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Omari Hutchinson’s stunning double not enough for Ipswich Town to claim victory in six-goal thriller at Hull City





Omari Hutchinson’s stunning double was not enough to move Ipswich Town to within one win of promotion to the Premier League after a pulsating 3-3 draw with Hull City at the MKM Stadium.

Noah Ohio’s 87th-minute equaliser denied the Blues all three points on Humberside during a thrilling affair in which the Suffolk side led on three separate occasions.

Hutchinson’s brace, both curling efforts from outside the penalty area, takes his own tally to 10 for the season after Ozan Tufan and Liam Delap had levelled proceedings earlier in the contest.

Omari Hutchinson scored twice at the KMK Stadium in a standout display Picture: Barry Goodwin
Omari Hutchinson scored twice at the KMK Stadium in a standout display Picture: Barry Goodwin

All that came following George Hirst’s well-taken opener on his return from injury, which gave the play-off chasing visitors the perfect start.

The Blues remain third in the table and level on points with Leeds United, holding a game in hand. Kieran McKenna’s side require four more points from two games to guarantee a return to the top-flight, following the Whites being thrashed 4-0 at QPR on Friday night.

The big news prior to kick-off was the Town team, which saw manager McKenna bring both Wes Burns and Hirst straight into the starting XI after hamstring injuries in the Blues’ only two changes.

George Hirst marked his long-awaited return with a goal Picture: Barry Goodwin
George Hirst marked his long-awaited return with a goal Picture: Barry Goodwin

Burns had missed the previous five matches while Hirst, making his 50th appearance for Town, had been absent since limping off against Leicester City on Boxing Day.

Jeremy Sarmiento and Ali Al-Hamadi were the two men to drop out of the side, while Nathan Broadhead missed out altogether with a slight knock.

The hosts, led by former Town loanee Liam Rosenior, made just the one change from their midweek victory at Coventry City. That saw Tufan replace Delap up front.

The Tigers, appearing buoyed by earlier results that had gone in their favour, started on the front foot. Fabio Carvalho’s dinked ball towards Tufan called Vaclav Hladky into action for the first time to gather.

Town settled, though, and almost had Hutchinson away on the break moments after Sam Morsy forced Ryan Allsop into parrying behind from distance after turning his man in midfield.

Then, the returnees combined as the Blues broke the deadlock. Burns looked boxed into the corner but forced a cross through a crowd of bodies and, after a miskick from Tyler Morton, Hirst pounced to find the bottom corner.

Hull’s attacking quality was clear to see, though, and were immediately on the search for an equaliser. Liverpool loanee Carvalho curled just wide from the edge of the area before seeing a shot blocked by Axel Tuanzebe.

Tuanzebe produced another fine piece of defending just two minutes later to clear the danger from Abdus Omur’s threatening set-piece from the left.

As a very watchable game ticked over the half hour mark, it was the Blues turn to threaten. Leif Davis’s wide free-kick along the deck found Chaplin, but the opportunity went begging as it was blocked behind.

The resultant corner landed at the feet of Cameron Burgess, but Massimo Luongo was unable to poke home the loose ball from a matter of yards out.

Defensively for Town, Tuanzebe was heavily involved. He picked up the first booking of the game for bringing down Tufan, a move which saw the advantage played and lead to Hladky making an excellent save to deny Jaden Philogene one-on-one.

The Tigers’ pressure eventually paid off on 40 minutes as the Blues were punished for a defensive mistake. Morsy was caught in possession by Jean Michael Seri inside his own defensive third, who in turn set up Tufan to slam a leveller into the roof of the net.

After advantage was initially played by referee Andrew Kitchen, Burns was booked for bringing down Carvalho.

But just as the sides looked to be heading into the interval all square, Hutchinson put the Blues back in front in exquisite style. On his 50th senior appearance, the Chelsea loanee curled a sublime left-footed strike from the edge of the area into the top corner, beyond the reach of Allsop.

There was still time for Carvalho to go into the book for hacking down Davis before Town headed into the break with their noses in front.

That lead was put under threat just 20 seconds into the second period, but Tufan headed over the top of Hladky’s crossbar after meeting Philogene’s cross.

Moments later, another dangerous cross was met by Jacob Greaves, which forced Hladky to claw away. It fell to Tufan, who again headed over the bar for the second time in a matter of minutes.

Shortly after, Omur was pulled back by Luongo, earning the Australian a yellow card.

On 56 minutes, Hull levelled for a second time. Carvalho’s inch-perfect delivery from the right was turned in by half-time substitute Delap.

The Blues went close to retaking the lead five minutes later, when Davis’s floated free-kick was met by Burgess, but the header looped agonisingly onto the crossbar.

Having got an hour into their tanks, Burns and Hirst were replaced by Sarmiento and Kieffer Moore.

Moore was into the thick of things almost instantly, turning his man with his back to goal and striking a powerful effort that stung the palms of Allsop, forcing a corner.

From which, Hutchinson extraordinarily pulled off the feat again. From the edge of the area, the 20-year-old curled a stunning strike inside the far post, this time nestling in the bottom corner.

Hutchinson’s heroics sent the travelling Blue Army into raptures as the Blues led in the contest for a third time.

The talented winger was causing carnage for the home side. A mazy run almost set himself up for a third attempt at the spectacular, before laying it off to Sarmiento who forced Allsop into a decent save.

A minute later, Hutchinson went round the outside and saw a shot saved by the Hull goalkeeper.

McKenna turned to his bench again with 15 minutes remaining, Chaplin and Luongo making way for Jack Taylor and Lewis Travis.

Ohio, having only been introduced moments earlier, tested Hladky with an effort that took a heavy deflection and forced the Czech shot-stopper into making evasive action.

The frenetic nature of the game continued as Moore won the ball on halfway. He set up Taylor in acres of space, whose ball for Sarmiento led to the Ecuadorian testing Allsop once again with a right-footed effort.

Davis was forced off on 82 minutes and was replaced by Harry Clarke in the Blues’ final change.

With just three minutes remaining, the hosts equalised for a third time. Matty Jacob’s header was parried by Hladky into the path of Ohio, who struck in off the crossbar.

Neither side looked settled with a point and Sarmiento forced Allsop into a low save within moments of the restart.

In the fourth of six added minutes, Town will have been left wondering how they had not won it. Hutchinson’s shot from a tight angle was saved, then Sarmiento’s follow-up was blocked on the line.

It was not over there, as Morsy then had a shot from inside the area blocked in the same passage of play.

The final whistle brought the crazy contest to an end, a result that extends Hull’s unbeaten run to six matches and takes their race for the play-offs to the final day.

The Blues return to action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Coventry City, knowing their destiny is still all within their own hands.

Hull City (4-4-2): Allsop; Jacob, Greaves (c), Jones, Slater (Giles 81); Philogene, Seri, Morton (Delap 46), Omur (Ohio 74); Carvalho, Tufan. Subs: Ingram, Coyle, McLoughlin, Docherty, Traore, Sharp.

Booked:Carvalho.

Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1): Hladky; Davis (Clarke 82), Burgess, Woolfenden, Tuanzebe; Luongo (Travis 76), Morsy (c); Hutchinson, Chaplin (Taylor 76), Burns (Sarmiento 62); Hirst (Moore 62). Subs: Walton, Edmundson, Al-Hamadi, Jackson.

Booked: Tuanzebe, Burns, Luongo.

Referee: Andrew Kitchen(Durham).

Attendance: 24,298.

SuffolkNews Man of the Match: Omari Hutchinson.An energetic spark in an end-to-end encounter. Hutchinson’s two goals were sublime and he could have had more. Involved in almost everything the Blues did going forwards. You would not think this was just his 50th senior appearance. An incredible season.