04/01/2015: Saints 1-1 Ipswich
Saints were held to a 1-1 draw with Ipswich at St Marys. Ronald Koeman's men spent most of the game on the front-foot, but struggled to break down a well drilled opponent. The two sides will meet again on 14th January in a replay at Portman Road.
Saints looked a bit lethargic during the opening 30 minutes. Ipswich sat back and defended deep for the most part, but occasionally looked sharp on the break. Victor Wanyama had the first major effort, shooting just wide on 13. Stephen Hunt then had an opportunity at the other end. Ipswich took a deserved lead on 19. The impressive Tyrone Mings crossed for Darren Ambrose, who looped his header over Fraser Forster.
Saints were slightly slow to respond, and were struggling for fluency in the final third. Graziano Pelle did go close with a back-heel on 24. Saints did improve slightly during the last quarter of the first half, and were rewarded with an equalising goal on 33. Pelle flicked a long forward ball into the penalty area towards Morgan Schneiderlin. The Frenchman hooked the ball over Christophe Berra and keeper Dean Gerken for 1-1. Saints remained in the ascendency until half-time. Steven Davis and Pelle had efforts blocked. Ryan Bertrand missed with a low drive. Ipswich had one final opportunity just before the break with Luke Hyam hitting a powerful effort wide.
Ipswich spent the entire second-half defending, barely breaking out of their own half. Saints had all the possession, but struggled to find a way through a penalty area packed full of Ipswich players. Shane Long and Ryan Bertrand both had good penalty shouts turned down. Pelle had a shot saved, but as the minutes ticked away the chances started to dry up. Substitute Lloyd Isgrove did brighten things up slightly. Ipswich were well organised and worked hard throughout. Saints showed a bit more urgency towards the end of the game, but never really looked like getting a second goal.
A fairly forgettable performance. It's never easy to play against a team who defend in numbers. For all the possession, the final ball was mostly poor from Saints. Ipswich looked tidy in spells going forward, but completely reined it in after the break. The draw means a replay, and an unwanted mid-week fixture. Three away trips in different parts of the country obviously doesn't make for ideal preparation.
Forster: 6. Didn't have a lot to do
Ward-Prowse: 6. Never really at ease playing at right-back
Fonte: 6. One mistake in the first half, but generally looked comfortable. Broke forward quite often
Gardos: 6. A few well timed challenges. Fairly decent
Bertrand: 6. Made some good forward runs down the left flank
Wanyama: 7. A bit sloppy early on, but strong in other periods
Schneiderlin: 7. Not quite at his best, but did some things really well and got the all-important goal
Davis: 6. Quick feet in the middle of the park started off a few attacks
Tadic: 5. A couple of decent bits of play, but fairly quiet on the whole
Long: 5. Won a few lost causes with his positive running, but mostly disappointing in and around goal
Pelle: 6. Involved in a few goal-scoring opportunities, but a bit disappointing overall
Isgrove: 6. Made a bit of a difference with his positive direct running
Saints - Schneiderlin (33)
Ipswich - Ambrose (19)
Attendance - 31,201 (5,536 Ipswich fans)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Saints: Forster, Ward-Prowse, Fonte, Gardos, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Davis, Tadic (Isgrove 65), Long, Pelle
Subs not used: K Davis, Targett, McCarthy, Alderweireld, Seager
Ipswich: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Hyam, Bru (Sammon 86), Ambrose (Skuse 69), Hunt (Stewart 62), McGoldrick, Murphy
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Parr, Bajner, Clarke