Cambridge United 2-2 Ipswich Town: Blues let their lead slip again in draw

Sam Morsy's first half effort goes just wide of goal at Cambridge.

Sam Morsy's first half effort goes just wide of goal at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town let a lead slip again as their two-goal advantage fell away, leaving them to settle for a point on the road at Cambridge. 

Things were looking good after Sone Aluko, a surprise inclusion in Paul Cook’s side as he replaced Wes Burns on the right flank, lobbed the visitors into the lead just 10 minutes into this contest before scrambling home his second just a few minutes before the interval. 

His brace looked like it would be enough to kill off the hosts, in a half where Ipswich dominated large portions of a high-tempo affair. But, once again, the Blues were at their most vulnerable after scoring and were pegged back just four minutes after their second as James Brophy fired home. 

Things were move nervy than they needed to be and Cook’s men were ultimately made to pay when Joe Ironside attacked a late corner to level for the hosts in front of a sell-out crowd. 

Sone Aluko celebrates scoring his second goal at Cambridge.

Sone Aluko celebrates scoring his second goal at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Had they held on to win, the three points would have moved Town back into the top half of the League One table ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Portsmouth. But the reality is, Town sit 15th after another disappointing afternoon. 

Cook made two changes to what was an intriguing Ipswich Town XI for this game, with Aluko and Idris El Mizouni coming into the side in place of Wes Burns and Lee Evans. 

Town’s first attack, inside the opening 15 seconds, ended with Janoi Donacien firing a cross out of the ground, before the second saw Conor Chaplin smash his shot against the front of the stand behind the goal as he collected Macauley Bonne’s lay-off on the edge of the box. 

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The Blues’ start was rapid, with Chaplin then bending a shot wide after just two minutes, following good work from Aluko, with the forward’s next piece of business a telling one as he gave the visitors the lead. 

The goal was much of Cambridge’s own making, as they played themselves backward into their own territory following an attacking free-kick, but Aluko did well to pinch the ball from the toe of defender Conor Masterson to put himself clean through on goal. Goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov then made Aluko’s task easier as he slipped, leaving the Town man to lob home.  

Cambridge had their moments but Town were on top of this game, with Chaplin shooting wide again and Bonne attacking Aluko’s near-post cross and forcing Mitov into a low save. 

Aluko was next to try his luck again, shooting from inside his own half after Chaplin had closed down Mitov, forcing the keeper into an error. But his effort was never troubling the empty goal and prompted frustrated looks from Bonne, who had peeled off into space and wanted the pass for an easy finish. 

Aluko’s next effort on goal came from just a couple of yards out but it was a telling one as, after a corner won by the effort of Chaplin and a deflected Bonne shot, Scott Fraser tempted goalkeeper Mitov into a flap. It didn’t end well, with Aluko scrambling over the line to double his and Town’s tally. 

The two-goal advantage didn’t last long, though, with a flowing move involving Joe Ironside and former foe Wes Hoolahan ended with James Brophy thumping home off the underside of the Ipswich bar. 

Cook’s men marched to the dressing room a goal up at the break and were under a little pressure once they returned, with Vaclav Hladky needing to save well with his feet after Cameron Burgess had allowed a ball to run when he really should have dealt with it.  

The second half lacked the intensity of the first but Town were still on top, with Chaplin attacking a Matt Penney cross, Donacien skipping past his man to the byline and George Edmundson turning an El Mizouni into the arms of the goalkeeper. But the lead remained at just one.  

George Williams, the Cambridge right-back, got forward to head wide as Penney did just about enough to hold him at bay as the hosts stretched Ipswich on a rare occasions, as Cook introduced Wes Burns and Bersant Celina in place of Aluko and Chaplin. 

Cambridge had a golden chance to equalise when Hladky came off his line to meet a ball which Edmundson looked to be dealing with, leading to the two colliding and Brophy having a chance to fire a volley into an empty net. Thankfully he drove over the top of the bar.  

The respite didn’t last long, though, as Ironside was on hand to turn home a corner which Town had failed to deal with, on an afternoon where Ipswich were again made to pay the price for not being able to hold onto a lead. 

Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Iredale, Digby, Jones; Brophy (Knibbs, 86), Tracey (Smith, 78), Masterson, May, Hoolahan, Ironside (Dunk, 90)

Subs: Mckenzie-Lyle, Okendina, Weir, Worman

Ipswich Town: Hladky; Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Penney; Morsy, El Mizouni; Aluko (Burns, 68), Chaplin (Celina 75), Fraser (Edwards, 83); Bonne

Subs: Holy, Nsiala, Harper, Jackson

Att: 7,944 (2,513 Ipswich fans)

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