James McClean

A STOPPAGE time goal from Will Keane dashed Stoke City’s hopes of a first away win since October.

Nathan Jones had looked to be on course to claim his second win as City manager when James McClean fired his side in front shortly before half-time at Portman Road.

McClean, rewarded by Jones for an impressive display as a substitute against Wigan Athletic in midweek with a return to the starting line-up, seized on a defensive lapse by Jonas Knuden to break the deadlock shortly before half-time.

That looked like being enough to earn City victory but Ipswich had other ideas and Keane’s last-gasp goal earned Paul Lambert’s Tractor Boys a point.

The Potters made a bright start to the game in Suffolk and came close to forging a breakthrough after just three minutes. Tom Edwards sent over a cross-cum-shot from the right that threatened to embarrass Bartosz Bialkowski before the Ipswich ‘keeper managed to finger-tip it over the bar.

Tom Ince squandered an opportunity to test Bialkowski from an unmarked position on the edge of the area as he fired over the bar after Sam Vokes had knocked down McClean’s cross from the left and Joe Allen had teed the ball up for him.

Referee Scott Duncan showed a yellow card to McClean 12 minutes before the break for a clumsy challenge on Jon Nolan.

Vokes went close to his first goal for the Club just seconds later as he directed his header from Ince’s inch-perfect cross over the bar.

Ince’s influence on the game was growing and he sent over another teasing cross that both Allen and Vokes had nibbles at but were unable to find a way past Bialkowski.

Teddy Bishop provided the best moment of the first half for Ipswich after robbing Bruno Martins Indi of possession on the edge of the City area. He drove on into the box before squaring for the onrushing Nolan who was unable to provide a finish.

It was, however, the Potters who went in at half-time leading, courtesy of McClean as he was rewarded for his persistence. Jonas Knudsen made an awful hash of dealing with a long ball forward – he looked to find Bialkowski with a cushioned header but had not realised his goalkeeper was off his line. 

McClean could not believe his luck and had the simple task of firing into an empty net to send the 1,138 travelling supporters into raptures.

Ipswich were just inches away from restoring parity early in the second half when Alan Judge fired a free-kick from 25 yards out against the woodwork with Jack Butland beaten.

Lambert made his first change of the afternoon on 62 minutes as he introduced striker Kayden Jackson in a like-for-like swop for Colin Quaner.

It was, however, the visitors who looked the more likely to add to their lead. Tom Edwards produced a lung-busting forward run before finding Vokes on the edge of the area only for the former Burnley man to scoop his shot over the bar.

The Potters made their first change with 15 minutes remaining as Afobe replaced goal-scorer McClean and he was soon followed into the action by Charlie Adam, fit again after a four-match lay-off with a calf injury, who replaced Ryan Woods.

Ipswich sub Jackson failed to capitalise on a gilt-edged change to level seven minutes from time as he volleyed over after good work down the right by fellow replacement Gwion Edwards.

But with the game in the second minute of added time Ipswich finally got their reward as Keane rose highest to head past Butland from a corner from the right.