Birmingham City 2 Ipswich Town 2: Dunn rescues point but Birmingham drop off perch

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The Independent Online

The notion that Birmingham City will cruise in a serene and unmolested way back to the Premiership was shown to be well and truly false here. Twice Steve Bruce's men, who were leading the Championship yesterday morning, came from behind, but it was not enough to stop them losing the lead in the division, with Cardiff City taking that particular honour.

After the interval there was an impression that both sides felt guilty for what had - or hadn't - gone before. All four goals came after the interval and with a sending-off into the bargain, the third in a row for Birmingham, it all more than made up for the initial torpor.

Despite Birmingham's lofty position, Ipswich were actually the team coming into this game on the better run of form, with three consecutive wins. David Dunn's equaliser, four minutes from time, denied them a fourth but their revival under Jim Magilton, after a poor start to the season, is undeniable.

The Northern Irishman said: "We were outstanding overall, fantastic. I can't fault my players. They're getting better and are hungry. I would have taken this point beforehand but I'm disappointed not to win. Birmingham won't have a tougher game this season."

Difficulties for the home side started before the interval, with the clash of heads involving Radhi Jaidi, which meant Birmingham's centre-half had to be replaced. However, it led to a greater freedom for Ipswich's front two and an intriguing running battle between Alan Lee and Bruno N'Gotty.

The visitors took the lead after 50 minutes when a mistake by Dunn, of all people, gifted the ball to Lee, who was clinical from 12 yards but Dudley Campbell, after 73 minutes, took advantage of a lapse by Lewis Price, the Ipswich goalkeeper. When he spilled it, the striker was quickest to the rebound. That spurred Magilton's side on and within four minutes they were ahead once more. Simon Walton's shot was deflected in off N'Gotty, whose afternoon got even worse when he received a red card for kicking out at Lee.

Despite that setback Birmingham were not finished and when they won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area four minutes from time, Dunn beat Price at the second attempt. A relieved Bruce said: "Credit to Ipswich and we'll take a point."

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