Ipswich Town came out on top of a topsy-turvy game as the Blues beat Port Vale and claim three big points on the road.

Freddie Ladapo’s first of the night (34) and a brilliant strike from Cameron Humphreys (38), on his first league start, had put Kieran McKenna’s Blues in a commanding position heading towards the interval at Vale Park.

But the game was turned on its head in the final seconds of the opening period, as poor Ipswich defending first allowed Gavin Massey to bring his side back into the contest, before further issues in the Town box led to Nathan Smith lashing home an equaliser just 90 seconds into the second period.

But, before Town nerves could set in, Ladapo’s second of the evening (51) put the visitors back on top as they reclaimed a lead they would never relinquish.

Next up for Town is Saturday’s visit to Charlton, with Ipswich remaining two points behind leaders Plymouth, following Argyle's home victory over Shrewsbury this evening.

McKenna made five changes to his side, two of which were enforced as Dominic Ball and Humphreys lined up in the middle of midfield, in relief of suspended skipper Sam Morsy and injury victim Lee Evans.

Three of the front four were switched, too, with only match-winner Wes Burns keeping his place from Friday night’s 1-0 victory over Derby. Conor Chaplin, Kyle Edwards and Freddie Ladapo replaced Marcus Harness, Tyreece John-Jules and Kayden Jackson.

Former Ipswich striker Ellis Harrison started in attack for the hosts, but it was Ladapo who had the game’s first opening as he took the ball on the turn and forced an early save from home keeper Aidan Stone.

Harrison, though, had a golden opportunity to give his side the lead when David Worrall’s cross from the right found its way to the back post where, under pressure from Burns, Vale’s Welsh striker could only head wide. He probably should have scored.

The visitors were second best during the opening 20 minutes of a contest which the hosts were highly motivated for, winning the majority of the 50-50 balls and putting pressure on McKenna’s men whenever they were able to gain possession.

Penalty shouts for a handball in the box, following Worrall’s right-wing cross, were waved away after the ball hit Burns in the midriff at the far post, as Vale continued to push, before a good Ipswich break saw the ball worked out for Chaplin. His shot on the edge of the box was blocked but, against the run of play, Ipswich were soon ahead.

Captain for the night, Donacien, and Ball started the move down the right flank before the ball was switched to the left through Edwards, where Leif Davis was able to run onto it and deliver an expert low cross which found a sliding Ladapo at the far post.

The Blues didn’t have to wait long for their second of the night as they pushed on after taking the lead and it came through the most pleasing of sources. Humphrey’s first league start was proving to be a difficult one, but he had grown into the contest well before Ball shielded a partially-cleared Davis corner to the youngster on the edge of the box, allowing the teenager to rifle home through traffic to double the Ipswich advantage.

A lengthy delay saw Aidan Stone treated for a head injury after taking a heavy blow when diving at the feet of Burns on the box but, despite appearing to have been knocked out, the Vale keeper carried on on a night where the hosts did not name a reserve goalkeeper on their bench.

And during the six minutes of added time, Vale grabbed one back as Massey turned the ball home from inside the box after the Blues had failed to defend the ball in a dangerous area as errors throughout the back four allowed the former Wigan man in.

It felt like Town had done the hard work before conceding before the interval, putting a game which looked to be heading the Blues’ way back in the balance, with those scales tipping Vale’s way within a couple of minutes of the restart.

Harrison was at the heart of it, battling away to win a corner which caused chaos in the Ipswich box and allowed Smith to stab home, giving the hosts parity which lasted a little over five minutes before Ladapo’s second of the night put the Blues ahead again.

Town’s third came down the left flank as Edwards, Davis and then Humphreys worked the ball into a dangerous area, where it hit defender Connor Hall, taking goalkeeper Stone out of the game and presenting Ladapo with an opportunity he couldn’t miss.

As Vale looked to respond, Ben Garrity lashed over the top as the visitors only partially cleared a long throw, before McKenna turned to his bench and introduced Tyreece John-Jules and Marcus Harness in place of Ladapo and Chaplin.

Further changes saw Richard Keogh and Kayden Jackson enter in place of Edmundson and Edwards and, despite Vale’s push for a leveller, the Blues held out to claim three big points on the road.

PORT VALE (3-5-2): Stone; Forrester, Smith (Butterworth 84), Hall (Benning 67); Worrall (Robinson 84), Conlon (cpt), Garrity, Jones, Wilson (Odubeko 67); Massey (Politic 67), Harrison.

Subs: Cass, Pett.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Walton; Donacien (cpt), Woolfenden, Edmundson (Keogh 75), Davis; Ball, Humphreys; Burns (Burgess, 90+), Chaplin (Harness 64), Edwards (Jackson 75); Ladapo (John-Jules 64).

Subs: Hladky, Camara.

Referee: Andrew Kitchen.