Ipswich Town 2-2 Blackpool: Joe Nuttall and Jay Spearing notch in draw away at League One high-flyers

Blackpool led for a brief spell courtesy of Jay Spearing's penalty
Blackpool led for a brief spell courtesy of Jay Spearing's penalty
Share this article

Blackpool’s unbeaten run remains intact after the Seasiders claimed a creditable draw away at second-placed Ipswich Town.

READ MORE: Ipswich Town v Blackpool as it happened

Blackpool’s unbeaten run remains intact after the Seasiders claimed a creditable draw away at second-placed Ipswich Town.

Joe Nuttall and Jay Spearing notched as Simon Grayson’s men came close to snatching all three points at Portman Road - a ground where they are still yet to win.

The home side edged ahead after just eight minutes, Gwion Edwards capitalising on some poor defending to slam home from close range.

But the men in tangerine responded well and eventually got their equaliser through Nuttall for the striker’s first league goal for the club.

Pool edged their noses in front at the start of the second half courtesy of Spearing’s penalty.

But, just five minutes later, Ipswich levelled with a spot kick of their own - Luke Garbutt the man to net after Nuttall had been harshly adjudged to have handled the bar in the box.

Both sides had opportunities to win the game late on but the Seasiders eventually settled for a point, which means they are now unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions.

Blackpool had to do without 12-goal top scorer Armand Gnanduillet, who missed out with a knock picked up in last week’s win against AFC Wimbledon.

The Frenchman, who missed training during the early part of the week, was replaced by Joe Nuttall as just one change from the side that won 2-0 last Saturday.

It was Nuttall’s first start in the league since mid-September, where he featured in the draw at Accrington Stanley.

Jordan Thompson, meanwhile, returned to the Blackpool bench after missing out last week due to being away on international duty.

Ipswich made a strong start to the game and almost edged ahead after just three minutes, when Danny Rowe pounced upon Ben Heneghan’s weak crossfield pass.

The winger skipped a couple of challenges in the box before side-footing an effort just past the far post, in what was a big early let-off for Grayson’s men.

But Pool responded well, producing a chance of their own just two minutes later through Sullay Kaikai, who curled a 25-yard free kick towards the bottom corner - only for keeper Will Norris to get down well to parry the ball away from goal.

The end-to-end nature of the game continued in the early stages, with the Tractor Boys looking dangerous in possession in the final third.

The home side were subsequently rewarded for their good start, breaking the deadlock with just eight minutes on the clock.

Gwion Edwards was the man to take advantage of Blackpool’s lax marking to ghost into the box and rifle a close-range shot past Jak Alnwick.

The Seasiders failed to deal with a harmless-looking lofted cross to the back post, but Luke Garbutt climbed above his man to head back towards goal where Edwards was left unmarked - and the midfielder made no mistake with his simple finish.

Ipswich’s tactic was clear - get the ball in behind Heneghan and Ryan Edwards and look to expose the centre back’s lack of pace.

It brought them success, with Kayden Jackson, Edwards and Rowe posing a constant threat for the back three.

While Pool did begin to enjoy more possession and territory, counter attacks always looked to be their most likely source of joy.

That’s exactly what happened on 22 minutes, when Joe Nuttall levelled matters for Pool with his first league goal of the campaign.

The striker finished at the second attempt, after his initial header was blocked, to complete a devastating break.

Calum Macdonald did well to remain patient, eventually feeding James Husband down the left who skipped a challenge before lofting a cross to Nuttall at the back post.

The striker appeared to have the simple task of nodding home, but an Ipswich defender managed to block his attempt yet could do nothing about Nuttall slamming home the ball into the back of the empty net.

Feeney continued to find joy down the right and the wing-back almost claimed yet another assist for the season when he pulled the ball back to Sullay Kaikai on the edge of the Ipswich box.

The forward decided to take it first time and his drive was a powerful one, but Norris did well to tip the shot behind for a corner.

At the other end the Seasiders continued to frustrate the hosts, which made for a subdued atmosphere inside Portman Road.

Heneghan was guilty of another weak pass on the stroke of half time when the centre back conceded possession when under no real pressure.

That allowed Ipswich the chance to break, but thankfully Macdonald was there to head away to stop the home side in their tracks.

The home side, just as they did in the first period, were straight onto the front foot at the start of the second half.

Donacien lofted a deep cross towards Rowe at the back stick, but Feeney did well to crowd out his man.

But Pool gave themselves something to hang onto when, just eight minutes into the second half, they were awarded a penalty.

It looked as blatant as they come, with Sullay Kaikai being tripped by Luke Chambers just as he was ready to pull the trigger.

Skipper Jay Spearing took the spot kick duties and, despite the keeper guessing the right way, coolly dispatched his effort into the bottom corner.

The lead lasted for just five minutes, however, as Ipswich equalised with a spot kick of their own.

Nuttall was adjudged to have handled the ball from an Ipswich corner, although it looked as though the ball bounced onto his arm rather than the striker intentionally stopping it.

Either way, left back Luke Garbutt made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Alnwick the wrong way with his low strike.

Ipswich piled on the pressure and thought they had retaken the lead on 68 minutes, when Spearing was forced to clear off the line.

Luke Woolfenden powered a header towards goal which substitute Anthony Georgiou prodded towards goal on the line, but Spearing was there to hook away at the final second.

The Ipswich players and fans appealed that the ball had crossed the line, but Spearing appeared to just have done enough to save Pool’s bacon.

It was all one-way traffic from this point, as the Seasiders found themselves right under the cosh with the home fans right behind their team.

They were given a bit of respite on 75 minutes when Ipswich conceded a cheap corner, which resulted in Ryan Edwards heading straight at Norris.

The centre back produced a similar effort a minute later when he once again reached Kaikai’s deep set piece, but it was the same result as Norris got down to make the save.

Ipswich almost won it in stoppage time but Alnwick made a crucial stop to tip Alan Judge’s glanced effort around the post.

But that proved to be the final serious goalmouth action of the game, with Pool taking a point back with them for their long journey back up to the North West.

TEAMS

Ipswich: Norris, Donacien, Chambers, Edwards (Judge), Garbutt, Skuse, Nolan, Rowe (Georgiou), Downes (Keane), Woolfenden, Jackson

Subs not used: Holy, Wilson, Dozzell, Huws

Blackpool: Alnwick, Edwards, Heneghan, Husband, Macdonald (Turton), Feeney, Spearing, Virtue (Guy), Kaikai (Thompson), Delfouneso, Nuttall

Subs not used: Sims, Tilt, Scannell, Hardie

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 19,503 (498 Blackpool)