TIP THE BALANCE
Mings Bournemouth deal brings benefits to Ipswich
chances at will. Joe Garner – a handful throughout – headed wide from six yards, Chris Humphrey miscued a sitter and Paul Gallagher stung the palms of Dean Gerken.
Then, in a flash, Ipswich were ahead, Freddie Sears crossing for Pitman who peeled off Bailey Wright to head in at the near post.
Yet if the opener was clinical, so was Preston’s response, a lightning counter-attack that saw Humphrey send Johnson haring into space.The former Villa midfielder had plenty of time to balls it up, but his sidefoot finish showed admirable cool. Nevertheless, Preston’s fire had largely been quelled and a turgid, boggy second-half was grinding to a halt before Fraser’s moment of magic.
Again Pitman was involved, teeing up Fraser on the edge of the box. The 21-year-old winger didn’t even take a touch, whipping a smooth, arching finish over and beyond the despairing Jordan Pickford for his second goal in four games.
For Preston full-back Greg Cunningham, a poor result was only the half of it.
Drafted into the provisional Ireland squad and watched at Deepdale by a clean-shaven Roy Keane, the 24-year-old suffered a hamstring injury and was withdrawn after half an hour. Keane headed for the exit shortly afterwards, presumably to tell Martin O’Neill he needed a Plan B.
“He’s just tweaked his hamstring,” said Grayson.
“He’ll probably be out for Tuesday, beyond that we don’t know.
“Up to this game we’d kept three clean sheets and been really satisfied in what we’ve done.
“You want to give yourselves a good platform and a performance like that against the top of the league can only help us.”
LEAP: Preston’s Paul Huntington battles with Christophe Berra