Solid Plymouth deny Blues

IPSWICH Town let two crucial points slip away against Plymouth Argyle in the Coca-Cola Championship at Portman Road this afternoon.

Elvin King

Ipswich Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0

IPSWICH Town let two crucial points slip away against Plymouth Argyle in the Coca-Cola Championship at Portman Road this afternoon.

They have now collected just two points from their last four home league games and could not break down a well organised Plymouth defence.

The Blues won numerous opening half corners and struck the post through Jon Stead. After the interval they only came life in a late rally - with Paul Gallagher striking the bar for visitors.

Town make two changes with Counago and Garvan coming in for Lisbie and Quinn. There was no place in the final squad for new Argentinean signing Civelli while Shumulikoski was not even on the bech for the second game running having made just one start since December 13.

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Plymouth, who flew to East Anglia yesterday, brought ex-Town loanee Walton back into their side with former Colchester player Duguid their skipper. Judge, who they signed on loan from Blackburn on Thursday, started on the bench.

Town paraded Civelli before the start - and he clapped to the crowd from the centre circle.

In the sixth minute Stead had a header from a corner cleared by Larrieu off the line. Counago sees his follow up effort booted clear - only to Balkestein whose 16-yard effort is blocked by a defender at the expense of a corner.

Two minutes Seip has his arm round the neck of Counago, but when the Spaniard falls the referee ignores claims for a penalty. It looked a likely spot kick and it was all Town at this stage.

Town were unable to find the fine flowing football they produced in the first half of Tuesday's win at Barnsley with quick-tackling Plymouth giving Town no time to dwell on the ball.

In the 28th minute the Blues went within a whisker of a fine goal. Walters crossed from the right and Stead sent an acrobatic right-foot volley thundering against the outside of the keeper's left-hand post.

It would have been a spectacular goal against a side playing in orange shirts and green shorts.

Two minutes before the interval after a half of at least 10 home corners, Miller fouled Mackie four yards outside the box. Gallagher's effort from a short free-kick was blocked with R Wright saving an 18-yarder from Walton.

It was a typical winter's day - with a chill wind blowing around the ground. Town have no midweek game as Nottingham Forest are involved in an FA Cup replay - with their next match at Swansea in seven days time.

Town had not won at home since December 10 in the league and taken just one point from the last nine on Suffolk soil. In contrast they had won their last three away league matches.

Norris joined Ipswich for �2million from Argyle exactly a year ago today, and he was sent of seconds before the end of Town's 3-1 win at Home Park in October.

Town took time to get into gear after the break - with R Wright saving a dangerous angled low effort from Gallagher in the 50th minute.

Two minutes later Fallon's effort from a left-wing cross came back off the bar with R Wright catching Mackie's follow-up six-yard header. Within seconds Walters had a clear sight of goal, but volleyed well over from 10 yards.

Plymouth looked the more likely team to win at this stage with Town's passing wayward, and unable to break down an organised away side.

Clark shot over in the 66th minute when well placed in front of goal as Plymouth broke well yet again and Town's fans getting restless.

In the 75th minute Walters has a shot cleared by a defender at the near post and then Garvan goes clear but is ruled offside as Ipswich search for that vital opening.

Haynes has a 87th minute chance, but drags his left foot shot a foot beyond the far post, and within seconds Mackie has the ball in the Ipswich net but is ruled offside. In stoppage time Lisbie has a close range header go straight at Larrieu.


Ipswich Town: R Wright; Bruce, McAuley, Balkestein, D Wright; Walters, Miller, Garvan, Norris (sub Lisbie 64 mins); Stead (Haynes 73), Counago. Substitutes: Supple, Thatcher, Quinn.

Plymouth Argyle: Larrieu; McNamee (Doumbe 80), Timar, Seip, Barker; Clark (Judge 80), Walton, Duguid, Gallagher; Mackie, Fallon. Substitutes: Maclean, Noone, Summerfield.

Referee: Mr D Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Attendance: 20,333.

N (SQUARE) TOWN loanee Jordan Rhodes was in form for Brentford scoring a hat-trick in the first half of the Bees League Two game at Shrewsbury.