Report: Another frustrating draw as Town pegged back at rock-bottom Crewe
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Ipswich Town were pegged back by rock-bottom Crewe Alexandra as their away campaign ended in yet another frustrating draw.
At the end of a largely forgettable first half, in which the Blues forced six corners but few chances, Kieran McKenna's men took the lead when Conor Chaplin produced an unerring finish in the box from Kane Vincent-Young's cutback.
In a more open second period, Christian Walton made a superb reaction save to deny Mikael Mandron's close-range header in the 59th minute.
The already-relegated Railwaymen - who had lost 18 of their previous 20 games - were able to snatch an equaliser four minutes from time though when Tom Lowery rifled an unstoppable 25-yard effort beyond Walton's despairing dive.
Town have now won just one of their last eight games and remain 11th place in League One heading into their final match, at home to Charlton, next Saturday.
McKenna made four changes to the team which had started the entertaining 2-2 home draw with Wigan Athletic four days earlier. The injured Matt Penney (dead leg) and Wes Burns (ankle) fell out the squad completely, while Bersant Celina and Macauley Bonne dropped to the bench. In came Dominic Thompson, Kane Vincent-Young, Joe Pigott and James Norwood.
A quartet of Under-23s players were named among the substitutes, Elkan Baggott joined by keeper Nick Hayes plus midfield duo Cameron Humphreys and Tawanda Chirewa.
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Town started brightly and, in the sixth minute, saw a Norwood effort at the near post blocked behind after Chaplin's cut back from the right.
A distinct dead rubber feel soon crept into the game though and there were no real chances at either end until Pigott lifted a long-range shot well over in the 28th minute.
Crewe's first opening of the game came from a well-worked short corner routine in the 34th minute. Thankfully for Ipswich, Callum Ainley's effort inside the box was straight at Christian Walton.
Town's first big opening arrived soon afterwards when Tyreeq Bakinson's lofted pass set Norwood away one-on-one in the box. Keeper David Richards was quick off his line to smother the chance though.
Chris Long rifles a couple of angled efforts narrowly wide for Crewe as a largely forgettable half of football came towards it end.
Ipswich had forced six corners but ultimately not created enough good goalscoring opportunities.
Kieran McKenna's were able to find a breakthrough in stoppage-time though thanks to a well-established move off the training field.
Vincent-Young, who had always been an attacking outlet down the right, did really well cut the ball back tight from the byline and Chaplin was there in the centre of the box to produce an unerring finish into the bottom left corner.
It was the forward's 11th goal of the season in all competitions and brings him just one behind leading scorer Macauley Bonne with one game to go.
Town started the second period on the front foot. Pigott rose highest in the box to meet Thompson's cross, but could only put a difficult header straight at Richards.
Moments later, Chaplin produced some neat footwork to create himself half a yard of room 25 yards out, but his well-struck shot flew just past the far post.
Crewe offered a reminder of the fragility of Town's one-goal lead just before the hour mark though. After Long had skipped past Chaplin to stand up a cross from the left, striker Mikael Mandron looked destined to score with a close-range header. Blues keeper Walton produced a stunning reaction save to keep the ball out though.
McKenna turned to his bench in the 70th minute and made a double change, Idris El Mizouni and Celina replacing Vincent-Young and Pigott respectively.
In an increasingly open game, both teams had openings in the box. El Mizouni produced an important block in the box on Mandron at one end, while Norwood had an effort saved at the other following good work by Chaplin.
It was Crewe who scored the game's all-important next goal. After Luke Woolfenden made a good tackle in the box, the ball span out kindly to Tom Lowery around 25 yards from goal and he arrowed an unstoppable effort beyond the despairing dive of Walton.
Urged on by the home crowd, the Railwaymen went in search of a winner. It required a well-timed lunging tackle from Cameron Burgess in the box to deny Long after Mandron had drilled in a cross from the left.
CREWE ALEXANDRA (4-2-3-1): Richards; Alebiosu (Finney 53), Sass-Davies, Offord, Williams (Sambou 85); Murphy (cpt) (Griffiths 63), Lowery; Uwakwe, Ainley, Long; Mandron.
Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, O'Riordan, Tabiner, Kashket.
Booked: Lowery (60), Griffiths (65), Sass-Davies (90+).
IPSWICH TOWN (3-4-3): Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Vincent-Young (El Mizouni 70), Morsy (cpt), Bakinson, Thompson; Chaplin (Bonne 90+), Pigott (Celina 70), Norwood.
Unused subs: Hayes, Baggott, Humphreys, Chirewa.
Booked: Norwood (14), Bakinson (33), Thompson (40).
Referee: S Mather.
Attendance: 4,981 (1,318)