Sears opener but 10 man Preston deny Town
Preston goalscorer Paul Gallagher ended up between the sticks for the last 20 minutes in a thrilling finish to the game.
Freddie Sears gave Town a half-time lead after Jordan Roberts had been brought down in the box by ‘keeper Chris Maxwell.
Gallagher levelled the scores with his first touch from a free-kick on 70 minutes but Preston were reduced to 10 men when Maxwell upended Kayden Jackson out wide.
Gallagher was forced to go in goal and produced a spectacular save to deny Danny Rowe what would have been a sensational winner.
Paul Lambert received a warm ovation from the home fans as he took charge of the team for the first time as Ipswich Town manager.
Roberts came into the side in one of three changes from the side that went down at Millwall last weekend, Gwion Edwards and Jordan Spence the others.
After an immaculately observed tribute to those that lost their lives at Leicester last weekend and the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price in war, Town started the game on the front foot, Spence sending a cross in from the right that was cleared at full stretch by Tom Clarke.
Preston responded with Bart Bialkowski diving low to his left to beat out Callum Robinson’s strike, Ben Pearson then trying to unlock the Town door with a ball over the top that ran away from danger.
Sears made ground down the left flank but Roberts was off radar with his shot from the cross, Edwards then forcing a corner, Trevoh Chalobah’s strike deflected wide.
Luke Chambers held firm to prevent Sean Maguire getting in, Preston breaking again seconds later with Tom Barkhuizen firing over, then Chalobah clearing from a Clarke header.
Edwards whipped in a superb ball that Flynn Downes was inches away from converting, the Wales international then showing good footwork to release Roberts who cut inside before dragging his shot just wide.
Downes sent an acrobatic effort just over from 20 yards, then at the other end Robinson found space on the edge of the Town box but let the ball run away from him.
The breakthrough came right on half-time, Maxwell made a mess of a back pass and Sears did the rest from the penalty spot.
Maxwell was immediately in the game after the break, heading clear from a ball over the top, Maguire then unable to take advantage from Daniel Johnson’s cross as Preston looked for an equaliser.
Cole Skuse volleyed wide, Chalobah burst into North End’s box but blazed over, then Clarke robbed Sears as he threatened a second.
Matt Pennington headed wide from a corner as Blues pressed forward, Louis Moult replacing Johnson in Preston’s first change.
Gallagher and Lukas Nmecha entered the fray on 71 minutes and Gallagher made an instant impact, scoring with his first touch from a free-kick.
Jackson replaced Roberts in Town’s first change and the substitute was immediately brought down by Maxwell, who raced off his line. The ‘keeper seeing red and with Preston using their three substitutes, Gallagher took over the ‘keeper’s jersey for the last 20 minutes.
Rowe replaced Edwards, the substitute seeing a shot blocked by Clarke before Andre Dozzell replaced Downes for the final stages.
It took a fantastic challenge from Pennington to stop Nmecha when he was clear on goal, then at the other end Gallagher produced a superb stop to prevent an equally fantastic effort from Rowe to earn his side a point.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Edwards (Rowe 78), Skuse, Downes (Dozzell 84), Sears, Roberts. Subs not used: Gerken, Donacien, Jackson, Edun, Lankester. Booked: Chambers, Edwards, Sears, Pennington
Preston: Maxwell, Earl, Pearson, Clarke, Davies, Robinson, Browne (Gallagher 71), Johnson (Moult 60), Huntington, Maguire, Barkhuizen (Nmecha 71). Subs not used: Rudd, Fisher, Gallagher, Storey, Barker. Sent-off: Maxwell. Booked: Maxwell.