Town fight back to secure draw

IPSWICH Town ended a difficult week with a passionate display in a rousing Coca-Cola Championship game at the Ricoh Arena.

Elvin King

Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 2

IPSWIC Town ended a difficult week with a passionate display in a rousing Coca-Cola Championship game at the Ricoh Arena.

They twice came from behind through Kevin Lisbie and had enough chances to have won, although Coventry twice struck the woodwork.

Clinton Morrison took advantage of the space offered him to score after 38 seconds - with Lisbie claiming his fifth goal of the season with a 12th minute equaliser.

Freddy Eastwood struck the far post and Lisbie was denied by Kieren Westwood when clean through on a couple of occasions.

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Former Southend striker Freddy Eastwood left Richard Naylor on the ground to put the home side back into the lead in the 56th minute. Lisbie equalised again after awful Coventry defending in the 64th minute.

Magilton shuffled his pack after trying to keep as consistent as possible with his line-up in recent weeks, With Alex Bruce, Ben Thatcher and Owen Garvan suspended, the Blues boss made five changes.

Bruce, Pablo Counago, Jon Walters, Darren Ambrose (all on the bench) and Veliche Shumulikoski (who warmed-up but was omitted altogether) were all left out from the side that lost at home to Cardiff seven days ago.

In came David Wright (after a chest infection), Tommy Miller, Kevin Lisbie, Alan Quinn and Danny Haynes, who was making his first start since August 23.

On paper this was a 'nothing' game with both teams destined for mid-table mediocrity, although a win for the home side would put them above Town.

Coventry had not won any of their previous six home games, while Ipswich had been well beaten in their previous three away games.

Town had a shock after 38 seconds when a cross into the box from the left saw Morrison completely unmarked in front of goal. He was held up but was still able to get in a shot from near the penalty spot that gave R Wright no chance as the ball flew inside the keeper's right-hand post.

It was another case of rank bad defending by Town and yet another early goal they have conceded.

In the sixth minute Miller and Lisbie combined and Stead cut inside from the left to test a diving Westwood in the home goal with a save by his near post.

Lisbie ran through three defenders following a long ball forward to take advantage of some poor defending to equalise in the 12th minute.

Lisbie ran clear to neatly beat an exposed Westwood with a right-foot, side-foot low to the keeper's right. The goal was greeted with delight by the scorer's team mates.

Four minutes later - with Town fans right behind their side - Stead cut inside from the left beyond S Wright to bring a diving save out of Westwood.

A wonderful 30th minute Quinn pass put Lisbie into a shooting position, but the striker failed to pull the trigger. The move carried on and Westwood saved a 25-yard low shot from Miller.

Home fans were beginning to get edgy with Town's dominance, although Town's defence still did not look that secure.

In a new formation, Lisbie was running free down the middle with Haynes and Stead wide up front. Miller was sitting in front of the back four.

In the 33rd minute, a great run by Quinn ended with Lisbie heading the cross just over the bar.

Eastwood showed good skills to create space around Volz before letting fly with a powerful angled 41st minute drive that thumped back off the far post - much to the relief of Town. It was a major let-off.

Seconds before the interval, Naylor's long pass put Lisbie clean through. Westwood came out to make a crucial block when Lisbie should have scored.

This was the first game in the second half of the Championship season with Coventry welcoming back Mifsud and having former Town keeper Marshall on the bench.

The weather was certainly warmer than last week and it was a rather pleasant afternoon in the midlands although there was no sun shining through.

There was little atmosphere at the start with the crowd level no doubt reduced by the closeness to Christmas and the non-performing of either side. But with plenty of goalmouth action there was plenty to cheer in the first period.

After the break (in the 50th minute) Norris put Lisbie clear of a square defence, but the striker delayed his shot and Westwood was able to make a block. It was another good Town chance.

Out of nowhere Coventry scored in the 56th minute. Eastwood and Naylor competed for a long punt forward and Naylor was left on the ground.

Eastwood went forward to thump the ball under R Wright from an angle, and close in. The goal led to a banner being raised among Town fans saying 'Magilton Out'.

In the 64th minute, Haynes played a one-two, and a defender got in the way to play the ball back towards his keeper. The ball landed in no-man's land and Lisbie was able to lift it over the head of Westwood for it to drop slowly into the unguarded net.

In this game full of goalmouth action McAuley deflected a 69th minute shot on to the top of the near post. It was another let off for Town.

Lisbie saw his 85th minute header cleared off the line by S Wright and Stead rolled an inviting ball right along the six-yard box.

Ambrose was denied by a diving save, with Walters' follow-up effort blocked by the keeper. A magnificent tackle by Naylor denied Morrison a late goal.


Coventry City: Westwood; S Wright (sub Hall 88), Ward, Turner, Fox; Simpson (McKenzie 76), Gunnarsson, Tabb, Mifsud; Morrison, Eastwood. Substitutes: Marshall, Doyle, Best.

Ipswich Town: R Wright; Volz, Naylor, McAuley, D Wright; Miller; Norris, Quinn (Ambrose 80); Stead (Counago 89), Lisbie, Haynes (Walters 84). Substitutes: Supple, Balkestein.

Referee: Mr R Styles (Hampshire)

Attendance: 15,598 (1,005 supporting Ipswich)