Middlesbrough 0-0 Ipswich Town

23 Apr

Middlesbrough's Emilio Nsue shows his disappointment after missing a chance against Ipswich


A goal difference of just one separates Middlesbrough and Burnley at the top of the table

Middlesbrough missed the chance to go top of the Championship and Ipswich’s play-off hopes were ended as they drew at the Riverside Stadium.

Boro remain second behind Burnley and ahead of Brighton on goal difference, with the league’s top three sides equal on 87 points after 44 games.

Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski made fine saves to keep Stewart Downing and Jordan Rhodes out before the break.

Rhodes then went closest to winning it, hitting the post after the break.

Boro’s 22nd Championship clean sheet of the season was enough to extend their unbeaten run to eight games, but their profligacy sees them wedged between Burnley and Brighton in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League with two games remaining.

Ipswich’s hopes of finishing in the top six were unlikely even before kick-off, with Sheffield Wednesday moving nine points clear in the last remaining play-off spot with a 1-1 draw at Derby County.

Ghana international Albert Adomah and £9m February arrival Rhodes – denied in a one-on-one by Bialkowski in the 34th minute – were particularly bright for Boro in the first half, while defender Paul Digby, making his first Ipswich start, made a crucial tackle to foil Emilio Nsue before half-time.

Gaston Ramirez was industrious for Boro after the break, and helped create the best chance of the game, only for Rhodes to hit the inside of the post after beating Bialkowski.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy:

“If I’ve done one person a favour it’s (Brighton manager) Chris Hughton, because he’s a mate and he’s such a wonderful guy.

“So Chris, that’s a point for you. I hope we’ve helped him get promoted.

“I haven’t got a clue who is going to go up though. I tipped Derby when they beat us, I tipped Middlesbrough when they beat us at our place, I tipped Burnley at one stage, Hull when they beat us – all of them slapped us.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka:

“We have to be positive. I said a month ago that we were in a good position, and I would say that we are in an amazing position now.

“We have two games to go, one at home, and we are more mature now and have a better squad (than last season). We are going to be more rested than we were today. For that reason, I have to be positive and transmit a positive message.

“I don’t know how many chances we need to score a goal because the score today should have been three or four-nil. We had a lot of clear chances, but we couldn’t score.

“We have played seven games in 23 days, and in this period, to win five and draw the other two games when everybody is tired is really good.”

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