Gallery & report: Ipswich Town surrender two-goal home lead to draw 2-2 with Huddersfield Town

Mick McCarthy watches on

Mick McCarthy watches on - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Huddersfield: Ipswich Town let a lead slip for the fourth game in succession as Huddersfield Town recovered from a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

Centre-backs Tommy Smith (21) and Christophe Berra (54) kept up their fine goalscoring records to put the home side seemingly in control, but the Terriers responded as Nahki Wells netted twice – once from the penalty spot (71) and the other a close-range header (82) – to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.

Huddersfield were arguably the better side in a scrappy first half which saw the ball in the air a lot more than on the deck.

Pantomime villain Grant Holt – back at Portman Road for the first time since scoring a hat-trick for Norwich in 2010 – was the first to waste a golden chance for the visitors, tamely shooting wide at the end of a rapid counter-attack in the 13th minute.

A war of attrition then gripped the game, long bouts of head tennis frustrating the crowd, before the Blues broke the deadlock in the 21st minute. Teddy Bishop’s inswinging corner was met by the head of Smith at the near post and he did well to adjust in mid-air, nodding the ball between two defenders on the line.

The footballing fare didn’t get much better, with the Terriers enjoying the better of the first half chances. There was certainly a sigh of relief around Portman Road in the 30th minute when the lively Wells nicked a long ball away from on-rushing keeper Dean Gerken on the edge of the box, Berra doing just enough to hold him up and allow the home custodian to recover.

Two minutes later, Paul Dixon’s driving run and through-ball was inadvertently dummied by Holt and Wells beat the offside trap. His side-foot attempt from inside the six-yard box was kept out by Gerken, the difficult rebound chance headed over.

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Ipswich had offered little going forwards, but they hit the post in the 41st minute. Smith got the slightest of flicks on Bishop’s inswinging free-kick from the left, the ball hitting the left post seemingly in slow motion before keeper Alex Smithies snaffled it up just in time.

And there was still time for one last Huddersfield chance before the half-time whistle, Wells’ speculative dipping volley from the edge of the box, following a short throw-in, well-saved by the alert Gerken.

Town started the second period on the front foot and it required a fine defensive block from Joel Lynch to deny Conor Sammon in the six-yard box following David McGoldrick’s low cut-back.

The Blues then doubled their lead in the 54th minute and, once again, it came from a corner. Bishop’s delivery was only half-cleared, Jonathan Parr lofted the ball back in to the area and McGoldrick cut the ball back for an unmarked Berra to ram home from close-range. It was the centre-back’s fourth goal of the campaign.

At that stage it looked as though Town were in full control, the crowd enjoying one particular battle between local boy Luke Hyam and Holt.

The game changed in an instant in the 70th minute though when Luke Chambers lent into Holt in the box when contesting a long ball. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Wells rammed the spot-kick beyond Gerken’s dive. Chambers was booked for his protests.

Suddenly Huddersfield could sense that they might be able to salvage something from the game and that’s exactly what they did, wing-back Tommy Smith dinking a cross into the box and Wells ghosting between centre-backs Berra and Smith to nod home from close range in the 82nd minute.

It was the fourth game in a row that Town have failed to win after taking the lead, injury-time equalisers conceded against Nottingham Forest and Blackburn before Cardiff came-from-behind to win 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Having previously gone eight-games without a defeat, Ipswich are now winless in five. They drop to 10th in the table, two points adrift of sixth-placed Norwich.

– Reaction to follow.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-3-3): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Parr; Skuse, Bishop (Anderson 74), Hyam (Hunt 85); Sammon (Tabb 74), McGoldrick, Murphy.

Unused Subs: Bialkowswki, Clarke, Ambrose, Bajner.

Booked: Chambers (90), Skuse (76).

HUDERSFIELD TOWN (5-3-2): Smithies; Smith, Peltier (Scannell 63), Hudson (cpt), Lynch, Dixon; Hogg (Bunn 63), Butterfield, Coady; Wells, Holt.

Unused Subs: Murphy, Ward, Wallace, Robinson, Paterson.

Attendance: 16,751 (486 away).

Referee: Richard Clark.

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