Gallery: Southampton 1 Ipswich Town 1 – Blues hold on to secure Wednesday night FA Cup replay
Southampton v Ipswich: Ipswich Town will host Southampton in an FA Cup third round replay a week on Wednesday following this afternoon’s hard-fought 1-1 draw at St Mary’s.
The Blues led through Darren Ambroses’ fine 19th minute header, but a mix-up between keeper Dean Gerken and defender Christophe Berra allowed Morgan Schneiderlin to level the match up just after the half hour mark.
Ronald Koeman’s side dominated possession throughout the second period, but Ipswich – defending deeper and deeper – produced several last-ditch blocks in the box to force the high-flying Premier League outfit into a midweek trip to Portman Road.
That match will fall between long journeys to Manchester United and Newcastle for the Saints, while Ipswich have a home game with Derby and away game at Millwall either side of the fixture.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy made six changes to his starting XI following the 3-0 home win over Charlton five days earlier.
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Defensive mainstays Luke Chambers, Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith, as well as in-form strike duo Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick, all kept their places.
Bartosz Bialkowski was replaced in goal by Dean Gerken, left-back Tyrone Mings returned to the side at the expense of Jonathan Parr, while the entire midfield changed – Luke Hyam, Darren Ambrose, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Bru coming in for Cole Skuse, Paul Anderson, Jay Tabb and Teddy Bishop.
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Southampton boss Ronald Koeman, by contrast, made just two changes to a side that had just beaten Arsenal 2-0 at St Mary’s four days earlier. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, available again after suspension, and £12m striker Shane Long replaced Toby Alderwiereld and the injured Sadio Mane respectively.
After a cagey start, the match burst into life when Bru pulled a shot wide from the edge of the box. Moments later, Victor Wanyama rifled a crisp, low, 25-yard strike just past the left post.
It very quickly became an end-to-end affair. For Ipswich, Hunt fired straight at Fraser Forster following David McGoldrick’s cut-back. At the other end, Hyam produced a fine lunging block as Wanyama once again let fly.
Town broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with 30-year-old Ambrose – making his first start of his third spell at his boyhood club – directing an inch-perfect looping header into the top corner following Mings’ cross from the left.
It came at the opposite end to where the 5,500 away fans were, but nevertheless – having created a carnival atmosphere from the off – they enjoyed the moment.
Southampton responded well and came close to what would have been a very aesthetically pleasing equaliser when Graziano Pelle’s audacious volleyed heel flick, at the near post following Ryan Bertrand’s cross, went across the face of goal.
It then required two fine saves from Gerken to keep the Blues in front. First, the Town keeper was quick off his line to deny Steven Davis’ one-on-one chance with his legs, following Dusan Tadic’s perfectly-weighted through ball. Pelle fluffed the follow-up chance, allowing Tommy Smith to clear.
Five minutes later, as the game reached the half an hour mark, Gerken flung himself across goal to prevent James Ward-Prowse’s dipping free-kick from finding the bottom corner.
The Saints drew level in the 33rd minute, but it was more to do with Town defensive deficiencies rather than home pressure finally telling. There looked to be little danger when a high ball looped into the Ipswich box, but Gerken and Berra had a moment of miscommunication and Schneiderlin nipped in to stab the ball home from close-range.
Ipswich continued to play their part in an entertaining Cup tie and created the last two openings of the half, McGoldrick clipping an angled effort over the bar and Hyam sending a rasping 30-yard drive just the wrong side of the post.
Southampton had looked like they could shift up a gear in the first period and they did exactly that after the restart.
There were half-hearted penalty appeals when Shane Long went down following a challenge by Mings in the box, the referee waving them away emphatically.
Smith came to the rescue with a fine last-ditch block on Pelle in the six-yard box after Hunt had given the ball away to Long. Then it was Smith who needed rescuing, the centre-back grateful to see Murphy produce a fine tackle on Bertrand in the box after he had misjudged an aerial ball.
Koeman’s side were dominating possession for lengthy periods and Ipswich – who switched to a 4-4-1-1 system, with Murphy on the right and Ambrose off of McGoldrick up front – began to defend deeper and deeper, barely getting out of their own half.
Summer signing Cameron Stewart was introduced off the bench in the 62nd minute, the winger making his long-awaited debut following a series of injury set-backs.
It continued to be one-way traffic though, Berra making a last-ditch block following Pelle’s quick one-two with Schneiderlin.
Gerken again dithered when the ball was in the air, following a crossed free-kick from the right, but Town again scrambled the ball away in the 83rd minute.
Berra again intervened when sub Lloyd Isgrove looked to dance his way into the box late on, Town running down the clock in stoppage-time to ensure their name will be in tomorrow night’s fourth round draw (7.30pm).
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster; Ward-Prowse,Fonte, Gardos, Bertrand; Tadic (Isgrove 65), Schneiderlin, Davis, Wanyama; Long, Pelle.
Unused subs: Davis, Alderweireld, Reed, McCarthy, Targett, Seager.
Booked: Schneiderlin (31).
IPSWICH TOWN: Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Mings; Hyam; Ambrose (Skuse 70), Hunt (Stewart 62); Bru (Sammon 90); Murphy, McGoldrick.
Unused subs: Bialkowski, Parr, Clarke, Bajner.
Booked: Berra (32), Mings (53).
Referee: Martin Atkinson.