Town fought back from two goals down in the second-half to earn a battling point at Ipswich, with top scorer Nahki Wells netting a brace to bring back a point from Suffolk.
Ipswich scored a goal in each half to take a seemingly commanding lead, but a bold double substitution from Chris Powell and some composed play saw the Terriers stretch their unbeaten run to six games thanks to the Bermudian hit-man.
With Ipswich posing an physical threat through its trio of strikers – Daryl Murphy, Conor Sammon and David McGoldrick – Chris Powell switched to a 3-5-2 formation, with Paul Dixon making his first start under his management at left wing back and Lee Peltier joining Mark Hudson and Joel Lynch at centre back.
The other change came up front, where top scorer Nahki Wells was restored to the starting line-up. He started brightly, but the first big chance of the game fell to strike partner Grant Holt. Town’s Tommy Smith – there was a man of the same name at centre-half for Ipswich – charged down a clearance from left back Jonathan Parr and the ball fell to Wells, who in turn found Jacob Butterfield. He drew right back Luke Chambers before sliding the ball into the area for Grant Holt, but from an acute angle he didn’t catch his shot properly and the ball rolled comfortably wide of the far post.
Ipswich gradually found a foothold in the game, forcing a number of corners. Sadly for the Terriers, that pressure told in the 21st minute. A near post delivery from midfielder Luke Hyam dropped over the head of near post sweeper Conor Coady and onto the forehead of Ipswich centre back Smith, who rose highest to plant the ball home firmly from around six yards. The simplicity of the goal will have disappointed Powell.
Town were still passing the ball decently in spells and took the initiative again, despite the setback. Smith’s measured pass down the right channel caused panicky moments for Ipswich on the half hour when Wells beat goalkeeper Gerken to it, but together with recovering defender Christophe Berra he did just enough in getting back and snuffing out the danger.
Wells then spurned a huge chance to pull Town even. Holt cleverly let Dixon’s pass into the area run into the path of his strike partner, who was entirely unmarked on the penalty spot. Nahki looked almost shocked as the chance fell to him – and promptly fired straight at a relieved Gerken with the goal at his mercy.
Butterfield and Hogg both hit speculative efforts well off target as Town continued to press, but Ipswich still carried a big set piece threat and almost made it pay in the 41st minute when midfielder Teddy Bishop’s free-kick hit goal-scorer Smith on the knees amongst a crowd and rolled towards the far post. Only smart reactions and bravery from Smithies and Lynch prevented a second.
The final chance of the half fell to the Terriers as Butterfield hit a long range volley that dipped viciously and forced Gerken to push the ball around his left hand post.
Ipswich came out with renewed vigour in the second-half – and soon extended their lead. Typically it was another corner that caused the issue; Town failed to properly clear the ball and when Parr recycled the cross, McGoldrick was left free to pull the ball back and Berra gleefully swept it home.
Town kept plugging away – Holt heading over one very useful cross from Dixon – but soon Powell made a decisive double sub, with wingers Bunn and Scannell replacing Hogg and Peltier.
The route back into the game was a 70th minute penalty. As Tommy Smith delivered the ball into the box, Chambers tangled with Holt and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. Up stepped Nahki Wells to dispatch the ball with aplomb and put Town back in the game.
Substitute Bunn soon had a shot saved by the trailing legs of Gerken as the Terriers continued to press, whilst at the other end Murphy fired powerfully wide from range.
Then came the equaliser! Smithies started the move, distributing a quick pass to Scannell. The winger did brilliantly to back Parr into the penalty area before giving the ball to the overlapping Smith, whose cross was perfectly measured for Wells to head home from close range!
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Lee Peltier (Sean Scannell, 63); Paul Dixon, Jacob Butterfield, Conor Coady, Jonathan Hogg (Harry Bunn, 63), Tommy Smith; Nahki Wells, Grant Holt
Joe Murphy, Danny Ward, Murray Wallace, Jack Robinson, Martin Paterson