Blues fight back to earn point

Southampton 1 Ipswich Town 1DAVID Norris scored his first goal for Ipswich Town as the Blues came from behind to gain a Coca-Cola Championship point at St Mary's Stadium this afternoon.

Southampton 1 Ipswich Town 1

DAVID Norris scored his first goal for Ipswich Town as the Blues came from behind to gain a Coca-Cola Championship point at St Mary's Stadium this afternoon.

After a very dreary opening period, Stern John put the home side into a 52nd minute lead with a fierce shot into the roof of the net, with Norris equalising three minutes later.

Both teams had chances to have won the game in a lively second period with Ipswich showing the form required if they are to mount a serious promotion push.

Velice Sumulikoski had another good game while Richard Naylor and Dan Harding were supreme at the back.

In their traditional blue-and-white kit Town defended the end where their fans were congregated in the opening period, and inside three minutes a cross from Counago was missed by Davis and Norris would have been clear if he had been able to control the ball as it came surprisingly to him.

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Davis came a long way out of his goal to head a long Norris ball away, and before the ball was cleared Counago gained possession, but his weak shot was easy for the keeper to deal with.

In the Saints' first serious attack the ball reached Viafara on the right of the goal, but he completely mis-kicked and got to his feet embarrassed while being jeered by both home and away fans.

In the 14th minute Norris went down in some distress after stretching to try to stop a Southampton clearance. Play was stopped and the £2million man received treatment from physio Endacott before being able to return.

Saints made loud claims for a penalty in the 16th minute when Saganowski took a tumble as the ball came over from the left with De Vos in attendance. A well-placed referee was happy for play to continue.

Sumulikoski (Shumi) lost the ball, but Naylor put in a determined challenge to regain possession, with the Saints now in charge and winning a succession of corners.

Ipswich were unable to break although Shumi's 22nd minute ball forward was a smart one and Counago should perhaps have done more than win a throw-in off Thomas who cleared in haste.

Lee awkwardly cleared a teasing free-kick from Idiakez, and then De Vos twice had to clear penetrating crosses into the away danger area.

Pearson chucked a bottle of water on to the ground in the 27th minute in frustration after striker Saganowski had been pulled up for hand ball as the Saints broke in earnest.

Walters, often a barometer of how well Town can play, was losing a few balls in attack at times when Ipswich threatened to make an impact on Davis in the home goal.

It was Walters who tried an ambitious 30-yard shot in the 32nd minute as the visitors picked the game up again after a lull.

A minute later, Lee, Walters and Counago set up Shumi for a 22-yard shot that was comfortably saved by a diving Davis. Within seconds Town were in deep trouble at the back with John having time to turn and shoot - with his left-footed shot striking a defender and eventually falling into the grateful hands of Bywater.

In the minute of stoppage time, Davis climbed all over Counago after a head-down by Walters - with Town winning their first corner.

There were no changes at the interval although Norris was now playing a more central role with Lee on the right. And Norris was denied his first Town goal in the 47th minute after being put into space by Counago.

Norris shot low from 16-yards and Davis dived to his left to stick out a hand and divert the ball a foot wide of the post for a corner.

The chance gave the Blues a boost, and they took the game to the visitors. Ipswich had Counago up front on his own with Lee and Walters wide and Miller, Norris and Shumi filling the midfield.

Viafara tried his luck from 30 yards, but sent his effort a similar distance away from Bywater's goal. But in the 52nd minute the home side took the lead.

JOHN battled with a couple of Town defenders for a ball that was crossed in from the right. His physical strength helped him create the space to rifle a 16-yard right-foot shot into the roof of the net.

It was a well-taken goal, and was a signal that Ipswich would have to step up several gears to get something from this match.

Magilton, dressed in a long overcoat, was now in front of his dug-out - and in the 55th minute he raised both arms skywards with delight after NORRIS scsored a fine equaliser.

The number 28 made ground down the right and lifted the ball into the penalty area and run forward to deliver a 15-yard left-footed low shot that been Davis at his near post.

The goal was greeted by more noise that John's earlier strike as blues fans started to enjoy their afternoon on the south coast.

Walters was given the ball with time to space, and the ex-Chester man drove a cross that went right through the six-yard box when a touch by anyone would surely have resulted in a second Ipswich goal.

Garvan came on for Miller after 62 minutes - with Lee now back playing alongside Counago up front for the visitors.

Garvan was already busy in the middle of the park, with Saganowski being replaced by McGoldrick after 67 minutes. Soon afterwards Lee set up Garvan who warmed Davis' hands with a left-foot shot from 20 yards.

Some poor Town defending in the 70th minute enabled McGoldrick to get in a near post shot from close range that skimmed the side netting to give Ipswich a scare.

McGoldrick had given the Saints more power in attack and with Viafara moving further forward and John always a threat, there was a danger for Ipswich to control.

A Counago header from a D Wright cross was spilled by Davis, but the Spanish striker was judged offside. Counago then saw his shot strike Davies, who went down as if he had been struck by a train.

Counago was replaced by Haynes before the resultant corner could be taken - with Davis collecting Garvan's kick while under severe pressure.

A rare booking for Ipswich came after 80 minutes when Lee was found guilty of an unfair challenge on Davies, with Haynes almost catching a through ball by Shumi.

In the 85th minute Haynes went down the left with Norris waiting in the middle unattended. The pass was delayed and the Saints were able to escape once Haynes wandered offside. Within seconds, Bywater distinguished himself with a stunning save - diving to his right somehow push away a shot from Idiakez.

At the other end, Lee beat the offside trap in the 87th minute, but got the ball stuck between his feet and was unable to get in a shot of any sort.

The chances were coming now as the clock ticked down - with both sides fancying their chances of a late goal.

Norris was penalised for a foul on Idiakez five yards outside the penalty area as the three minutes of stoppage time commenced. It did not look a foul - with Idiakez's kick deflected off the Town wall.

From the corner, Town somehow scrambled the ball clear. In the final seconds Baseya came on for Thomas, with an Ipswich corner being headed just wide.