Ten-man Blues nick point at Blackpool

Blackpool 1 Ipswich Town 1By Elvin KingA TRIP to the seaside proved bracing for travel-weary Ipswich Town when they ended a six-match losing run away from Portman Road with a hard-fought Coca-Cola Championship point at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool 1 Ipswich Town 1

By Elvin King

A TRIP to the seaside proved bracing for travel-weary Ipswich Town when they ended a six-match losing run away from Portman Road with a hard-fought Coca-Cola Championship point at Bloomfield Road.

It is now 18 consecutive away games since the Blues last won, but they showed plenty of character and resolve to collect a welcome point.

The Blues played for the last 26 minutes with ten men after Sito Castro was sent off for what the referee deemed to be a two-footed lunge on Wes Hoolahan.

At a dry and relatively mild Bloomfield Road, Blackpool took the lead in the 40th minute with a disputed Claus Jorgensen goal that looked offside.

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Jon Walters equalised in the 65th minute with a header just after Sito had been dismissed.

Wright slipped within seconds of the start, and McPhee went speeding down the right, but sent his shot well wide. The ball then went into the temporary car park that stands behind one goal as Town began on the back foot.

In the 26th minute, Blackpool had the first chance of the game when Burgess was unmarked at the far post to head down and just beyond the opposite post. And a minute later a hard driven cross from the right was touched forward by Burgess from inside the six-yard box and Alexander was grateful the ball was directly straight at him.

Alexander showed nifty footwork to dribble round McPhee after the keeper and De Vos got their wires crossed over a back pass, and with the ball bouncing high off the ground playing intricate football was not easy.

Blackpool were showing plenty of effort, but little guile, in a high-tempo match that had not risen to any great heights.

Flynn fired yards over as Counago continued to wince after colliding with the keeper after chasing the ball up to the keeper.

Town went behind in the 40th minute when JORGENSEN tapped the ball into the vacant net. After being booed and jeered for raising his flag consistently to signal offside, the linesman kept his flag down when Blackpool broke in a line of three. McPhee kept ahead of Sito and drew Alexander out of goal before playing a short square pass that left Jorgensen with any open goal.

Led by De Vos, Town protested strongly to the linesman as the home team celebrated their success.

Ipswich had still not had a shot on goal and were looking increasingly unlikely to do so, although Haynes saw his dipping volley in stoppage time following a corner blocked by the massed ranks of the home defence.

There were no changes at the interval with Town manager Magilton now in front of the dug-out after spending much of the first half in the directors' box.

Walters, now up front with Counago, flashed in a right-wing cross that went over the heads of his team-mates, before Wright won a running duel with McPhee to head the ball back to Alexander.

Haynes then took a stint to partner Counago as Walters dropped back to midfield where Roberts was now employed.

In the 56th minute, Taylor-Fletcher took the ball off a dozing Roberts and ran through the heart of the visiting defence to send a drive into the midrift of Alexander. De Vos tackled the midfielder as he went to shoot and suffered an ankle knock that needed lengthy treatment.

A minute later, Haynes made ground down the left flank, and his driven cross just evaded Walters and the far post as it scorched across the six-yard box.

Sito sent over a testing cross from the right that Rachubka struggled to push away, but in the 64th minute things were to turn sour for Sito - and Ipswich.

The Spaniard was judged by the referee to have made a two-footed challenge on Hoolahan. Mr Pike did not look like blowing for a foul despite reaction from the crowd, but when Hoolahan stayed down and started to writhe around he blew his whistle and regimentally raised a red card.

Town protested, but there was nothing they could do and although not perhaps deserving an early bath it was still a rather reckless if determined challenge by Sito.

McPhee headed wide with a diving effort a minute later when he should have scored, before Town won a 65th minute corner and equalised out of the blue.

Roberts swung in the kick and WALTERS provided a glancing header that entered the net off the woodwork. It was Walters' tenth goal of the season, and it set the visiting fans singing.

Before the restart, Naylor replaced the ineffective Haynes and Lee took over from Counago up front.

Alan Quinn, signed initially on loan from Sheffield United last night, watched the game having met up with his team-mates in the Blues overnight hotel in Blackpool.

Bruce was now playing at right back with Naylor renewing his partnership at the centre of the defence with De Vos. After 74 minutes Welsh took over from a hobbling Taylor-Fletcher.

Despite being a man short Ipswich were enjoying as much control as they had throughout the game with the home supporters getting frustrated. After 77 minutes, Morrell came on for McPhee and 60 seconds later Miller replaced Roberts for Town.

Town fans - all 1,459 of them - were situated along one side of the ground in a temporary stand that had no roof, but fortunately the weather was kind at a stadium that has no stand at all behind one goal.

Ipswich were still going forward with Garvan prominent with the home side taking off Flynn in the 81st minute and replacing him with Fox.

Hoolahan got plenty of power behind his shot from 22 yards, but the ball flew a foot over Alexander's bar, and Town had no scares in the three minute of stoppage time.

Before they left the field the visiting players saluted their fans who had plenty of cheer to take with them on the long road back to Suffolk.