Bristol City 1-1 Ipswich
Bristol City conceded a damaging stoppage-time goal for the second time in
three days as Ipswich put an end to any lingering hopes the Robins had of
making the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs.
City threw away a 2-1 lead at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to lose 3-2,
and it was late drama again at Ashton Gate as Giovani Dos Santos' injury-time
penalty earned Ipswich a point.
There was almost a pre-season atmosphere in the opening period with Richard
Wright's save from City midfielder Lee Johnson's 35th-minute drive a rare
moment of excitement.
The game came to life in the 48th minute as City midfielder Marvin Elliott
swept home Michael McIndoe's incisive ball from the left wing to give the
home side a barely deserved lead.
Nicky Maynard and Johnson both went close to extending the Robins' lead but
the momentum turned following the introduction of Ipswich playmaker Giovani.
The Mexico international came close with a ferocious long-range effort before
stepping up to calmly convert from the spot in stoppage time following a foul
on Ivan Campo.
March proved to be a woeful month for the Robins with just one win, one draw
and three defeats severely denting their promotion aspirations and leaving
them 10 points adrift of the play-offs.
And their cause was not aided when goalkeeper Adriano Basso was forced to
withdraw from the action after just six minutes with what appeared to be a
serious knee injury.
Robins boss Gary Johnson had to contend with a defensive injury crisis with
Jamie McAllister, Liam Fontaine and Louis Carey all ruled out.
And his troubles were compounded when Brazilian goalkeeper Basso landed awkwardly
following a routine catch, leaving Johnson with little option but to hand
back-up stopper Stephen Henderson his first appearance of the season.
Robins midfielder Johnson turned his man before unleashing a drive from 25
yards but former England keeper Wright proved equal to it as he athletically
tipped over the bar with the ball heading for the top right-hand corner.
But within three minutes of the re-start, the home side snatched the lead
and the match got the injection of life it so drastically needed.
McIndoe was the architect as the Robins midfielder gathered the ball on the
left and threaded an incisive through-ball to Elliott who made no mistake
from six yards out as he planted his shot into the bottom right-hand corner
to make it 1-0.
The home side were certainly in the ascendancy and almost doubled their advantage
in the 55th minute as former Crewe striker Maynard lashed a shot in on target,
forcing Wright to claw the ball away at his near post.
Maynard was fast becoming a constant menace to the Tractor Boys' back-line
and once again he tried his luck from distance - spinning before unleashing
a ferocious drive which had Wright scrambling to tip the ball over.
Ipswich boss Jim Magilton introduced on-loan Tottenham misfit Giovani, who
scored three goals in 28 appearances for Barcelona last term, in a bid to
add an attacking dimension to his side's lacklustre performance.
And the switch almost paid immediate dividends but a fantastic back-pedalling
save from Henderson denied the Mexican's thunderous 20-yard drive.
Giovani's introduction seemed to inspire his team-mates too as midfielder
Norris lashed in a thunderbolt from distance which once again had Henderson
scrambling but the substitute keeper did brilliantly to parry the ball wide.
But just as it seemed the home side had resisted the late surge of pressure,
former Real Madrid and Bolton midfielder Campo was clipped by Peter Styvar
in the area and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot.
Giovani stepped up to slot home from the 12 yards to earn his side a share
of the spoils and subsequently end any faint promotion ambitions the Robins