Ipswich add to Burton's relegation concerns with narrow win
Former Ipswich striker Luke Varney scored an own goal as Town claimed a battling 2-1 win over Burton at the Pirelli Stadium.
Varney, who joined Burton from Ipswich in January, was unfortunate enough to get the last touch on Tom Lawrence's teasing 52nd-minute corner to break the deadlock of a tense encounter, having only come on as a half-time substitute.
Freddie Sears then doubled Ipswich's lead 11 minutes from time following a counter-attack and although Burton pulled a goal back through Lucas Akins' penalty, the relegation-battling Brewers could not find an equaliser as Lasse Vigen Christensen saw his late effort hit the crossbar.
Nigel Clough's side are now just two points above the drop zone after seeing many of their rivals at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship pick up points on Friday.
Burton now head to 19th-placed Birmingham on Monday in a clash which could be crucial for both clubs.
Ipswich, meanwhile, are 15th on 52 points, seven above Burton.
The first half at the Pirelli took a while to get going as both defences stood firm and restricted chances.
Cauley Woodrow's snapshot after 10 minutes was kept out by Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski before Ipswich started to open up going forward.
David McGoldrick was foiled by Burton keeper Jon McLaughlin from a speculative effort that skidded off the wet surface and both McGoldrick and Sears were thwarted by last-ditch challenges from John Brayford and Lloyd Dyer on the edge of the Burton box.
Albion switched to a 3-5-2 midway through the first period and soon began to look more threatening.
Woodrow forced an error in the Ipswich defence that saw a visiting defender loop the ball over his own crossbar and a shot from Marvin Sordell fell kindly for Dyer to lash a shot wide.
Ipswich thought they had grabbed the lead on the half hour when Grant Ward's shot took a deflection off team-mate Myles Kenlock to beat McLaughlin before an eagle-eyed assistant ruled the youngster offside.
Burton had strong shouts for a penalty when Woodrow's shot appeared to be blocked by the arm of Tractor Boys skipper Luke Chambers as the first half continued at a fast pace.
It took until seven minutes after half-time for the first goal to arrive, though, and it was the unlucky Varney who was the goalscorer as he gave his former employers the lead.
Michael Kightly spurned an excellent opportunity to equalise soon after when he shot straight at Bialkowski from close range and Ipswich felt they should have had a penalty when McGoldrick looked to be grappled to the ground by John Mousinho.
Ipswich doubled their lead following a swift counter-attack in the 79th minute, with Kenlock helping to set up Sears to score at the second attempt after seeing his first effort saved by McLaughlin.
Burton were handed a lifeline when Akins slotted home from the penalty spot with five minutes to go after Varney had been bundled over by Kenlock.
And, after Brett Pitman wasted a late chance to wrap things up for Ipswich after firing straight at McLaughlin, the hosts almost snatched a dramatic leveller only for Christensen to see his late effort tipped onto the bar.