Ipswich Town 1-1 Stoke City: Keane salvages a dramatic point for Blues in stoppage time
PUBLISHED: 16:56 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 21:56 16 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Will Keane rescued a point for Ipswich Town with a dramatic late equaliser at home to Stoke.
It looked as though a head in hands moment was going to cost the Blues as a lack of communication at the back between Bartosz Bialkowski and defender Jonas Knudsen resulted in the Dane nodding the ball beyond his goalkeeper and presented James McClean with an open goal to lash into.
It looked as if it wasn’t going to be Ipswich’s day once again but Keane rose highest in stoppage time to nod home a late equaliser as he superbly met Alan Judge’s corner.
Results elsewhere mean the gap to safety is cut to nine points, with only 13 games now remaining.
Lambert made just one change to his side following Wednesday night’s draw with Derby, as goalscorer Jon Nolan came into the side in place of Flynn Downes after the youngster left that game with illness.
Luke Chambers and James Collins remained sidelined with foot and hamstring issues, while Cole Skuse was fit enough to return to the bench after missing the games with the Rams with a virus.
Bialkowski retained the captaincy and was called into action early as he used his finger tips to turn Tom Ince’s cross, which looked to be heading into the net, round for a corner.
The Ipswich full-backs had their work cut-out against a Stoke side who looked to get the ball wide at every opportunity, with Myles Kenlock in particular having his hands full with Ince down the Stoke right.
But the home full-backs were having joy at the other end too as James Bree got in behind the Stoke backline before having his cross hacked away. Chalobah then shot straight at Jack Butland before Alan Judge flashed an effort wide as the Blues showed intent.
Sam Vokes then headed a clipped cross over the top after getting free of Matthew Pennington before neither the Welshman and international team-mate Joe Allen could connect with a low cross through the penalty area.
Stoke were in the ascendancy in what had been an even opening 45 minutes, before the Potters took the lead in calamitous circumstances.
A long ball, headed down by Vokes, led to confusion in the Ipswich penalty as Pennington shielded the ball from the oncoming James McClean. Bialkowski came off his line towards the defender and Knudsen, whose tame header bounced beyond his on-rushing goalkeeper and presented McClean with the easiest finish as the groans rang out inside of Portman Road.
Despite the nature of the goal the hosts were cheered off at the break and were on the front foot at the start of the second period, with a 25-yard free-kick from Judge rattling the Stoke crossbar early in the second period.
Peter Etebo then fired over for the visitors, before Lambert introduced the pace of Kayden Jackson in a bid to test the Stoke defence.
Gwion Edwards also returned from the bench, in place of Nolan, and carved out a chance down the right as he beat his man and crossed for fellow substitute Jackson to fire over.
There was to be late drama though as Keane superbly headed home to rescue a point.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Kenlock; Chalobah, Bishop, Nolan (Edwards 80), Judge; Keane, Quaner (Jackson 62)
Subs: Gerken, Nsiala, Skuse, Dozzell, Dawkins, Edwards, Jackson
Stoke City: Butland, Edwards, Martins Indi, Batth, Clucas; Woods (Adam 80), Allen, Etebo, Ince (Shawcross 89), McClean (Afobe 76), Vokes.
Subs: Federici, Bauer, Williams, Showcross, Adam, Afobe, Bojan
Attendance: 15,924 (1,138)