Jonas Knudsen’s injury-time equaliser earned Ipswich a point against Fulham at Portman Road to keep Town’s feint hopes of reaching the Championship play-off alive.
The home side, trailing to Moussa Dembele’s seventeenth league goal of the season, scored in stoppage time to deny the Cottagers a rare away win when left-back Knudsen thundered in his first Ipswich goal from Freddie Sears’ cross after clever build-up play from David McGoldrick. Several Fulham players fell to their knees in despair and an aminated Slavisa Jokanovic threw his hands up in horror on the touchline.
The draw shouldn’t put the Whites back in the relegation dogfight with Jokanovic’s side still nine points ahead of third from behind Milton Keynes with just three games to play. Ipswich can theoretically catch Sheffield Wednesday, currently in sixth, as they are eight points adrift of the Owls at present. Milton Keynes held on for a goalless draw at Hillsborough, which helped Ipswich, and means that Fulham aren’t officially out of danger just yet.
The visitors dominated this game from the outset – as it took Town 74 minutes to test Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal. Jokanovic’s men were progressive in possession and carved out a number of decent chances. Ryan Tunnicliffe saw a drive from distance well saved before Dembele shot waywardly over the crossbar when it appeared easier to score from close range and Bartosz Bialkowski made a magnificent fingertip save to deny Shaun Hutchinson.
Fulham went in front midway through the second period – and you couldn’t deny that the goal had been coming. It arrived when the Whites went a bit more route one with a ball from the back locating Scott Parker in some space. The former England captain burst into the box and patiently waited before picking out the run of Dembele. The French forward powered a venomous swerving strike beyond Bialkowski and inside the far post.
It was no more than the Londoners deserved but they couldn’t find a match settling second. Hutchinson headed wide from a McCormack corner. Bialkowski had a huge left off when he drilled a clearance into McCormack with eight minutes remaining but the Scot couldn’t contort his body to finish as it bounced off his midriff.
Ipswich had offered more in the closing stages but still didn’t really look like scoring. Bettinelli had been extended for the first time by a blistering Brett Pitman strike but most of the home side’s openings were speculative shots from long-range, like McGoldrick’s in the last minute of normal time that was easily fielded by Bettinelli. The Fulham goalkeeper was finally beaten in the first minute of added time by Knudsen’s rocket from range that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar to steal a point for the Tractor Boys.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Chambers, Knudsen, Smith, Berra; Skuse, Douglas (McGoldrick 55); Feeney, Sears, Dozzell (Bru 54); Pitman. Subs (not used): Gerken, Kenlock, Foley, Hyam, DIgby.
GOAL: Knudsen (90+1).
FULHAM (4-1-3-2): Bettinelli; Stearman, Ream, Hutchinson, Burn; Parker (Baird 88); Tunnicliffe, Ince, Christensen (Fredericks 70); McCormack (Cairney 85), Dembele. Subs (not used): Lonergan, Garbutt, Woodrow, Smith.
GOAL: Dembele (66).
REFEREEE: Paul Tierney.