Ipswich Town 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers: Holy the hero as Blues survive a night of real controversy at Portman Road
PUBLISHED: 21:48 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 28 November 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town had Tomas Holy to thank as they left with a point on a night of major controversy at Portman Road.
The big Czech goalkeeper, recalled to the side in place of Will Norris, produced a penalty save out of the top drawer to deny Joe Jacobson as time ticked down, after what was adjudged by referee Alan Young to have been a foul by captain Luke Chambers inside the box.
However, replays showed the foul came outside the area for what was the last in a long line of poor decisions from the officials, with Young showing 11 yellow cards.
As Holy clawed the ball away it felt like justice was done, particularly after a major moment at the end of the first half ruled out a perfectly good Ipswich Town goal.
All bar the 793 Wycombe fans inside Portman Road were thoroughly perplexed by the referee's decision to rule out a Chambers header which had sent the home fans wild once it had hit the net.
The visitors instantly appealed for hand ball, while replays showed it to have come off a Wycombe player last, with all four sides of the famous old ground booing as one to vent their displeasure.
Young had waved away an earlier penalty appeal after a Jon Nolan shot looked to have clearly hit the hand of a Shrewsbury defender, on what was a night of poor, inconsistent officating.
A sense of injustice was in the air and it was never truly swept aside as Ipswich probed against a Wycombe side more than happy to leave Suffolk with a point.
That keeps the Chairboys five clear at the top, with Ipswich still holding two games in hand, but the Blues will be unhappy at not being able to force the issue on home turf.
Aside from the disallowed goal there were few moments of real threat from Paul Lambert's men, while the late introduction of wingers Gwion Edwards and Danny Rowe and striker Will Keane didn't have the desired effect.
Next up for Ipswich is a pair of cup games, firstly in the FA Cup at Coventry on Sunday before an EFL Trophy game with Peterborough the following Wednesday, ahead of a return to league action against Coventry a week on Saturday.
Occasions like this have been few and far between at Portman Road in recent years, with the Blues heading into a top-of-the-table clash under the lights on their home turf.
The visitors are League One's surprise package, a Wycombe side with a budget firmly in the lower reaches of the division and who had a total of just nine players signed on when pre-season began in late June.
In their number they included Matt Bloomfield, their talismanic skipper with 523 Wycombe appearances to his name, with the Felixstowe born midfielder making just one in Ipswich blue before his departure in 2003.
Lambert once again made changes to his side, bringing four players following the weekend draw with Blackpool.
He switched his goalkeeper, with Holy replacing Norris, while Emyr Huws and James Wilson came back into the side. There was also a return for striker James Norwood.
The start was frenetic, with both sides trading attacks, as titanic Wycombe frontman Adebayo Akinfenwa made his presence felt among the trio of Ipswich central defenders.
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Two early penalty shouts came and went as Luke Garbutt and Nolan shots were said to have been handled by Joe Jacobson in the space of a minute, the latter particularly blatant, before the first big Ipswich chance of the evening.
Nolan worked the ball through midfield and into Kayden Jackson, who had drifted into the right channel to deliver a delightful cross which appeared to be half a yard too far in front of Norwood who stretched as far as he could but couldn't get enough on his header to hit the target from inside the six-yard box.
Captain Luke Chambers had dealt with the threat of 16-stone Akinfenwa well in the opening minutes but had a difficult moment a little before the half hour, when 'The Beast' won an aerial duel before getting a low shot away which Holy needed to save with his legs.
The fast start faded, but Ipswich were still having the best of things and came close to opening the scoring when Chambers met a Garbutt corner well but could only angle his header wide of the far post.
Then came the moment of controversy.
It began from a moment of ecstasy, as Chambers superbly headed home a Garbutt cross and thundered off towards a wildly-celebrating North Stand. The Blues, it seemed, were one up and Portman Road was rocking.
But with the majority of the Ipswich side back in their own half for kick-off, referee Young was in deep discussion with assistant Aaron Farmer, with the two ultimately deciding to disallow the goal. Replays showed the ball took a touch off a Wycombe defender on the way into the net, with Jackson potentially in an offside position behind him.
Norwood was booked for his protests as the home crowd made their feelings clear, before doing so again as the officials were escorted off by security at the break.
There was a real feeling an injustice had been done, with the boos sounding once again as the referee and his assistance returned.
Ipswich set about their task at tempo but weren't able to force any real openings, other than a deep Garbutt cross which Norwood headed towards goal only for Darius Charles to clear.
Bloomfield was replaced with 20 minutes to go, receiving a warm applause from all-four sides of Portman Road, at a time when neither side had been able to take a stranglehold on proceedings.
Nolan had two efforts on goal, one deflected over and the other just not sitting up for him as he fired over, as Ipswich probed with little real threat.
The goal didn't come, though, and for the second time in just four days the Blues were made to settle for a point at home.
They only secured that thanks to Holy's supreme penalty stop, as he reached up a long arm to claw Jacobson's effort out after Chambers' foul.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Donacien, Woolfenden, Chambers, Wilson (Edwards, 82), Garbutt; Skuse, Huws (Rowe, 82), Nolan; Jackson, Norwood (Keane, 88)
Subs: Norris, Nsiala, Judge, Dozzell
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Grimmer, Stewart, Charles, Jacobson, Gape, Thompson, Bloomfield (Freeman 71), Wheeler, Smyth (Kashket 62), Akinfenwa.
Subs: Yates, Phillips, Samuel, Ofoborh, Aarons
Attendance: 19,215 (793 Wycombe fans)