Paul Lambert pleased as Ipswich Town show different qualities in draw at MK Dons
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert thought the game script meant his side had to show different qualities to their first three League One games in Saturday's 1-1 draw against MK Dons, writes Jacob Henderson.
The Blues were forced into a first-half change at Stadium MK when Stephen Ward departed with an achilles injury, before Flynn Downes also came off with an injury - after he had come on as a 55th-minute substitute.
Flynn was part of a double substitution for Town, so when he left the field Blues continued for 25 minutes with 10 men.
"Losing Wardy in the first half was a blow," Lambert told the club website.
"But for me, today was up there as one of the best performances - for different reasons to our wins so far this campaign.
"We stood resolute, we showed desire and we looked solid. We had to dig and show resilience so I'm pleased we came through.
"Hopefully bringing Wardy off was more precautionary than anything, but Flynn's does look a bit more serious.
"Overall we have to be pleased with the start. We're still unbeaten and this could be an important point. Playing with 10 men for half an hour is not easy."
It sees Town drop from top spot to third after four games, with Lincoln City and Hull City, both who preserved their 100 per cent starts, taking over at the top.
Alan Judge, who made his return from injury to the midfield from the substitutes bench at Stadium MK, said: "The golden rule in football is if you can't win a game, make sure you don't lose it.
"Last season we might have lost that one. Yes we're only four games in but we have three wins and a draw, and today we were disciplined to pick up the point.
"The lads have been confident and I think that should continue on the basis of today's performance.
"Personally I'm pleased to be involved again. The squad has been playing well so I'll have to work hard and fight for a spot in the team.
"I'm feeling good, I'm feeling fit, and I'm looking forward to the next one."
Town are back in action at home to Gillingham in the EFL Trophy Southern Group B on Tuesday (7pm).
Lambert named an unchanged starting XI from Town's 2-0 victory over Rochdale at Portman Road a week earlier, writes Mikey Hale.
Judge returned to the bench while Kayden Jackson was named in the match day squad for the first time this term.
The hosts dominated the early stages and had the first chance of the game after six minutes, Richard Keogh's tame effort being collected by Tomas Holy after a corner had dropped nicely for the defender.
The Blues took the lead moments later, Nolan finding the back of the net with a half-volley from inside the box.
Freddie Sears was inches away from doubling the lead 10 minutes after Town's first, curling just wide of the bottom corner after a marauding run forwards from James Wilson.
Blues were forced into a change midway through the half as Ward, who had picked up a knock in the lead up to the opening goal, was replaced by Myles Kenlock.
A first opening for Oli Hawkins followed shortly afterwards as Andre Dozzell played in the Town striker, who controlled the ball well on his chest before hitting a half-volley over the bar from the edge of the D.
The Dons looked to respond and would've done with just under half an hour played if not for the defensive efforts of Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala.
Chambers came up with an important clearing header before blocking Carlton Morris' rebound, with Nsiala turning away a dangerous ball across the box to bring an end to the attack.
Town's captain was called into action again as the hosts continued to threaten, producing an important challenge to prevent Morris from getting his shot off when he looked to be in behind the defence.
The skipper continued to be heavily involved in proceedings, with Dons' Daniel Harvie perhaps fortunate to remain on the field after appearing to kick out at him.
MK's best chance of the opening half came in stoppage time as Joe Mason was slid in behind but Holy turned his left-footed shot behind with his legs.
Dons dominated the early stages of the second half and got their reward nine minutes after the break, Harvie curling into the corner of Holy's goal to level the game.
Judge and Downes were introduced from the bench but another blow followed instantly as the latter was forced off through injury, meaning that Town would play the final near 25-minute spell with 10 men.
Morris continued to look a threat and could've put MK in front shortly after Downes' premature departure but he volleyed straight at Holy.
Scott Fraser was the next to try his luck from the edge of the area, with Holy spilling the initial effort before recovering to turn away Callum Brittain's rebound.
Brilliant hold-up play from Hawkins bought Town some much-needed respite, the striker collecting a long pass on his chest before beating two men and earning a free-kick from David Kasumu.
Goalscorer Harvie should've won the game with two minutes remaining for MK but he turned a cross wide at the back post as Blues claimed a point at Stadium MK.
MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Lewington (C), Keogh, Kasumu, Morris (Nombe 84), Fraser, Sorensen (Poole 79), Mason, Harvie, Brittain.
Subs: Walker, Cargill, O'Hora, Houghton, Sorinola.
Town: Holy, Chambers (C), Nsiala, Wilson, Ward (Kenlock 22), Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop (Downes 55), Edwards, Hawkins, Sears (Judge 55).
Subs: Cornell, Jackson, Lankester, Huws.
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