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Marcus Harness at the double as Ipswich Town stage comeback for draw at Birmingham City to deny Wayne Rooney first victory

Marcus Harness scored twice inside the final 11 minutes as Ipswich Town came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.

Town were second best for much of the afternoon, but two late goals ensured they maintained their unbeaten away start to the Sky Bet Championship season and extend their unbeaten away league run to a club record 16 matches.

Adam Stansfield had put Birmingham in front in the first half and, when an own goal from Cameron Burgess doubled the hosts’ lead, looked all but out of the game going into the final stages.

Marcus Harness proved to be the hero at St Andrew’s with two late goals to claim a point Picture: Barry Goodwin
Marcus Harness proved to be the hero at St Andrew’s with two late goals to claim a point Picture: Barry Goodwin

Ipswich are now unbeaten in 10 league matches, while Birmingham boss Wayne Rooney earned his first point as manager following three straight defeats.

Kieran McKenna made two changes from the side that beat Plymouth Argyle 3-2 at Portman Road last Saturday. Burgess returned for George Edmundson, while Harry Clarke came in at right-back.

Brandon Williams, who dropped out of the Carabao Cup squad late in midweek, missed out with a minor illness.

Birmingham City boss Rooney made four changes to his side. Ethan Laird and Juninho Bacuna returned from injuries, while Koji Miyoshi and top scorer Stansfield also came into the team.

Emmanuel Longelo, Krystian Bielik, Siriki Dembele and Lukas Jutkiewicz, who has three goals in his last two games against Ipswich, all dropped out.

With the game marked as the hosts’ designated remembrance fixture, a minute’s silence and a rendition of the Last Post was played prior to kick-off.

Birmingham began on the front foot and carved the first opportunity after nine minutes. Bacuna’s effort from outside the area took a nick off Burgess and flew just wide.

The hosts would open the scoring just four minutes later, though. Bacuna was again involved, slipping through Stansfield who beat Vaclav Hladky to the ball and slotted home on the turn.

Town appeared rattled by Birmingham’s fast start and could have further gone behind when Miyoshi’s left-footed strike deflected off Massimo Luongo, but it landed comfortably for Hladky.

After a long protest, Burgess was booked for dissent following a foul inside the hosts’ penalty box in what was a rare venture into the final third.

On 27 minutes, though, Town created their first big chance. Burgess knocked down a deep free kick into the path of Nathan Broadhead, who powerfully volleyed just wide from the penalty spot.

Emmanuel Aiwu was booked while John Ruddy was delaying the resulting goal kick.

Conor Chaplin created an opening out of almost nothing, spotting Ruddy off his line and attempting to lob the goalkeeper with a first-time effort. The former Norwich City custodian was able to scramble back and tip over the bar though.

Luongo saw a shot blocked as Town enjoyed a brief period of pressure in what had been an otherwise underwhelming opening 40 minutes.

The half-time whistle was met with applause from the home crowd, singing the praises of manager Rooney, who saw his side lead for the first time as Birmingham manager.

Town began the second half with much more intent and enjoyed their best spell of the game immediately after the break. Chaplin’s blocked cross raised the volume of the travelling fans before two penalty appeals were waved away.

First, George Hirst went down under the challenge of home skipper Dion Sanderson, then Omari Hutchinson was felled by Cody Drameh, who was not penalised for the foul but became the third man into the book for dissent.

Hirst’s knock-down in the area failed to find a Town shirt as the visitors pursued an equaliser, but within a matter of seconds Birmingham doubled their lead on the break.

Hladky was left wrong-footed when Bacuna’s cross from the left was turned into his own net by Burgess, giving the visitors a mountain to climb to keep their unbeaten away record going.

Freddie Ladapo helped set up the first of Marcus Harness’ goals at Birmingham City Picture: Barry Goodwin
Freddie Ladapo helped set up the first of Marcus Harness’ goals at Birmingham City Picture: Barry Goodwin

Hladky smothered the ball away from Oliver Burke on two occasions, after he was found by Stansfield in the box following a poor pass under pressure from the Town goalkeeper.

On the hour mark, Town supporters claimed handball against Laird when he blocked away a header from Broadhead after Clarke’s cross from the right.

Ipswich continued to work crosses into the box, Leif Davis catching Ruddy off guard with a delivery that was perhaps on target and tipped over for a corner.

The set-piece was headed by Chaplin at the back post, forcing Ruddy into a smart stop that fell fortuitously to a Birmingham defender to clear away.

Chaplin, under pressure from a defender, saw an effort roll beyond Ruddy who smartly stuck a foot out to turn it behind after the hosts’ had given away possession.

Within a minute, Clarke’s strike from the edge of the area was stopped by Luongo, who half-volleyed beyond the far post as Town made a quadruple switch.

Hirst, Chaplin, Broadhead and Luongo were replaced by Freddie Ladapo, Harness, Dane Scarlett and Jack Taylor for the final 18 minutes.

And three of the substitutions combined to get Town back in the game on 79 minutes. Scarlett found Ladapo in space on the penalty area, who saw his shot saved well by Ruddy, but Harness slammed home the rebound to make it 2-1.

The 1,970 travelling fans saw their side go close to the equaliser they craved when Scarlett’s driven effort was kept out by Ruddy at the near-post as the game moved into the final seven minutes.

Cameron Humphreys replaced Davis at left-back for the final three minutes as Jutkiewicz’s header went wide of Hladky’s post.

Town were level in the penultimate minute of regulation time. Scarlett sent away Hutchinson down the right, whose cross fell back to Harness to slam in on the volley for his second of the game.

Jutkiewicz forced Hladky into conceding a corner deep into stoppage time as Town held on to secure a valuable point on the road.

The result leaves Ipswich four points off leaders Leicester City and seven points clear of third-placed Leeds United, with a game in hand away at Rotherham United to come on Tuesday.

*See what Kieran McKenna said in his post-match press conference here.

Birmingham City (4-2-3-1): Ruddy; Drameh, Aiwu, Sanderson (c), Laird (Longelo 78); Bacuna, Sunjic; Miyoshi (Roberts 85), James (Bielik 73), Burke (Dembele 73); Stansfield (Jutkiewicz 85). Subs: Etheridge, Hogan, Gardner, Long.

Booked: Aiwu, Drameh, Bielik.

Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Davis (Humphreys 87), Burgess, Woolfenden, Clarke; Luongo (Taylor 72), Morsy (c); Broadhead (Scarlett 72), Chaplin (Harness 72), Hutchinson; Hirst (Ladapo 72). Subs: Walton, Ball, Jackson, Tuanzebe.

Booked: Burgess.

Referee: Leigh Doughty (Lancashire).

Attendance: 20,940 (1,970 Ipswich).

SuffolkNews Man of the Match: Marcus Harness. Came off the bench and saved the day for Town with two late goals to earn them a point, the second of which was a peach of a volley. Harness is a man returning to form and will be pushing for a start at Rotherham.