Town are help by Pompey - report PLUS match ratings

Portsmouth0 Ipswich Town 0

IPSWICH Town had to work hard to maintain their unbeaten start to the season when they drew with relegated Portsmouth at Fratton Park

The home side started the game at the foot of the table but with their recent additions they looked a much better side than that, and the Blues will be happy with their point.

Both sides struck the woodwork and Marton Fulop made a couple of great saves in a match where Town welcomed back Connor Wickham.

Not beaten at Portsmouth in their previous 13 visits, Town received a great reception from their travelling 1,500 plus fans as heavy rain arrived as the players warmed up.

There was always a feeling that Blues manager Keane would spring a surprise and although he was able to name an unchanged side with O’Dea being declared fit, the Irishman named Wickham, Kennedy and Delaney on the bench.

Delaney was half expected to feature after coming through 45 minutes of a reserve game on Wednesday unscathed, but Wickham had not played any competitive football this season after damaging an ankle in pre-season and Kennedy had not been seen since suffering a hamstring problem at Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season.

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Portsmouth were able to name six substitutes after previously this campaign being restricted to four.

They are still officially in administration although Lawrence and Kitson made their Pompey debuts on reportedly �19,000 and �20,000 a week wages with Rocha and Kanu in the team after the south coast club was given permission at the 11th hour to register them on new contracts.

Ipswich, who were in an all-black kit, almost went behind in the third minute when a hopeful pass forward saw Nugent go clear down the left. His low angled drive was deflected for a corner by Fulop.

Great defending by McAuley saved Town nine minutes later when Lawrence was put through the middle. The number four used his pace to chase back and take the ball off the toes of Lawrence before the home player could think about getting in a shot.

In the 16th minute Hyam got the ball caught between his feet and when Smith’s attempt at a lunging clearance gave the ball away, Nugent was played into space and unleashed a fierce shot from 16 yards that beat Fulop and smacked against the bar.

Ipswich were moving the ball neatly going forward but were up against a Pompey side on top of their game and looking dangerous.

Priskin was playing wide alternating between both flanks with Scotland up front on his own and Hyam in his usual role in front of the back four.

A bright Ipswich move in the 29th minute involved Hyam, O’Dea and Scotland with Ashdown saving Leadbitter’s low shot – the ball spilling forward and the keeper just able to pounce on it before Priskin arrived.

A Leadbitter corner a minute later was headed on and O’Dea arrived in front of a vacant goal at the far post. A header or chest finish looked the best bet, but the Celtic loanee opted to try and side-foot home, but cleared the bar by some distance before crashing into the post. He should have scored.

Town won a succession of corners and throw-ins near the right corner flag as the interval approached but a stalemate was a true reflection of the opening period.

Home skipper Mokoena was carried off the field on a stretcher soon after the re-start with Priskin now up front for Town and Scotland in a deeper role than earlier.

A hesitant Town defence allow substitute M Brown to have a free strike from 20 yards in the 57th minute and Fulop has to go down smartly to his left to make a superb save. McAuley clears up the debris as the ball runs loose in front of goal.

Soon after, Dickinson catches Norris in the chest with what looks like a high challenge. Having just been booked, the home player is fortunate that the referee saw it as an accidental collision.

With the sun now shining, Ipswich a let off when a long throw was helped to the edge of the six-yard box where Kitson arrived on cue but hooked his first time effort over the bar.

Portsmouth were the best side Town have played this season by some distance and the visitors were having to work hard .

They went so close to taking the lead in the 70th minute when Scotland set up Norris and the skipper was two inches away from his fifth goal of the campaign when his 22 yard low shot struck the post.

Nugent was denied in the 73rd minute by a spectacular Fulop save soon after Wickham and Kennedy came off the bench.

It was end to end action to the end with Wickham looking lively up front although M Brown should have done better when shot weakly from in front of goal in the 82nd minute.

A minute later Wickham was denied right in front of goal by a block by Ashdown and as the game entered six minutes of stoppage time Leadbitter saw his low shot expertly tipped away by Ashdown.

Teams

Portsmouth: Ashdown; Ward, Rocha, Sonko, Dickinson; Lawrence, Mullins, Mokoena (M Brown 49), Nugent; Kitson (Utaka 82), Kanu (Ciftci 67). Substitutes: Flahavan, Ritchie Hughes.

Ipswich Town: Fulop; Peters, McAuley, Smith, O’Dea (Kennedy 72); Hyam; C Edwards, Leadbitter, Norris, Priskin (Wickham 72); Scotland (Healy 89). Substitutes: Murphy, T Brown, Murray, Delaney.

Referee: Mr S Tanner (Somerset)

Attendance: 15,445.

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PORTSMOUTH v IPSWICH TOWN

MATCH RATINGS

Portsmouth: Ashdown 7; Ward 6, Rocha 7, Sonko 7, Dickinson 6; Lawrence 8, Mullins 7, Mokoena 6, Nugent 6; Kitson 6, Kanu 6.

Ipswich Town: Fulop 8; Peters 7, McAuley 9, Smith 6, O’Dea 6; Hyam 6; C Edwards 7, Leadbitter 7, Norris 8, Priskin 6; Scotland 6.

MATCH STATS

Portsmouth

Goals: 0

Bookings: Dickinson 49

Sent off: -

Shots on target: 5

Shots off target: 8

Woodwork: 1

Corners: 5

Free-kicks conceded (including off sides): 9

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Ipswich Town

Goal: 0

Bookings: -

Sent off: -

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 4

Woodwork: 1

Corners: 10

Free-kicks conceded (including off sides): 11

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