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Report: Ipswich Town 1-1 Bristol City

City produced a much-improved performance to take a rare point from Portman Road.

Tommy Smith’s equaliser 13 minutes from the break cancelled out Neil Danns’ crisp low drive in a contest packed with chances in the first half only to be starved of incident for much of the second.

Derek McInnes handed a first start to winger Paul Anderson on what looked on paper like a 5-4-1 formation, with Greg Cunningham, Cole Skuse and Jon Stead all returning from injury.

But things seemed to take a turn for the worse inside the first minute for McInnes’ men, as captain for the day Skuse required immediate treatment.

However, the Bristolian ploughed on and City looked the greater threat in the opening minutes. An excellent through ball from Anderson saw Cunningham reach the byeline and cross for Stead, only for the former Ipswich man to miss his kick from six yards.

Moments later, a trademark wriggling run from Albert Adomah allowed the Ghanaian to dribble the ball into the penalty area and pick out Anderson, whose driven shot definitely struck a raised arm but was not deemed worthy of a spot-kick by referee Mark Haywood.

The Robins’ bright start was rewarded after 11 minutes with their first goal at Portman Road in four seasons, as Danns rifled a loose ball home from 20 yards left-footed beyond Ashton Gate old boy Stephen Henderson in the Ipswich goal.

But within five minutes City’s lead was under threat. A long ball flicked on by Daryl Murphy found strike partner DJ Campbell well placed in the box, only for Tom Heaton to save well down to his right before somehow getting a hand on the striker’s follow up to push it wide.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, McInnes’ side were enjoying themselves on the road and the chances kept coming.

Stead’s side-footed effort was comfortably held by Henderson, before neat work from Richard Foster set up Danns for a free shot in the middle of the area, only for his goalbound strike to be blocked in front of the keeper by the familiar shape of Blackburn Rovers loanee Bradley Orr.

At the other end, Lee Martin’s attempted curler was only narrowly off target, before Matthew Bates diverted Carlos Edwards’ teasing cross only just wide of his own goal either side of a presentable opener for Adomah, who could only shoot wildly high and wide from Stead’s pass.

City were still on top but were pegged back against the run of play by Smith’s equaliser – his second in two games against McInnes’ side. Martin’s corner was headed back across goal by Town skipper Luke Chambers and skilfully hooked into the top corner by his centre-back partner from eight yards.

There was still time before the interval for another Stead half chance, when perhaps City’s number nine would have been better off playing in either Danns or Cunningham to his left instead of drilling a low shot into the grateful grasp of Henderson.

An uneventful second half provided a rare opportunity when Foster’s through ball was not dealt with by the Ipswich defence, allowing Anderson to race clear and take the ball wide of Henderson but see the angle disappear and the keeper smother his eventual shot.

The hosts tried to force the issue, introducing Michael Chopra and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas from the bench, but City were largely untroubled.

The substitutes did combine to produce a save from Heaton ten minutes from time, but Chopra’s powerful drive was shovelled away by the City stopper for a corner which came to nothing.

McInnes resisted the urge to delve into his replacements until the final five minutes, bringing an end to admirable shifts from Skuse and Anderson.

Martin spurned a great chance to snatch all three points in added time, but scuffed his shot and City escaped with a valuable point on the road.