Match report: Brighton 1 Ipswich Town 1 – Hard-fought point sees Town’s good form continue
Ipswich Town picked up a hard-earned point at Championship high-fliers Brighton to continue their encouraging upturn in form.
Luke Chambers was clattered when bravely converting a stopping headed opener in the ninth minute, but Tomer Hemed equalised from the spot just before the half-hour mark after Emyr Huws tugged Bruno Saltor’s shirt in the box.
The Blues rode their luck a little at the death, but posed a threat themselves for long periods and deserved their share of the spoils. The only black spot on the evening was Tom Lawrence picking up his 10th booking of the season – for dissent – meaning he will be suspended for Saturday’s visit of Leeds and, disappointingly, the East Anglian derby at Norwich the following Sunday.
Over-officious referee Roger East dished out nine yellow cards altogether.
Mick McCarthy’s men remain 13th in the table, while Brighton, who had won their previous seven home games in all competitions, missed the chance to go top.
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Bruno Saltor clattered Huws with an aggressive aerial challenge that left the Welshman with a cut head and manager Mick McCarthy incensed early on. Huws was off the field for 10 minutes getting stitched up. By the time he returned from the dressing room, the Blues were in front.
Lawrence won and delivered a deep free-kick and Chambers stooped to bravely head home in a crowded area. Town’s skipper was whacked by keeper David Stockdale in the process of scoring and needed lengthy treatment to his lower back.
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Brighton’s tactic was to attack down the wings, but their end product was lacking as Anthony Knockaert’s shot was tame at the end of a jinking run. Both Town’s wing-backs, Myles Kenlock and Josh Emmanuel, were on bookings by the 21st minute.
The Seagulls levelled things up just before the half hour mark when right-back Bruno spun Huws in the box before dramatically going down when his shirt was tugged. Referee East momentarily looked as though he was going to book the home player for diving but, after seemingly getting instructions in his earpiece from the linesman on the near side, pointed to the spot. Hemed coolly converted.
Chambers and – crucially – Lawrence both then picked up cautions for dissent.
Town had a golden chance to retake the lead in the 35th minute when Lawrence dummied a Grant Ward pull-back, but McGoldrick shot straight at Stockdale from near the penalty spot.
The Blues started the second half on the front foot. Lawrence, after twisting and turning in the box, had an angled effort pushed around the near post. Then, just before the hour mark, McCarthy’s men went even closer after Lawrence’s whipped free-kick caused havoc in the box. Chambers stabbed an effort against the post, then McGoldrick’s follow-up shot was headed off the line by Steve Sidwell.
The momentum shifted. Solly March and Stephens both went lose from long-range, then Brighton had vociferous penalty appeals waved away when March hit the deck after tricking his way inside Jordan Spence.
Sam Baldock’s side-footed effort was too close to Bialkowski after Knockaert’s well-weighted pass, then substitute Josh Murphy gave Emmanuel a torrid time for a spell as Town rode their luck on a couple of occasions.
Lawrence jinked into the box and had a shot blocked at the end of a counter-attack, but it was Brighton that looked the more likely to win it and substitute Glenn Murray rifled against the post from close-range in stoppage-time after taking a touch in the box.
BRIGHTON (4-4-2): Stockdale; Bruno (cpt), Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli; Knockaert, Sidwell, Stephens, March (Murphy 71); Baldock (Akpom 81), Hemed (Murray 67).
Unused subs: Walton, Kayal, Skalak, Tomori.
Booked: Baldock (31), Dunk (56), Duffy (76)
IPSWICH TOWN (3-5-2): Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers (cpt), Knudsen; Emmnauel, Ward, Huws, Diagouraga (Douglas 74), Kenlock; McGoldrick (Moore 85), Lawrence (Sears 85).
Unused subs: Gerken, Digby, Bru, Pitman.
Booked: Kenlock (2), Emmanuel (21), Chambers (31), Lawrence (30), McGoldrick (35), Huws (90+)
Attendance: 26,360 (643 away)
Referee: Roger East