IPSWICH 0 TOWN 0
A first clean sheet of the season earned Town a point at Portman Road, but the Terriers had the chances to win.
Nahki Wells had a shot cleared off the line in the first half before an Emyr Huws shot led to Joel Lynch missing a very presentable opportunity in the second as Town couldn’t convert when the chances came.
At the other end, the defence deserved to keep Ipswich at bay - but it took an outstanding late save from Jed Steer to preserve the point.
Disappointingly, James Vaughan’s return to fitness following his calf injury was marred when the striker was shown a straight red card with just two minutes of the game left for a needless act.
Captain Mark Hudson completed his return from the ankle injury sustained against QPR in late August by starting the game, although it was in place of Elliott Ward. The centre back had been impressive during his initial month’s stay at the Club, but had returned to his parent club AFC Bournemouth to have an injury assessed.
The other change came in attack where Nahki Wells – who netted three in two games against the Tractor Boys last term – replacing Mustapha Carayol in a switch to an orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich side was as relentless as ever in its intention to get the ball forward quickly, but the Terriers negated the threat throughout the opening half. In fact, a speculative 30 yard shot from midfielder Cole Skuse that bobbled into Jed Steer’s waiting hands drew ironic cheers from the frustrated home support towards the end of the first 45.
Instead, it was the Terriers who made the running thanks to some amazing space afforded to them in behind the Ipswich back line. However – as was the case in the previous two games against Nottingham Forest and Wolves – they didn’t manage to take one of their chances.
Ishmael Miller was matching the physicality of Ipswich centre backs Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra and he rolled the latter easily on halfway inside the fourth minute to run clear. He reached the edge of the box before pulling the trigger, but a mixture of goalkeeper Dean Gerken and the covering Berra did enough to block the shot.
Miller rolled another tame shot wide when well positioned soon after before Harry Bunn was denied by the last defender twice as he drifted inside from the left, but it was on the other flank where the next big chance came in the 20th minute. Sean Scannell burst past the slipping left back Jonas Knudsen and saw Wells was completely unmarked in the penalty area, only to send his lofted cross straight into the hands of the waiting goalkeeper.
Wells had the biggest chance of all on the stroke of the half hour, only to be denied by Berra. The Bermudian initially ran off the shoulder of the Scottish defender to latch onto a routine flick-on from Miller only 10 yards out before lobbing the ball over the onrushing custodian, but Berra did enough to recover and hack the shot clear just as it looked destined to roll in.
As you might expect, Ipswich improved in the second half – with McCarthy bringing on David McGoldrick and then Daryl Murphy to bolster his attack.
Despite this, the best Steer had to deal with was two long range efforts from McGoldrick and Sears that arrowed straight at him. It would be unfair on the young custodian not to the mention the excellent command of his area his displayed all afternoon too, with a myriad of catches and punches to help out his defence.
Ipswich almost scored what would have been a highly controversial strike midway through the half as they played on quickly after Steer had put the ball out for Joel Lynch to receive treatment, but skipper Hudson was alert enough to put McGoldrick off when the cross came in and the ball flew over the bar.
At the other end, the biggest chance came in the 81st minute – and it was a big one. Jason Davidson’s long, diagonal free kick into the area fell to Emyr Huws and his drilled shot tested Gerken; he pushed it right into the path of substitute James Vaughan, but he deflected the ball into Lynch’s path and he could only react to divert the ball over the bar from close range.
Steer was called upon in the four minutes of added time to make a huge save when substitute Larsen Toure’s shot was deflected right into McGoldrick’s path; the Villa loanee stuck out a leg to somehow divert the shot around his left hand post.
Vaughan’s return was a welcome one – he had only played 12 minutes in the league this season ahead of this appearance – and he put himself about in typical fashion. However, he was shown a straight red card in the final few seconds for throwing the ball in left back Knudsen’s face after he delayed the taking of a throw-in, which will now result in a needless suspension.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Jed Steer; Jason Davidson, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Martin Cranie; Harry Bunn, Emyr Huws, Dean Whitehead, Sean Scannell (Mustapha Carayol, 67); Ishmael Miller (James Vaughan, 73), Nahki Wells
Joe Murphy, Tommy Smith, Jamie Paterson, Kyle Dempsey, Philip Billing
Dean Whitehead (37)
Town red card:
James Vaughan (90)