Match report: Ipswich Town 0 Huddersfield Town 0 – Blues held to a third successive frustrating home draw

Cole Skuse during the Ipswich Town v Huddersfield (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 17 October 2015.

Cole Skuse during the Ipswich Town v Huddersfield (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 17 October 2015. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Substitute David McGoldrick was denied in stoppage-time as Ipswich Town were held to a third successive frustrating home draw – this one a drab goalless affair with lowly Huddersfield Town.

Blues boss Mick McCarthy stuck with the vast majority of his below-par side and a disjointed first half ensued, Huddersfield denied by a Christophe Berra goalline clearance.

Town improved after the break but, for all their endeavour, were limited largely to speculative long-range attempts.

And yet McGoldrick, introduced at the break, could have won it at the death when Larsen Toure’s deflected shot fell kindly at his feet in the area. Keeper Jed Steer – the Norwich-born Aston Villa loanee – made a fine reaction block with his legs though.

There was still time for Terriers striker James Vaughan to be sent off for stupidly throwing the ball in Jonas Knudsen’s face off the pitch as they wrestled over a throw-in.

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Ipswich now have just one win in seven Championship outings and are winless in their last four games at Portman Road following defeat to Brighton and draws against Birmingham and Bristol City. Next up is trips to Hull (Tuesday) and Nottingham Forest (Saturday) next week.

Blues boss McCarthy spoke about remaining loyal to his ‘best players’ ahead of the match and subsequently named a familiar looking line-up.

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The fit-again Jonas Knudsen replaced Jonathan Parr at left-back to complete the usual back five, while the central midfield partnership of Jonathan Douglas and Cole Skuse kept their places.

Tommy Oar replaced the injured Ryan Fraser on the left of midfield, while Brett Pitman replaced the out of form Daryl Murphy up front – McGoldrick remaining on the bench.

The jury was very much out, among supporters, on McCarthy’s team selection and that very much remained the case when the half-time whistle finally brought an end to a scrappy, uninspiring opening period.

When Cole Skuse’s tame shot from all of 35 yards was collected by the keeper in the 35th minute there were ironic cheers from fans inside Portman Road. It was the home side’s first shot – on or off target – of the entire first half.

The groans were understandable given the way the Blues had played.

Tommy Smith misjudged the flight of a long ball, Sean Scannell easily beat Jonas Knudsen in a foot race and Luke Chambers twice gave the ball away cheaply in quick succession all inside the opening 20 minutes.

Huddersfield were not a whole lot better, but they did at least threaten from time to time.

Powerful front man Ishmael Miller certainly proved a handful and was instrumental in the Terriers’ three openings.

In the fourth minute, Christophe Berra had to produce a last-ditch block in the box after Miller had spun Smith high up the field. Moments later, Miller dragged a shot wide inside the area after Smith had inadvertently nodded the ball into his path,

The biggest heart in mouth moment came just before the half hour mark when Berra scrambled the ball off the line, seemingly in slow motion. Miller had beaten Smith in the air before Nahki Wells lifted the ball over the advancing Dean Gerken.

The interval couldn’t come soon enough, with the natives frustrated at both the referee – who gave a string of soft free-kicks to the visitors – and their own team.

McCarthy replaced the ring-rusty Oar – who has had very little competitive football since leaving Utrecht in the summer and who has just returned from international duty with Australia in Jordan – with McGoldrick at the break.

Town duly improved, not that they could get any worse.

The passing was crisper, and the movement better, but still the home side were restricted to hopeful long-range attempts.

When Ainsley Maitland-Niles mis-controlled following Skuse’s wonderful raking cross-field pass it rather summed up the Blues’ day.

Daryl Murphy came on for Pitman in the 67th minute and Town continued to have more of the ball without really looking to smash the door down.

The closest they came was in the 72nd minute when Douglas’ looping far post header dropped onto the roof of the net following Maitland-Niles’ free-kick delivery from the right.

In the 82nd minute, Douglas was fouled in the box and then Murphy’s shot was blocked during a hectic phase in play but, as it turned out, the linesman’s flag was up as McGoldrick had just run the ball out of play before cutting it back.

Huddersfield had seemed content to protect a draw in the second period, but came close when Dean Gerken produced a fine stop to keep out Emyr Huws’ shot through a crowded area. Substitute Vaughan then poked over after Wells helped the rebound back across goal.

The game’s big moment arrived in the first minute of stoppage-time. After substitute Larsen Toure’s shot from outside the area took a double deflection, the ball fell kindly at McGoldrick’s feet but his snap shot was saved by the legs of keeper Jed Steer.

There was still time for a bizarre red card to Terriers striker Vaughan, the ex Norwich man throwing the ball in Knudsen’s face after the pair had wrestled for possession after the ball had gone off for a throw-in.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Toure 86), Douglas, Skuse, Oar (McGoldrick 46); Pitman (Murphy 67, Sears.

Unused subs: Bialkowski, Parr, Malarczyk, Bru.

Booked: Chambers (21), Smith (58), Douglas (61).

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): Steer; Cranie, Hudson (cpt), Lynch, Davidson; Scannell (Carayol 67), Huws, Whitehead, Bunn; Wells, Miller (Vaughan 73).

Unused subs: Murphy, Smith, Paterson, Dempsey, Billing.

Booked: Whitehead (37).

Sent off: Vaughan (90+2).

Attendance: 17,937 (395)

Referee: Andy Davies.

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