Quinn hands point to Blades

A LATE penalty from James Beattie denied Ipswich Town a hard-earned victory over Sheffield United at Portman Road this afternoon.

Elvin King

Ipswich Town 1 Sheffield United 1

A LATE penalty from James Beattie denied Ipswich Town a hard-earned victory over Sheffield United at Portman Road this afternoon.

Tommy Miller kept up his 100% penalty record for Town when he netted from the spot in the 40th minute following a handball by Matthew Kilgallon that was spotted by an eagle-eyed linesman.

And Beattie made no mistake with two minutes left after Alan Quinn had a needlessly stuck up his hands to a Beattie shot that was going nowhere.

Town deserved a win but the decision to bring on Richard Naylor for midfielder Tommy Miller back fired with Town ultra defensive in the final stages.

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Ipswich made four changes with Owen Garvan suffering from a virus and Jon Walters struggling with a niggly hip/thigh problem. It was the first start Walters has missed since the opening game of the season.

Richard Naylor dropped to the bench with Ben Thatcher missing out completely.

In came Gareth McAuley to take over as captain from Naylor after recovering from a hamstring tweak, Tommy Miller, who was making his first start since Nottingham Forest away on October 21, David Norris and Moritz Volz.

The Blades, who had not won at Portman Road for 17 games, were without the injured Gary Speed - with Matthew Spring taking his place.

Following a lot of early sparring the game comes to life in the 14th minute with a slick Town move ending with Stead having a shot deflected wide after bouncing up in the air.

In the 25th minute Ipswich catch the eye again. Bruce's long ball forward finds Ambrose whose cross sees Shumulikoski unmarked but only able to volley well wide of Kenny's goal.

Within seconds, Norris has a low angled drive that beats Kenny and goes two inches beyond the far post.

And there is an even closer shave soon afterwards when Counago tries a right-foot first-time effort from 18-yards that beats Kenny but rebounds into play off the inside of the keeper's right-hand post.

Town keeper R Wright then makes a magnificent close range from Sharp following a corner, but an offside flag was up at any rate.

In the 40th minute Town take a deserved lead. Play continues for some while before the youthful referee spots Mr Comley's flag - with the assistant referee seeing a visiting hand ball following a Stead from the right touchline.

Kilgallon is recognised as the guilty party and MILLER keeps up his Town 100% scoring record from the spot. The number eight nets to the keeper's right - with Kenny going to his left.

Town started the game four points below their fourth-placed opponents and were seeking their third consecutive home clean sheet.

This game will be the main match in ITV's Championship programme that will be broadcast before they show Histon's FA Cup second round tie against Leeds United.

Just after the break, Beattie fires over when well placed and unmarked, and Volz saw his left-foot 20-yard shot pushed for a corner by the diving Kenny.

In the 59th minute, Bruce saw his shot headed clear by Naysmith after Kenny fails to deal with a Town left-wing corner. Naysmith was in the six-yard box and saved a certain goal.

McAuley got his head to a Blades cross ahead of Webber, and the ball goes right across goal to roll for a corner. From the 65th minute corner R Wright made a stunning save from a Kilgallon near post header - leaving the Blades player to look on in amazement.

Naylor comes on for Miller and Town go ultra defensive - and after defending well for most of the game they concede a penalty in the 88th minute.

It was Quinn who handled the ball following a harmless looking shot into the box by Beattie. BEATTIE takes the kick and blasts the ball to the left of R Wright for an equaliser that broke Town's hearts and delighted the visitors.


Ipswich Town: R Wright, Volz, Bruce, McAuley, D Wright, Norris, Miller (sub Naylor 81), Shumulikoski, Ambrose (A Quinn 74) Stead (Lisbie 89), Counago. Substitutes: Supple, Haynes.

Sheffield United: Kenny; Naughton, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naysmith; Halford (Henderson 78), Howard, Spring (Dyer 71), S Quinn; Beattie, Sharp (Webber 61). Substitutes: Bennett, Ehiogu.

Referee: Mr D Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 19,785.