Ipswich Town 2-2 Wigan Athletic: Keane brace denies Blues win
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Former Ipswich Town striker Will Keane rescued a point for promotion-chasing Wigan Athletic on an entertaining evening at Portman Road.
The forward levelled for the Latics inside the final five minutes of normal time, just as it looked as though Sam Morsy’s second-half goal was going to be enough to secure three points and a come-from-behind victory against the league-leaders.
Town were on top for the majority of this game, on a night the Latics could potentially have secured promotion, and looked good value for victory as the game headed into the final stages.
But Keane struck with his second of the game to claim a point, on a night where Conor Chaplin had also found the net for Ipswich with a composed finish from inside the box to initially level matters.
The results ultimately proved a frustrating one for Town but the performance was largely a positive one as they created a number of chances, tried their luck from range, put real pressure on the Wigan backline and enthused a 21,000-strong home crowd despite Ipswich’s season already being over.
Kieran McKenna’s men now finish up with Saturday’s visit to Crewe and a home clash with Charlton on April 30, while Wigan must wait until the weekend to have another chance to secure promotion.
McKenna made four changes to his side, with Matt Penney, Cameron Burgess, Chaplin and Macauley Bonne coming into the side in place of Dominic Thompson, Elkan Baggott, Sone Aluko and James Norwood.
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Wigan started the night knowing victory in Suffolk and success for Oxford against MK Dons would see them promoted to the Championship, and began this game quickly as Tendayi Darikwa found space on the right side of the box and fired a shot straight at Christian Walton.
Town were attacking early, too, with a clever Chaplin ball freeing Janoi Donacien to send in a cross which was deflected behind for a corner.
Penney was the next to try his luck as Wes Burns led a flying Ipswich break through the middle of the pitch, which ended with the ball being laid off to the left-back who ultimately fired the ball wide of the post.
Chaplin was at it again, skilfully turning Kell Watts and threading Bersant Celina through on goal, with the Kosovan’s shot ultimately flying low into the arms of Ben Amos in the Wigan goal.
Next it was Morsy, the former Wigan captain, who forced Amos into a save which didn’t fall kindly for Bonne as the Latics’ keeper spilled it, as Town began to dominate the game under the Portman Road lights.
Town were noticeably shooting from range in this game, with Chaplin firing in a shot which was blocked away before Bonne was flagged offside as he looked to follow up, as Ipswich’s dominance grew and grew.
Morsy was booked after being adjudged to have floored Joe Bennett, who took a ridiculous dive following minimal contact, before the two tangled again with the Town skipper this time hitting the deck inside the box. Referee Will Finnie didn’t oblige.
Town’s dominance had come to nothing as the first half reached its final seconds, but there was still time for Keane to glance home a brilliant header from a corner to give his side the lead. The former Town striker celebrated by cupping his ear to the North Stand.
Penney was forced off at the break, with Dominic Thompson taking his place, as Town returned on the front foot once again and saw plenty of the ball in dangerous areas before ultimately finding their breakthrough.
It came through Chaplin, who had been Town’s best offensive player during the first hour of the contest, with the attacker showing great composure as he picked up possession following Celina’s free-kick before lashing the ball into the back of the net.
He celebrated wildly as Town headed back to the halfway line, with a winner on the agenda.
McKenna introduced James Norwood in place of Bonne in a bid to make that happen, but they so nearly fell behind when Donacien’s attempt to coolly chest the ball back to his goalkeeper was ill-judged, allowing Bennett in to shoot. Thankfully Walton bailed the Town centre half out of trouble.
And, within a couple of minutes of a near miss, Ipswich were ahead. It was an excellent goal, as Thompson cushioned a Burns cross back across goal, where Morsy was on hand to rocket the ball into the roof of the net.
Portman Road went wild as the Blues came from behind to take the lead against the table-toppers but, with MK Dons losing and a promotion window opening up, Keane scored his second of the night as he converted a low cross from the right to level matters.
It wasn’t enough to secure a place in the Championship, but it was enough to peg back the Blues on what was both an encouraging and frustrating night for Town.
Ipswich Town: Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Burns, Penney (Thompson, 46); Morsy, Bakinson; Chaplin, Celina; Bonne (Norwood, 69)
Subs: Hladky, Baggott, Carroll, El Mizouni, Pigott
Wigan Athletic: Amos; Watts (Pearce 83), Whatmough, Kerr (Edwards 83); Darikwa, Naylor, Power, Bennett; Keane, Lang, Humphrys (Cousins, 62)
Subs: Jones, Massey, Shinnie, Aasgaard
Referee: Will Finnie
Att: 21,329 (402 Wigan fans)