On the losing side in only one of his prior 30 competitive matches at Portman Road, Ipswich Road manager Kieran McKenna made the telling decision to restore Welsh international Nathan Broadhead to the hosts’ starting eleven for Saturday’s EFL Championship lunchtime kickoff.
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion have lost their last three away league matches ‘to nil’, but still hold the destiny of making the playoffs in May in their own hands.
IPS: Hladký; Woolfenden, Edmundson, Clarke, Davis; Morsy, Luongo; Chaplin, Broadhead, Burns; Moore
WBA: Palmer; Kipré, Townsend, Bartley, Furlong; Yokuşlu, Mowatt; Fellows, Weimann, Wallace; Thomas-Asante
Beginning the current round of Championship matches only two points clear of seventh-placed Hull City, West Brom began proceedings brightly, and were rewarded with the game’s opening goal in the 18th minute as Tom Fellows determinedly remained on his feet despite pressure from Luke Woolfenden to calmly slot past Václav Hladký.Embed from Getty Images
Having recently given up their automatic promotion position to Southampton, Ipswich responded well to going behind, but top goalscorer Conor Chaplin saw his effort to enter double-digits for the current Championship campaign, and an equaliser, fly over the crossbar from close range. The Tractor Boys would plough through the remainder of the first half in attacking fashion, albeit failing to get back on level terms as Sam Morsy and Harry Clarke forced Alex Palmer into admittedly routine saves.
Nonetheless, Ipswich needed only 44 seconds of the second half to manufacture a well-crafted equaliser, as Clarke headed into the path of Nathan Broadhead to sublimely volley past Palmer. The visitors thought that they had regained their lead shortly before the hour-mark, however, referee David Coote came to the hosts’ rescue by ruling out Andreas Weimann’s strike for a handball in the build-up.
Chaplin would then go closer than in the opening 45 minutes, as on this occasion, he registered a shot on target that forced Palmer into making a visibly stunning save. However, it was at the opposite end of Portman Road where the Baggies’ would restore their advantage, as substitute John Swift rifled a brilliant effort from distance past a bound-to-be-disappointed Hladký at his near post.
With it appearing West Brom were in line for their first victory on the road in the Championship since the end of November, Ipswich silenced the Baggies’ boing in the third minute of second-half stoppage-time as Omari Hutchinson’s fearsome strike flew into the back of the net, but should have ultimately been cleared off the goalline by Cédric Kipré.Embed from Getty Images
Late drama in Suffolk leaves Ipswich only one point being Southampton – with the Saints scheduled to take on relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town at 15:00. Meanwhile, West Brom could see their slender lead from the chasing play-off pack reduced to two points if other results around the Championship this afternoon were to go against them.