Keane looks up after Town turnaround

Leicester City 1 Ipswich Town 1: Ipswich manager will have to start turning draws into wins if his improving side are to embark on a late charge for the Championship play-offs, writes John Percy

At a tense, searingly honest AGM towards the end of November Roy Keane ascertained that he had "five or six weeks" to save his job at Portman Road. It is safe to say that the Ipswich manager has succeeded in riding the storm, just a few months after presiding over the worst start to a season in the club's history.

Keane was housebound – unable even to get into his car – last week due to the snow but Ipswich's Championship play-off bid now appears to be gaining traction, with this draw at the Walkers Stadium ensuring that they have lost only one of their last 14 games. While the sacking season has kicked into life in this unforgiving division, at least Keane's revitalisation has provided trigger-happy chairmen with another warning that change is not always the answer.

After such a dreadful start, that saw Ipswich fail to win their first 14 league games, the Irishman has masterminded an impressive recovery. There was a time in October when they were the only club in all four divisions without a league win.

Only a difficulty in transforming draws into victories – this was their 13th stalemate of the season –is holding Keane back. Last night he was even talking up the chances of sneaking into the play-off places. "You've got to believe and I'm a dreamer," he said. "Sixth place can be available to nine or 10 teams. You only have to look at Crystal Palace's run a few years back to see what can be achieved.

"We can talk all day about it but I've got a bus to get and I'm sure you people have got to go home. We can have a good season, whatever that means. The draws won't get us up that table and we need wins – but we can't be written off.

"What is holding us back and will continue to hold us back is goals. The onus is on the strikers and something we need to look at. We can do a lot better in terms of possession but to draw a game and to be disappointed is progress."

The game was only 20 seconds old when Ipswich stunned the home fans in the Walkers Stadium into silence. Jack Colback's delicious cross bamboozled the Leicester defence and, under pressure from David Norris, Ryan McGivern could only divert the ball past goalkeeper Chris Weale into his own net.

It provided a decent platform for Keane's men who controlled the first half hour. Leicester, however, have built the foundations of their impressive progress under Nigel Pearson on an excellent home record and they levelled in the 38th minute. Lloyd Dyer's innocuous pass somehow confused the visiting defence enough to find its way through to Steve Howard who slid the ball past Arran Lee-Barrett.

The young Ipswich goalkeeper may have been powerless to prevent Howard's intervention but enhanced his growing reputation early in the second half. As Ipswich failed to clear a corner, Wayne Brown's scissor kick went all wrong but Matty Fryatt swivelled eight yards out to hook a volley towards goal that Lee-Barrett clawed to safety.

Leicester finished the game stronger but could not test Lee-Barrett again, earning a point that keeps them in the play-offs places. Pearson admitted: "It wasn't a very good game and we struggled a wee bit to get anything going today in a positive manner. It was a poor goal to concede and set the tone for the afternoon. We tried hard but didn't hit the standards that we've set ourselves."

Leicester City (4-4-2): Weale; Neilson, Morrison, Brown, McGivern; King, Oakley, Wellens (Gallagher, 71), Dyer (Waghorn, 71); Howard (Kermorgant, 84), Fryatt. Substitutes not used: Logan (gk), Adams, N'Guessan, Hobbs.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Lee-Barrett; Bruce (Rosenior, 57), McAuley, Delaney, Balkestein; Peters, Leadbitter, Norris, Colback (John, 83); Walters, Wickham (Garvan, 73). Substitutes not used: Murphy (gk), Wright, Edwards, Quinn.

Referee: M Haywood (W Yorkshire)

Booked: Ipswich Bruce.

Man of the match: McAuley

Attendance: 20,758

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent