Ten-man Preston hold on for a draw

IPSWICH pick up just their second point of the season against a Preston side down to 10 men.

Mike Bacon

TEN-MAN Preston held out for a deserved point as Ipswich picked up just their second point of the season.

A Jon Walters penalty a minute from the end of the first half for Town, equalised Ross Wallace's 12th minute strike as this game finished 1-1.

But Ipswich will be disappointed their didn't take all three points from this one, as Callum Davidson was sent off as he conceded the penalty, handballing Liam Trotter's shot.

There was more urgency in Town's play and plenty of positives to take from the game, not least of which was Gareth McAuley's performance at the heart of the defence.

However Town go into the international break with a paltry two points, from five league starts and a bottom three position.

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Town showed four changes from the side that lost at Peterborough in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.

Full-backs David Wright and Damien Delaney were both left out, with David Wright not even on the bench.

In midfield Colin Healy and Alan Quinn were both on the bench, with Jon Walters and Liam Trotter starting.

Big target man Jon Stead was on the bench too, as Pablo Counago and Tamas Priskin started, although there was no place in the squad for Owen Garvan.

Preston included former Colchester United man Liam Chilvers and former Blue Veliche Shumulikoski.

Town had only beaten Preston once in their previous nine league meetings and with the start both sides had made to this current season, it was going to be tough for Roy Keane's side to make that two in 10.

Preston were unbeaten in the league going into this one, with Town only having one point form a possible 12.

Town started off attacking the South Stand in bright sunshine but in the third minute should have been behind.

Pim Balkestein completely misjudged a bouncing through ball and Jon Parkin was one-on-one with Richard Wright.

He really should have scored but Wright, who was so magnificent at West Brom last week, saved Parkin's effort.

Counago was busy early on for Town and there was a double booking in the seventh minute after Ross Wallace fouled Priskin. The Preston man saw yellow, as did Walters who took matters into his own hands getting involved with Callum Davidson near the touchline.

It was no surprise Davidson was the next booked when he fouled Walters down the Town right, and it had been a feisty start from both sides.

Preston took the lead in the 12th minute.

Ross Wallace picked up a fabulous cross-field pass from Paul Parry and teased and turned the Town captain Alex Bruce in the Town box, cutting one way and then the other, before firing left-footed and low off the inside of the far post.

It was a soft goal for Town to concede and the Blues were up against it once more.

Lee Martin showed some nice trickery down the Town left and Bruce put in a delightful cross that failed to find anyone.

Parkin was in acres of space as Ipswich failed to close down and in the 23rd minute Town won a corner.

That was cleared and Walters steered Tommy Smith's cross into Counago's path, but the Spaniard was offside.

Preston were physical and uncompromising but Town weren't being out-done in that department, however their lack of picking players up was causing problems.

Chilvers headed over a Walters cross in the 30th minute as Town pressed, but again the corner came to nothing.

Bruce's cross was flicked on and Martin's effort was deflected behind for a corner. It was cleared and straight up the other end the Lilywhites won a corner of their own.

In the 37th minute Ipswich almost equalised.

Martin's mis-hit cross was left by the Preston defence who were all at sea and Counago, seven yards out, saw his shot saved by Andy Lonergan in the visitors.

From the corner Richard Chaplow blocked Priskin's effort and a minute later Walters shot wide as Ipswich enjoyed a good patch.

Wallace stung Wright's gloves from 30 yards out and in the 43rd minute Town levelled through a penalty.

Jack Colback's cross was missed by Lonergan and Trotter fired six yards out, only to see Davidson handball it, with Lonergan nowhere.

Assistant referee Crouch put his flag across his chest to signal a penalty and Davidson was shown a straight red.

Walters took the penalty, but Lonergan dived low to his right to save, however the ball fell straight back to Walters who gleefully netted.

Town and Walters deserved their fortune and Preston quickly substituted striker Jon Parkin, in a move to tighten up, now they were set to play the second half with ten-men.

Town started the second half on the offensive from the off and Balkestein fired wide from 30 yards. Good work from Counago and Martin won Town a corner that saw Lonergan produce a wonder save from Priskin's header.

However Preston went straight up the other end as Chaplow broke and Colback cleared over. From the corner McAuley blocked twice from Preston efforts as they game swung from end to end.

McAuley, after a tentative start, was playing a starring role at the back as Town pressed for that illusive first league win of the season.

Town were pressing now and Smith fired across the goal, as Chris Sedgwick replaced Parry for Preston.

In the 59th minute Wallace's cross was just missed by Brown and a minute later Keane made a triple substitution.

On came Stead, Connor Wickham and Alan Quinn, with Counago, Priskin and Martin all going off.

Wickham was immediately in action, shooting straight at Lonergan, and then Quinn went on a mazy run that finished with Walters cross being met by both Wickham and Stead, who got in each other's way.

Wickham headed Quinn's cross behind and it was mostly Town now, with Preston only threatening on the break.

Walters fed Stead, who cut in, but his shot was blocked and with 20 minutes left it was Town pressing for the game's third goal.

Chilvers had to be alert to head round his post as Stead threatened and then Trotter put Wickham through, but his first touch wasn't the best and although he got round Lonergan, his pass across the box couldn't find a Blue shirt.

Wickham was making a fine impact and his trickery saw a cross just clear the bar.

Chaplow broke, but he had no-one up with him until Wallace joined him. Trotter could only flick Chaplow's cross to Wallace, whose shot was put behind for a corner by Wright.

Quinn was through on goal but couldn't take the ball in his stride as Preston frustrated the Town fans, winding down the clock at every opportunity.

Colback twisted and turned superbly but his cross was cleared and as the game headed towards the 90-minute mark, Chilvers cleared well.

McAuley headed over as the game entered five minutes of added time with Town attacking continuously.

But Preston were holding firm and Wickham couldn't get on the end of Bruce's long ball.

Town won a corner in the final minute but the ball was cleared and Town players were left hanging their heads, knowing they had blown a chance of their first win of the season.