Soccer

Ipswich deserved to win hard-fought draw with West Brom – boss Kieran McKenna

Ipswich substitute Omari Hutchinson fired home through a crowd of players in the dying moments to rescue a point.

Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich twice hit back to claim a point at home to West Brom
Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna applauds Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich twice hit back to claim a point at home to West Brom (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna felt his side deserved to win a hard-fought 2-2 Championship encounter against top-six rivals West Brom at Portman Road.

Substitute Omari Hutchinson fired home through a crowd of players in the dying moments to rescue a point for the hosts but the result dented their bid to climb back into the automatic promotion spots and it is now just one win in nine league games for them.

The Baggies opened the scoring through Tom Fellows in the first half with Nathan Broadhead replying for Ipswich just after the start of the second, but a wonderful strike by John Swift – from nearly 30 yards out – was cancelled out by Hutchinson in the third minute of stoppage-time.

The Tractor Boys came close to gaining maximum points during a frenetic eight minutes of added time when Albion goalkeeper Alex Palmer blocked a shot from Ali Al-Hamadi from point-blank range.

McKenna said: “I thought it was a really good game, great atmosphere, bar from a couple of inches from the end, we would have been talking about an absolute classic in terms of games we’ve had at this stadium.

“Lots of good things about the performance. I thought we deserved the three points to be honest. Lots of good things about the performance, on the ball, also off the ball, plenty of good things.

“Two moments that we did not defend well enough that leads to frustration that we haven’t won the game and another game that we feel like we’ve done enough to win the game.

“A lot of pride in the way we played, the effort given, the atmosphere the supporters created and stuck with and going behind twice to West Brom to put the pressure on that we did to get a point…we can take a lot from that.

“In plenty of games we have had better opportunities, better chances and more of them and not given too much away and that’s always frustrating when we don’t get the wins, but it’s always much more concerning when you’re not giving away chances, that’s not been the case.

“You have spells in the season when we were extremely clinical and made some big interventions at the other end as well so you usually hope and trust your performances are consistent and you are creating more than you are giving away, you’ll pick up plenty of points.

“They (West Brom) are a really fit team who work hard. The energy levels we had at the end, the impact of the substitutes – that’s something that we can take big positives from.”

Visiting head coach Carlos Corberan said his Baggies outfit put “a lot of energy and a lot of effort” in their performance to gain a point but was satisfied with the stalemate.

He said: “We scored a goal after we started to make more passes and we started to make them suffer more.

“If you leave too much and give a goal to them, it’s very difficult to win the game.

“We put a lot of energy and a lot of effort in to try and win the game.”

Corberan admitted the injuries to both Kyle Bartley and substitute Daryl Dike contributed to his side losing the lead and ultimately, dropping two points.

He said: “Everyone is effected when you see an injury. I think the injury of Bartley has effected the rest of the team.

“He was fantastic in the middle of the pitch but I understand that with the skill in the set-pieces, he was the best.

“We were stable in the first half and it was something we tried to fix for the second half but before we started the game (again), they scored a goal in the second phase of one throw-in and again, they scored a goal again in the second phase of another throw-in. It’s off another set-piece.

“But I think the team showed some positives in the second half. We attacked but we did not attack enough.”