Ip­swich’s Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles shoots against Birm­ing­ham

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Dar­ren Gard­ner

BIRM­ING­HAM City boss Gary Rowett claims he has never seen a penalty de­ci­sion like the one which helped Ip­swich come from be­hind to draw on Fri­day night.

Rowett was fu­ri­ous with ref­eree Keith Stroud af­ter the of­fi­cial awarded the hosts a spot-kick de­spite not a sin­gle Ip­swich player ap­peal­ing.

Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles’ cross had al­ready trick­led to City goal­keeper To­masz Kuszczak when Jonathan Spec­tor made con­tact with the on­loan Ar­se­nal winger as he reached the by­line.

Brett Pit­man sub­se­quently sent Kuszczak the wrong way to can­cel out David Cot­ter­ill’s opener.

Rowett said: “The penalty was in­cred­i­bly soft. It took me a while to calm down.

“I’ve been in the game a long time and I’ve never seen a penalty given for that. Keith Stroud was 60 yards away and the lines­man said he didn’t see it as he had a poor an­gle.”

He added: “I know you can have an ar­gu­ment that if that’s in the mid­dle of the pitch then it would be a foul but that’s not the point, is it?

“It has to be a de­fin­i­tive foul to be a penalty be­cause it’s a big mo­ment in the game.

“I don’t think one Ip­swich player ap­pealed; when that hap­pens and you are that far from the ac­tion, why make a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion like that un­less you are 100 per cent sure?

“I was very, very frus­trated for ten or 15 min­utes but man­aged to calm down slightly in the sec­ond half.”

Rowett’s op­po­site num­ber dis- agreed though, with Mick McCarthy stat­ing it would have been a foul any­where else on the pitch.

“Spec­tor didn’t get the ball and, as harsh as it might seem to them, I think it is a penalty,” McCarthy said.

Ar­se­nal loa­nee Mait­land-Niles, who ran al­most the full length of the pitch be­fore be­ing brought down for the penalty, had a big im­pact on the match and it was the 18-year-old’s quick feet and cross which led to the first sig­nif­i­cant chance, as Fred­die Sears clipped the out­side of the post.

At the other end An­drew Shin­nie was also caus­ing prob­lems and Jonathan Grounds ar­guably should have scored when the midfielder’s through-ball left the left back one-onone with Dean Gerken, and the goal­keeper saved.

When the open­ing goal did come it was again Shin­nie who laid the ball off for Cot­ter­ill to smash into the roof of the net on 22 min­utes though Birm­ing­ham ben­e­fit­ted from a huge el­e­ment of for­tu­nate as Town de­fender Christophe Berra slipped when he was set to clear the ball.

Ip­swich only had to wait ten min­utes for their equaliser and the home side went on to have a num­ber of glo­ri­ous chances to take all three points.

Sears had a shot cleared from the goalline by Paul Cad­dis, Luke Cham­bers couldn’t di­rect a cor­ner goal­wards and Mait­land-Niles sliced hor­ri­bly wide from just ten yards out.

Daryl Mur­phy found the net 27 times dur­ing the 2014-15 cam­paign but he en­sured he re­mained goal­less so far this sea­son by head­ing wide from a set-piece. Stephen Glee­son al­most won it for Birm­ing­ham be­fore Ip­swich’s David McGoldrick dragged wide to en­sure it re­mained 1-1. “I’m not sat here think­ing we played bril­liantly,” said McCarthy.

“It was a real scrap and a real tough, com­pet­i­tive match against a team who are well or­gan­ised.

“I think we could have nicked the win in the sec­ond half with the chances we had.

“At that stage I’m think­ing ‘don’t let one in at the other end’ be­cause that can hap­pen when you keep get­ting chances.

“It wasn’t to be though, so I’ll take the point. If we had drawn at Leeds and won here we’d all be feel­ing bet­ter, but it’s the same amount of points.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LEV­ELLER: Ip­swich’s Brett Pit­man keeps his cool to level from the penalty spot

STAR MAN AINSLE

Y M’LAND

-NILES Ip­swich

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