Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Ipswich Town: Blues let a lead slip against the leaders as winless run goes on
Ipswich Town let a lead slip away as their winless league run extended to eight games following their 1-1 draw at leaders Wycombe Wanderers.
Things were looking good when quick-thinking from Luke Garbutt produced an exceptional Ipswich opener, as the loanee's free-kick was headed home by James Norwood as the duo caught Wycombe napping.
But the visitors couldn't hold onto their lead as David Wheeler tucked home the equaliser after Adebayo Akinfenwa's flick-on caused carnage in the middle of the Ipswich defence.
On the day manager Paul Lambert signed a new five-year contract with the club, the Blues had some excellent spells of possession and saw chances come an go, with Irishman Alan Judge having efforts saved by the goalkeeper on three occasions.
Wycombe should really have been ahead in the opening minutes when Paul Smyth stroked wide in front of an open goal, but the introduction of Akinfenwa flung the momentum in the hosts flavour and it was the Chairboys who looked the most-likely winners before the full-time whistle blew.
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Results elsewhere saw Lambert's men drop to fifth in League One, with the gap to leaders Wycombe still six points but the daylight to seventh now just one.
Lambert, fresh from signing a new deal on the morning of the game, made two changes to his side as James Wilson and Emyr Huws came in for Janoi Donacien and Andre Dozzell.
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The Town boss went with wing-backs, meaning Judge was give the rare opportunity to play in his favoured position behind the front two.
But defending was the order of the day in the opening minutes, with the Blues having to deal with two long throws into the box from the right side as they dealt with the early Wycombe physical threat.
The Blues should really have fallen behind on six minutes when Alex Samuel out-muscled Luke Chambers inside the box and drove a cross through the box for the waiting Smyth, who somehow managed to put the ball past the post when presented with an open goal.
The Ipswich response was rapid as the Blues flew down the other end, with Gwion Edwards having a shot at goal blocked away before the sides traded blows again, with Luke Garbutt required to block Smyth's effort away.
Norwood was the next to threaten, firing over after good work from Huws and Kayden Jackson, before Ndamdi Ofoborh blazed over the top for the hosts.
From the frenetic start, Ipswich began to emerge and started putting together passages of play which worked the ball forward into opposition territory, with Judge the next to have an effort on goal as he met Garbutt's left-wing cross well and looped a header towards the top corner which required home keeper Ryan Allsop to claw the ball away.
Wilson and Huws were both shown yellow cards after giving away free-kicks on the edge of the area, with home free-kick specialist Joe Jacobson not able to take advantage of either, while another from out wide provided the final chance of the half as centre-half Giles Phillips headed over inside a crowded box.
Ipswich came out the traps flying at the start of the second period as Judge burst through the Wycombe line before shooting straight at keeper Allsop, with Norwood doing well to fire the rebound towards goal before seeing that effort blocked away too.
The chances kept coming with Norwood not quite able to turn Garbutt's low cross towards goal at the end of a good move involving Judge, before Ipswich did break the deadlock.
Jackson won a free-kick wide on the left which was quickly taken into the box by Garbutt, with the loanee's exceptional delivery met by Norwood who angled his header home expertly.
The opener sent the away fans wild as the Ipswich players rushed to celebrate in front of them, with the hosts responding by introducing hulking striker Akinfenwa from the bench.
His impact was instant as he flicked a long ball forward on into the box, where Wheeler was able to ghost between Chambers and Woolfenden to flick the ball home past the on-rushing Will Norris in the Ipswich goal.
Things became a little nervy, with Alex Samuel firing an effort wide, but the Blues held firm to ensure the spoils were shared once again on an afternoon where Teddy Bishop made a long-awaited return from injury in the final minutes.
Next up for the Blues is a visit to Exeter in the EFL Trophy at the weekend before a return to league action against Accrington Stanley on January 11.
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Phillips, Stewart, Charles, Jacobson; Ofoborh, Bloomfield, Freeman; Wheeler, Smyth (Akinfenwa 65), Samuel (Kashket, 86)
Subs: Yates, Jombati, Pattison, Aarons, Parker
Ipswich Town: Norris; Woolfenden, Chambers, Wilson; Edwards, Downes, Huws, Garbutt; Judge (Bishop, 88); Jackson, Norwood (Keane, 79)
Subs: Holy, Nsiala, Kenlock, El Mizouni, Dozzell