MATCH REPORT: Ipswich Town 1 Preston North End 1
Ipswich v Preston: Ipswich Town will travel to Lancashire for a midweek FA Cup third round replay with Preston North End after a scrappy 1-1 home draw with the in-form League One side.
David McGoldrick saw a penalty saved for the second successive game when Declan Rudd denied him from the spot in the 38th minute, but the striker – on for the injured Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – converted the rebound.
Preston were level within three minutes though when Kevin Davies coolly finished, the veteran striker played onside due to the fact that the injured Tyrone Mings was on the floor down by the corner flag.
A forgettable second half only really came to life in the final five minutes when Ipswich piled on the pressure. Frank Nouble’s header was scrambled clear though, while McGoldrick’s close-range shot was brilliantly saved by Rudd.
Defeat would have been harsh on the visitors, with the replay likely to be a week on Tuesday.
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Blues boss Mick McCarthy made seven changes to his starting XI, but several of the fringe players – including the likes of Anthony Wordsworth and Jay Tabb – failed to take their chance to impress.
Preston created the first real chance of the match in the 21st minute when Luke Chambers was forced to head the ball off his own line after Iain Hume had got on the end of a Davies cross.
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Ipswich simply hadn’t got going, with Town debutant striker Ebanks-Blake – making his first appearance since breaking his leg and damaging ankle ligaments on April 1 – hobbling off in the 28th minute with a tight hamstring.
The Blues had been limited to just long-range strikes in the opening exchanges, but were gifted a chance to take the lead in the 38th minute when Preston defender Paul Huntington stuck out an arm to handle Carlos Edwards’ corner at the near post.
McGoldrick had seen a penalty saved in the 1-1 home draw with Charlton on New Year’s Day. This time he went for the opposite corner, Declan Rudd guessed right, but the Norwich loanee could only palm the ball back into the middle of the six yard box and McGoldrick gobbled up the rebound.
Preston were almost level within two minutes. Rudd’s long kick up field was misjudged by both Christophe Berra and Luke Chambers, Hume ghosted onto the bouncing ball, but his toe-poked effort from eight yards out was saved by Scott Loach.
A minute after that and the visitors had equalised. It was another mix-up at the back for Town as Chambers and Berra attempted to play an offside trap not aware that right-back Tyrone Mings was down injured by the corner flag.
It meant that Davies was in acres of space when he received the through ball from Lee Holmes, the veteran striker coolly steadying himself before side-footing home.
In a scrappy second half, neither side were giving an inch.
McGoldrick fired straight at Rudd, after Preston failed to deal with a long Loach kick, while at the other end Loach was forced to claw an inswinging Gallagher corner off the line.
McCarthy brought on Paul Taylor and Ryan Tunnicliffe, for the disappointing Jay Tabb and Anthony Wordsworth, but it did little to raise the standard of the match.
Ipswich did suddenly liven up in the final five minutes, with one run and cross by Taylor scrambled clear after Nouble got his head on it and Rudd producing a fine close-range stop to deny McGoldrick after Nouble’s run and cross.
It was, however, too little too late. The unbeaten run may have been extended to nine matches, but this was a day filled with more negatives than positives for Ipswich.
IPSWICH TOWN (3-5-2): Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Mings; Edwards, Hyam, Tabb (Taylor 68), Wordsworth (Tunnicliffe 78); Nouble, Ebanks-Blake (McGoldrick 29).
Subs: Crowe, Anderson, Skuse, Hunt.
PRESTON NORTH END (4-4-2): Rudd; Keane, Wright, Huntingdon, Buchanan (Laird 88); Holmes, Kilkenny, Welsh, Gallagher (Hayhurst 90+); Hume (Garner 78), Davies.
Subs: Stuckmann, Byrom, Beavon, Brownhill.
Attendance: 13,534 (359 away)
Referee: Michael Naylor