Ipswich Town spurn two-goal lead to draw at Cambridge United
Ipswich Town were pegged back by Cambridge United in a 2-2 draw in Sky Bet League One at the Abbey Stadium.
Sone Aluko had put the Tractor Boys in pole position with two first-half goals, but they saw the advantage halved just before the break as James Brophy scored for the hosts. And with two minutes remaining, Joe Ironside then headed in an equaliser for United.
It was an extremely fast start from Ipswich. Mitov hesitated and Macauley Bonne got on to a long ball before pulling a pass back for Conor Chaplin, who blazed over.
Ipswich boss Paul Cook said: “The goal before half-time changes the whole mood in the stadium whether you like it or not. It’s a soft, soft goal from our point of view and a great goal from Cambridge’s.
“Second half we have plenty of possession in really good areas. We get into some good penetrating areas but we don’t really create the chance to score again that probably would have put the game to bed.
“Cambridge were excellently honest all game, kept knocking on the door and you know when those corners come in late on and they’ve got some big guys going in there, there’s always that chance.
“And unfortunately we succumbed to it, which is so disappointing because it was a great day today, a good derby match, a great atmosphere and I enjoyed watching us.
“Unfortunately, we’ve just got that achilles heel in us that’s there for everyone to see. Goals for is not a problem, goals against is a big concern.”
A minute later, Chaplin's curling effort from inside the box went just wide. There was little respite for the U's as they were swarmed in midfield, and the pressure was building.
Ipswich got the breakthrough in the 10th minute. Aluko got the better of a battle with Conor Masterson midway in the United half, and as Mitov slipped attempting to rush out of the hour, the Ipswich man applied a neat finish to left it over the stricken U's keeper.
Another low cross from the left by Matthew Penney was fired wide at the near post by Chaplin, and Bonne then had a header saved down low by Mitov.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 31st minute. Mitov got caught under a deep corner from the left, which arrived at Aluko at the far post. He did not get a clean connection on the shot, but it squirmed its way past the despairing efforts of Mitov to keep it out.
United were just struggling to get into any sort of rhythm, but they were given hope in the 40th minute.
A great move saw Joe Ironside put in down the right, and he squared a pass to Wes Hoolahan. The ball was then moved to Shilow Tracey, who dug out James Brophy free in the area. The winger took his time to wait for Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky to commit, and then finished off the bar.
There was a much more even feel to the second half. The swarming affect of the Ipswich midfield was lessened and there was a far greater parity in the midfield of the pitch for United.
The better opportunities were falling United's way. Ironside showed great strength to power his way in, but Hladky was equal to the chance at the front post in the 51st minute.
In the 81st minute, Hladky came to punch clear a cross but missed, and it arrived at teh feet of Brophy but, with a clear sight of goal, he got under the ball and fired over.
The equaliser came in the 88th minute. A deep corner to the back post by Hoolahan was headed back across goal by substitute Harvey Knibbs and there was Ironside to leap and head home from close range.
There was no further action in either area as it proved to be another frustrating afternoon for the visitors, who head to Portsmouth on Tuesday (7.45pm).