Town's dismal home form continues

IPSWICH Town's dismal home form continued when they were held to a draw by a resolute Blackpool side in the Coca-Cola Championship at Portman Road this afternoon.

Elvin King

Ipswich Town 1 Blackpool 1

IPSWICH Town's dismal home form continued when they were held to a draw by a resolute Blackpool side in the Coca-Cola Championship at Portman Road this afternoon.

It is now just three points from their last five game on Suffolk soil - and surely means another season of Championship football.

It was a make or break game for Town as far as their hopes of catching the top six sides, and a test of how manager Magilton's men were fighting for him.

They tried hard but did not have the extra spark against a well organised Blackpool side.

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Town's fans gave their team full backing and it was mainly one-way traffic in the second half with debut-maker Luciano Civelli catching the eye showing plenty of promise.

Right back Alex Baptiste gave the visitors the lead in the 28th minute after poor marking at the back by Town. The Blues equalised six minutes later with Tommy Miller's fourth goal of the season.

Town made five changes for a game on a pitch that had recovered well from the FA Youth Cup match on Monday when proceedings were halted in the 88th minute because conditions were too wet.

Walters has a stomach bug, and suspended Quinn and Norris and Balkestein and Lisbie (both on the bench) also dropped out. Argentinean Civelli makes a surprise debut after just 61 minutes of a reserve game - with Thatcher, Haynes, Stead and Counago also coming in.

Reports that Civelli's European passport might not be valid have been countered by Ipswich today who said: 'The FA have checked the paperwork and cleared the player. Included in that was a look at his passport'.

Counago was making his 200th Town appearance as the home side looked to improve a record of just two points from their last 12 at Portman Road.

In the 14th minute Fox tried a shot from 20 yards after creating space - with R Wright getting down to stop the ball as it came off his chest. The keeper recovered in time to collect the loose ball.

Haynes livened up proceedings in the 26th minute when he kept his feet in the heavy conditions his side of the pitch to go round Crainey and centre from the by-line where Counago headed over.

Two minutes later full back BAPTISTE gave Blackpool the lead. He was played into space on the right side of the penalty area by Fox and shot before McAuley could get across. The ball entered the net at R Wright's near post.

Counago went through in the 32nd minute and left the ball to Civelli inside the box. His shot beat Gilks but was blocked by Baptiste on the edge of the six-yard box.

Town levelled two minutes later when Bruce played up to Counago, and from the well-weighted lay-off MILLER scored with a right-foot 18-yard shot that entered the net off the foot off the keeper's right-hand post.

Blackpool, broke in the 35th minute as the game came to life and O'Donovan had a great chance. He had a clear sight of goal - with R Wright getting down well to save.

Just before the interval Haynes tried his luck from 30-yards with the ball missing the far post by a couple of inches.

Two minutes after the break Stead tried an overhead kick from a Haynes cross - and Town were unlucky when the ball hit Gilks rather than the keeper making a save. It was a spectacular effort that so nearly brought a goal.

In the 52nd minute R Wright did well to hold on to a low cross after poor marking by Thatcher. O'Donovan kicked the Town keeper in the head as the ball briefly went loose - and with Town fans calling for his dismissal he was booked.

McAuley got his head to a Garvan corner in the 59th minute, but the ball looped into the grateful arms of Gilks.

With Campbell looking as though he was going clear, Bruce puts in a wonderful last-ditch 73rd minute sliding tackle to clear-up a dangerous situation.

Civelli had shown up well with some neat touches and powerful running before making way to give Bowditch a rare taste of first team football.

With four minutes left Counago had a header following a corner cleared off the line by Crainey. This summed up Town's day as they failed to find the sparkle necessary to snatch a second goal.


Ipswich Town: R Wright; D Wright, Bruce, McAuley, Thatcher; Haynes, Garvan (Shumulikoski 60), Miller, Civelli (Bowditch 73); Stead, Counago. Substitutes: Supple, Balkestein, Lisbie.

Blackpool: Gilks; Baptiste, Edwards, Barker, Crainey; O'Donovan, Fox, Jorgensen, Vaughan; Campbell, Taylor-Fletcher. Substitutes: Rachubka, Coid, Evatt, Owens, Ormerod.

Referee: Mr P Crossley (Kent)

Attendance: 19,299.