A remarkable goalkeeping performance from Arran Lee-Barrett ensured Ipswich an undeserved victory at Ashton Gate.
The Robins laid seige to the Ipswich goal from the very first kick, but could not find a way past an inspired goalkeeper in the opposition goal.
City had Ipswich on the ropes several times in the first-half, with Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Nicky Maynard, Jordan Spence and former Tractor Boy Jon Stead were all denied.
Albert Adomah burst down the right flank before pulling the ball back to an unmarked Campbell-Ryce who saw his shot clawed out by Lee-Barrett.
The highly-rated Connor Wickham then had a great chance to open the scoring, forcing David James to make a point-blank save.
Moments later, the Suffolk side were reduced to 10-men when Lee Martin was given his marching orders for a rash challenge on Kalifa Cisse.
Following the 27th minute dismissal, City turned the screw again with Stead and Spence both testing Lee-Barrett before the Welsh stopper plucked Marvin Elliott’s pinpoint header out of thin air.
Campbell-Ryce was thwarted again five minutes before the break, when Lee-Barrett deflected his shot to safety following more good work by Adomah on the wing.
Stead and Campbell-Ryce both tried their luck again, only to find the half-time interval had not effected the concentration of Ipswich ‘keeper!
And just to rub salt into our wounds, Josh Carson’s speculative low drive from 30-yards – in what was to prove Ipswich’s second shot on of the whole match – flew into the net.
By now, I expect you all know the script. City continued to huff and puff but found Lee-Barrett in unbelievable form.
Not content with keeping out TEN City efforts on goal as stoppage time approached, the Town ‘keeper produced another outstanding save to to keep out Brett Pitman’s last-gasp drive, while the lively Adomah saw his shot from distance flash just wide.
CITY (4-4-2): James; Spence, Stewart, Nyatanga, McAllister; Adomah, Cisse (Skuse ’72), Elliott (Woolford ’80), Campbell-Ryce; Stead (Pitman ’58), Maynard.
IPSWICH (4-5-1): Lee-Barrett; Carson, Delaney, McAuley, O’Dea; Edwards, Norris, Leadbitter (Healy ’70), Martin; Bullard; Wickham.
REFEREE: Russell Booth (Nottinghamshire)
* Match ratings provided by Bristol Boy.
David James – 6
Good general keeping and one point blank save in the first-half, but I’m sure he’ll be disappointed when he see’s the goal.
Jordan Spence – 7
Strong game and some good forward forays without finding the final ball.
Lewin Nyatanga – 7
Solid defensive display.
Damion Stewart – 7
Another strong performance and if there was one bloke in our team you wouldn’t want hanging the Louis on you at full ramming speed I respectfully suggest, it’s him!!
Jamie McAllister – 6
Defended well, but produced a series of poor set piece deliveries.
Albert Adomah – 7
Getting strong and fit enough to play three games a week and that bodes well for the future. Caused problems throughout, but the quality of the crosses needs to move up a notch as does the accuracy of the shooting.
Kalifa Cisse – 7
Solid performance and good positional play in the holding role.
Marvin Elliott – 4
Error lead to the Ipswich goal and his first touch & passing isn’t good enough for an NPC midfielder right now. One of those games when the harder he tried, the worse he got. A game to forget.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce – 6
Had several chances to bag a goal, but was denied by a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping.
Jon Stead – 5
Forced out wide left at times and that didn’t help however it would be nice if our players gambled forward on his flick ons.
After three months on the sidelines, it was hardly surprising that his touch was well off today, but the only way to get match-fit is to play matches and, as a contender for Player of the Season before his injury, let’s give the lad a chance.
Nicky Maynard – 6
The odd good moment, but not his best game. We desparately need some creativity to get the best out of our forwards and wide players. He also needs to get across defenders at the near post more.
Martyn Woolford – 6
Added some much-needed width, but couldn’t quite deliver. Is looking stronger, but he’s not confident – and it shows.
Cole Skuse – 6
Tidy and hard working, but not game changing.
Lively enough, but couldn’t finish when his hard work and positional play deserved more.
“We’ll play worse and win!”
Although I’m sure we’ll play worse than that and win, we failed to capitalise on our numerical adavantage and the sending off seemed to effect us more than Ipswich. Try as we may, we were all about huff-and-puff and not about opening the defence and quality in the final third.