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Match Reports

Match Report : 15/02/2014

15 February 2014

Scott Loach made three excellent saves as Town were forced to settle for a point against Blackpool at a wet and windy Portman Road.

The ‘keeper twice denied Faris Haroun in the first-half, then continued his personal battle with the midfielder with another block late on as Town stretched the unbeaten run to five games.

Blues’ best chances came in the first 15 minutes with David McGoldrick twice going close.

Paul Green came in for his first start for Town, while Loach replaced the injured Dean Gerken in goal. Luke Hyam returned from a badly cut knee as Blues made three changes from the team that drew at Barnsley last week.

Former Town striker Michael Chopra and loanee Ricardo Fuller were on the bench for Barry Ferguson’s side, the interim manager for the Tangerines having been at Portman Road for a week as a 15-year-old trialist before starting his career at Rangers.

It needed a timely challenge from David Perkins inside the first two minutes to deny David McGoldrick the chance to add to his 16 goals, and then the agility of Matt Gilks to beat out Daryl Murphy’s strike as Blues started on the front foot. 

McGoldrick was inches away from breaking the deadlock again on eight minutes with a diving header from Luke Chambers’ excellent cross, before both sides were forced into an early change, Hyam’s return lasting only 11 minutes with Jay Tabb the replacement and Andrew Halliday on for Jack Robinson.

Angel Martinez found the sidenetting as Blackpool threatened for the first time, McGoldrick firing high and wide from distance as Town continued to look the more likely to open the scoring.

It was Blackpool who had the best opening of the first half hour though, Loach doing well to keep out Haroun’s effort and Chambers doing just as well to beat Perkins to the loose ball with the goal gaping.

Loach came to Town’s rescue again seven minutes before the break, getting his angles right to deny Haroun as Blackpool grew as an attacking threat.

It was Haroun again who posed the first threat of the second-half, sending a right foot effort wide of Loach’s far post, while at the other end Murphy pulled his shot wide after being found by Christophe Berra.

Stephen Hunt sent a dipping volley over the top, Perkins well off target with his response for the Tangerines before Blackpool made a double change just past the hour, Steven Davies and Andy Keogh replaced by Fuller and David Goodwillie as the visitors freshened up their attack.

Tabb escaped the Blackpool defence but failed to get any power with his effort after Hunt released him in the box, then Blues appealed for a penalty for handball against Tony McMahon, referee Mark Haywood not interested. 

Paul Anderson replaced Green for the last 20 minutes as Town pressed for the breakthrough, McGoldrick denied as he weaved his way past three defenders. 

Town made a third and final change with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake coming on for his League debut, his former Wolves team-mate Hunt making way. 

Loach denied Haroun for the third time five minutes from time, denying the midfielder from close range but it was Town who finished the game the stronger with McGoldrick close to finding that elusive winner in added on time.

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