Town stand strong at Boro

IPSWICH Town defended superbly at high-flying Middlesbrough to earn a goalless draw this afternoon – and it could have even been more.

Following Monday night’s 3-0 win over Coventry, Jewell has abandoned his policy of playing 4-5-1 away from home and kept with the same line-up and 4-4-2 diamond system.

In a first half lacking in quality from both sides, Town enjoyed the better goalscoring opportunities.

Ibrahima Sonko headed wide following a corner (20) and keeper Carl Ikeme blocked a Michael Chopra volley from point-blank range (33) – both efforts coming inside the six-yard box.

The game stepped up a notch after the break and became increasingly open as both teams tired.

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Jason Scotland hit the post from the edge of the box soon after the restart (51) and Jimmy Bullard (62) curled a long-range free-kick just wide. The latter was energetic in front of the back four and barely gave away the ball.

Middlesbrough then enjoyed a good spell as Sonko got away with a couple of shakey moments.

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The Senegalese defender, as well as centre-back partner Danny Collins, were generally superb though throughout. And it is no surprise Sonko tired considering he has hardly been able to train since arriving at the club.

Scotland saw a one-on-one chance roll just past the post with the keeper beaten (70), while the home crowd thought Scott McDonald’s header was in when it hit the side-netting (82).

It was only the third time this season Boro have dropped points in the Championship, while it was Ipswich’s first draw of the campaign.

– Reaction to follow.

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Ikeme, McMahon, Bates, Williams, Bennett; Hoyte (Thomson 82), Haroun, Bailey, Robson (Nimely 82); McDonald, Emnes.

Unused Subs: McManus, Zemmanma, Arca.

Booked: Bennett (3).

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Stockdale; Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell; Bullard, Leadbitter, Bowyer, Andrews; Scotland (Murphy 85), Chopra.

Unused Subs: Lee-Barrett; Ainsley, Delaney; JET.

Booked: Sonko (26).

Attendance: 17,741

Referee: Mr Scott Mathieson

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