It could have been 7-7

IPSWICH Town boss Paul Jewell admitted the Championship cracker with Middlesbrough, packed with thrills and spills, could have ended in a 7-7 draw.

IPSWICH Town boss Paul Jewell admitted the Championship cracker with Middlesbrough, packed with thrills and spills, could have ended in a 7-7 draw.

In addition to the three goals scored by either side, chances also went begging during a frantic second period.

It was end-to-end entertainment, and despite Town failing to record a fourth win on the bounce, for the first time in six-and-a-half years, the Portman Road faithful could have few complaints.

It was terrific entertainment, a far cry from some of the dark days under previous boss Roy Keane, when Town always struggled to rally from losing positions.

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Town were coasting at 1-0 up, through Grant Leadbitter’s seventh minute goal, before falling 3-1 behind through goals from super sub Andy Halliday, striker Scott McDonald and wide-man Andrew Taylor.

Middlesbrough looked home and dry, but they hadn’t bargained for Town’s barn-storming last half-hour.

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Connor Wickham headed home on 63 minutes, and Leadbitter swept home a 77th minute penalty to ensure a point.

“We started the game really well, and could have been ahead before we went 1-0 up,” explained Jewell.

“Then all of a sudden two mistakes and they were back in it. We looked nervous and it could have finished seven-all that game.

“Our keeper (Arran Lee-Barrett) has made two vitals saves at 3-1 down, and their keeper (Paul Smith) made three great saves at 3-3.

“So from a defensive point of view it was not a good night, but it was from a character point of view, because we have come back 3-1 down and got a point.

“We also finished well. The game was end-to-end.

“Our fans will go home entertained and, as I have said, it could have finished 7-7.

“Our two centre-halves (Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney) have been brilliant since I’ve been here, but tonight was not their best night. Middlesbrough’s two front players caused them a lot of problems, but only after the first half-hour.

“One mistake led to another, which led to another, and you could suddenly feel the edginess and nervousness throughout the team.

“The whole team, not just the back four, are at times a bit loose, and teams break on us a bit quick, certainly at home, where we have got to try and knuckle down,” added Jewell.

‘Boro boss Tony Mowbray, the former Town defender, captain and coach, admitted: “We were a tired team at the death. We had a massive game at Sheffield United on Saturday, and that really took it out of us, but you have to give Ipswich great credit to keep going.

“They showed great desire not to get beaten. It was an open and attractive game of football,” added Mowbray.

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