Morecambe 1-1 Ipswich Town: Burns rescues a point on frustrating afternoon
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Wes Burns rescued a point for the Blues as they came behind to draw on an ultimately frustrating afternoon at Morecambe.
Town looked to be heading towards defeat before the Welshman popped up with a leveller inside the final five minutes, after Aaron Wildig had put the hosts ahead.
That goal ended Town’s impressive run without conceding and ultimately cost Kieran McKenna’s men in a game they once again had enough chances to win.
Just like in Tuesday night’s goalless draw with Cheltenham, Town completely dominated a first half in which Macauley Bonne had two big headed chances as James Norwood and Sone Aluko also failed to make the most of good openings.
They couldn’t find a way through, though, and while Burns’ late leveller limited the damage, it’s hard to think a point from this game is enough as the Blues bid to break back into the promotion race.
Results elsewhere see the gap to the play-off places extended to five, with Sheffield Wednesday in sixth holding two games in hand on Town.
Next up is a visit to Fleetwood next weekend.
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McKenna made four changes to his starting XI, in the areas we expected change coming out of Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw with Cheltenham.
In the middle of midfield, Tyreeq Bakinson was given the nod ahead of Tom Carroll, in the absence of Lee Evans, while the entire front three was switched once again.
Out were Kayden Jackson, Bersant Celina and Conor Chaplin. In were Norwood, Bonne and Aluko.
After a livewire opening to the contest, in which neither team managed to string together passages of play, the Blues produced the first big chance as a clever Bakinson ball found Norwood in behind the Morecambe defence. The Town striker couldn’t hit the target, though, as the ball flew behind.
Town were beginning to get the ball down, with move from left to right allowing Wes Burns to cross for Bonne at the near post. The striker could cleanly attack the ball as he was crowded out, with the ball falling at the feet of Aluko. He couldn’t get a shot away either, as he was closed down.
As the 14th minutes of the game passed, Town broke a club record as they racked up 548 minutes without conceding, at a time when the Blues were enjoying 75% of the possession had hadn’t faced so much of a corner when it came to Morecambe pressure.
A quick counter-attack, through Morsy, led to Aluko having shots deflected over and then wide, before the Town skipper had a shot clawed out of the top corner by Trevor Carson. The goalkeeper could only push the ball up in the air, though, with it landing on the head of Bonne. The striker headed wide from a tight angle, but would have expected to score.
Bakinson was the next to threaten, forcing Carson into a low save with a drive from outside the box, before Bonne’s second chance of the half came and went as he again headed wide when he should have hit the target at the very least.
The whistle blew on another half of Ipswich domination, in which chances weren’t taken, before the Blues returned for the second period with the same 11 players for a big final push.
Town found themselves defending during the opening minutes of the second half, before Bonne had a driven shot saved. But things soon got a whole lot harder for the Blues.
McKenna’s men trailed on the hour mark as a chipped cross from their left flank found substitute Aaron Wildig in space to head home into the back of the net and end the Blues run without conceding.
Town looked to respond, with Bonne having another effort blocked before being one off three players to exit, along with Aluko and Norwood as Kayden Jackson, Bersant Celina and Conor Chaplin came on in their place as part of a triple change.
Celina was the first to threaten, forcing Carson into a full-stretch save with a long-range effort, before Town’s persistence paid off as Burns managed to wriggle free and tuck a finish into the bottom corner to level matters.
A point didn’t feel like enough, though, with the Blues straight back to halfway in search of a winner.
It so nearly came when Jackson’s cross was met by Donacien, with the defender chesting the ball towards goal but seeing his effort saved by Carson.
That was as good as it got, though, as Town had to settle for a point.
Morecambe (4-1-4-1): Carson; Bedeau, O'Connor, Bennett; Fane, Leigh, Cooney (Wildig, 46), Diagouraga, McLoughlin, Ayunga (Phillips, 46), Stockton
Subs: Smith, Connolly, Obika, Gibson, Duffus
Ipswich Town (3-4-3): Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson; Burns, Thompson, Morsy, Bakinson; Aluko (Celina, 69), Norwood (Chaplin, 69), Bonne (Jackson, 69)
Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Carroll, Chaplin, Celina, Jackson, Pigott