Dramatic finish, deserved point

BORING Burnley perhaps, but they went home with what they came for and very nearly picked up a couple of bonus points.Up until a dramatic last 10 minutes, five of which were added on, Ipswich never really looked as if they were going to breach a Burnley side centred round John McGreal.

BORING Burnley perhaps, but they went home with what they came for and very nearly picked up a couple of bonus points.

Up until a dramatic last 10 minutes, five of which were added on, Ipswich never really looked as if they were going to breach a Burnley side centred round John McGreal.

Thankfully, Matt Richards kept his word after telling the EADT he was due a goal and popped up with a terrific strike to finally crack brave Burnley.

Steve Cotterill's side made the Blues work hard for a point which so nearly evaded them for the first time at home this season.

It was not as if Joe Royle's men did not know what to expect.

The Clarets' tactics of keeping 10 men behind the ball when they lose it and launch forward in numbers when they have it has seen them concede just one goal before their Portman Road visit.

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As negative as it is, it works for them and they have as many points away from home as attack-minded Ipswich.

Burnley opened the scoring in the 19th minute when their superior numbers in midfield allowed them to exploit a mistake by Richard Naylor.

The converted centre back chose a leisurely stroll out of defence instead of the more accepted hoof and was caught by Micah Hyde.

Ian Moore pounced on the loose ball and immediately played it into Hyde's path, who in turn squared for his skipper Robbie Blake to place just inside the post and out of Lewis Price's reach.

It was inevitable that Burnley would defend the slender lead and have everyone bar Blake back.

Not that they didn't have chances of their own. Up until the dramatic last few minutes, the Lancashire club were well up with shots on target.

Wales Under-21 keeper Price, in for Kelvin Davis who is recovering from a strained back ligament, made a terrific reaction save to deny England Under-21 midfielder Richard Chaplow and was quick to pounce on the follow-up.

He saved a good Blake shot one-handed down by a post and tipped another over the bar, also denying Graham Branch in the meantime.

Ipswich too had chances, but many were steered high or wide. Pablo Counago was introduced five minutes after the break as a straight swap for Dean Bowditch, to the puzzlement of some supporters who felt three strikers of different styles would have caused Burnley more problems.

The Spaniard showed his willingness to work for the cause by closing down and holding the ball up and won a corner through sheer persistence.

Unfortunately, he also scorned a great one-on-one opportunity as Danny Coyne made a good save with his legs. Coyne turned away a strong drive by Ian Westlake and saw the frame of his goal rattled five times.

Three minutes after the break Kevin Horlock dipped a free kick against the crossbar.

Tommy Miller hit bar and post from the same shot, while Counago struck an upright from the follow up.

All this came in the minutes following Richards' first goal of the season, which was preceded by Kuqi having a header superbly saved by Coyne.

In the run-up to Richards' goal, Clarets defender Mo Camara was feigning injury in the area, clearly hoping for the ball to be kicked out.

Instead, Horlock launched another one of those telling long balls that Kuqi chested down. He ignored the prone Guinea international and went round him before delivering a low cross, which was missed by Westlake in the centre of the area but landed at Richards' feet.

The 19-year-old defender steadied himself before rifling a fierce shot back across goal that went in off the far post.

It was just about what Town deserved, especially after being denied a clear penalty in the first half when Frank Sinclair was doing an impression of a basketball guard and Westlake's attempted cross struck a raised arm.

An indomitable spirit, personified by Jason De Vos's insistence to play with a broken toe, bore fruit once more and he produced a goal-line clearance to deny Blake.

Not for nothing are Town the leading scorers in this division, and going all-out attack suits them better than having to try to defend.

They are bound to get more practice at trying to break down teams who pack their defences at Portman Road and will need to find a little more guile and craftiness.

For too long a period they played to Burnley's strength by pumping the ball straight down their throats.

Bowditch had the brain, if not the brawn, and showed some clever touches in the first half. He might have weaved his way through but the one time he could have had a shot, the England Under-19 star chose an extra pass which went nowhere. He hit a lovely curling shot across goal but it faded past the target.

The pace and goalscoring ability of Darren Bent, out for another week or so with a hamstring problem, was missed but just like negative tactics from visitors, Town have to get round it.

The Blues maintained their unbeaten home record and now need to improve their away-day tally.

Thankfully they can't play like Burnley, boring or otherwise, and with one win as good as three draws, it is likely there won't be much sitting back at Leicester tomorrow.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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