PORTMAN ROAD SAFETY SCARE

IPSWICH TOWN 0, STOKE CITY 0THE win Ipswich Town so desperately needed eluded them today as Stoke City defended like mad to hold out for a point at Portman Road on an afternoon that began with a nasty safety situation.

IPSWICH TOWN 0, STOKE CITY 0

THE win Ipswich Town so desperately needed eluded them today as Stoke City defended like mad to hold out for a point at Portman Road on an afternoon that began with a nasty safety situation.

The kick-off had to be delayed for 13 minutes when it was noticed part of the structure of the upper tier of the North Stand roof had come loose.

Supporters looked up at the damage while stewards ushered those who should have been sitting underneath to other seats.

The Ipswich fans hoped the afternoon would end up with their team raising the roof and providing a

three-point haul that would keep promotion play-off hopes very much alive.

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It was a combination of missed chances, some excellent goalkeeping by the loanee Mark Crossley and injury problems that contributed to Town's failure to get more than a point.

Icelander international Hermann Hreidarsson came back to action after a four-game suspension, however he ended up being carried off on a stretcher after 24 minutes with a bad knee injury.

Soon after, midfield player Tommy Miller went off with a recurrence of his knee trouble.

Andy Marshall, in the Ipswich goal, had very little to do – hardly anything in fact – apart from a good save just before half-time. His opposite number, Crossley, had to always be on his guard.

Town gave it their all, but all too often their passing let them down on a pitch which these days is not conducive to the sort of football that is the hallmark of the Blues.

Richard Naylor, the substitute hero in the 1-1 draw at Wolves on Wednesday, was desperately unlucky with a stunning shot not long before the end that Crossley brilliantly kept out.

Magilton in particular was unlucky with some good efforts.

For full match report, analysis and pictures don't miss tonight's Green 'Un.

PLUS: New column On Your Side and Terry Butcher under siege – only in the Green 'Un

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