Ipswich Town 1 PNE 1
North End had to settle for a point at Portman Road despite taking an early lead through Daniel Johnson’s eighth goal of the season.
Johnson opened the scoring after just seven minutes, slotting home after getting a second bite at the cherry following a block eight yards out, but Daryl Murphy’s eighth goal of the season levelled things up before half-time and there were no further goals.
North End were forced to make a change prior to kick-off with skipper Tom Clarke having picked up a groin injury in the warm up, Calum Woods coming in on the right hand side of a back four.
The yellows came out of the trap extremely quickly and a Paul Gallagher free kick from 30 yards in the second minute was palmed away by Gerken, just a foot away from coming back out to Johnson.
But Johnson got his cvhance and took it seven minutes in, firing home from eight yards out into the bottom left hand corner after a scramble in the box. Joe Garner’s initial shot blocked was and Johnson had two bites at the cherry after Eoin Doyle’s excellent cross in from the right.
It was almost 2-0 before the game was 15 minutes old, a brilliantly worked free kick ending with Gallagher curling inches wide from 25 yards after lay off by Johnson, following an initial foul on Cunningham on the edge of the box.
Just after the half hour mark a Doyle run down the left from Gallagher’s clever reverse ball saw the Irishman drive a cross in from the left that ricocheted off Garner, but straight into Gerken’s hands.
The Tractor Boys drew level with their first shot on target when Murphy fired home left footed from 25 yards into the bottom right corner, the goal coming from nothing.
Murphy tried his luck from distance again ten minutes into the second half, but this time Sam Johnstone got strong hands to it and palmed the ball over the bar.
Joe Garner drove in from the left hand side on the hour mark and unleashed a vicious low drive that Tommy Smith, the Ipswich skipper, did brilliantly to block and moments later Ben Pearson had the ball in the net only for an offside flag to go up against someone.
With nine minutes to go Bailey Wright had a superb chance to win the game. A quick corner one-two by Gallagher with Cunningham gave the No.12 a better angle to whip over a ball and the Aussie rose highest and beat Gerken with the header but also beat the right hand post by a matter of millimetres.
A scramble in the North End box followed shortly after with Paul Huntington making a superb block after Johnstone’s save from Sears had put the ball into the mix in the middle of the penalty area, but the game ended level with North End making it ten points from the last 12.
: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Murphy (Varney, 82), Fraser, Bru (Pitman, 69), Sears, Douglas (Hyam, 74). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Maitland-Niles, Oar, Malarczyk.Ipswich Town line-up
: Johnstone, Woods, Cunningham, Pearson, Huntington, Wright, Doyle (Robinson, 87), Browne, Garner (Hugill, 79), Johnson, Gallagher (c). Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Kilkenny, Welsh.PNE line-up
: 21,108 (436 away fans)Attendance
: Mr S HooperReferee