up a second-half that Blues kicked into life.
Grounds picked up Craig Gardner’s pass and found Jutkiewicz on the edge of the area. The defender carried on his run and with Jonas Knudsen sitting deep, he was able to latch onto Jutkiewicz’s parried shot to give Blues the lead and his first goal of the season.
Blues' tails were up and they should have doubled their advantage before the hour mark.
Gardner’s reverse pass into the area put Jutkiewicz through but once again he was thwarted by the ‘keeper Bialkowski.
The striker was bullying the Ipswich defence and he was able to engineer a chance for Nsue.
Similar to the goal, Nsue continued his run and picked up a loose ball, but as he was going away he couldn’t wrap his left-foot round the ball and it sailed wide.
A double change for Ipswich encouraged them forward and they got an equaliser that stunned Blues.
Ward drove towards the byline, crossed and the ball looped over Kuszczak and into the far corner.
The ‘keeper couldn’t do anything about it and the hosts were immediately urged forward.
But despite a spell of pressure it was Blues who finished stronger.
Substitute Clayton Donaldson just couldn’t get a toe on the end of Gardner’s cross with minutes to go, whilst Bialkowski did excellently to tip over a deflected corner at full stretch.