Ipswich held by Villa despite late flurry
Ipswich Town and Aston Villa played out a largely dismal 0-0 draw at Portman Road in a game that only threatened to burst into life in the final few dramatic minutes.
With only one shot on target in 90 minutes, Ipswich almost grabbed a dramatic win with an amazing five great chances in an enthralling end to the match.
Freddie Sears had two decent free-kicks go close before hitting the post while Leon Best and Cole Skuse were denied by goal-line clearances.
In truth, the closing stages - which included eight minutes of injury time - overshadowed a turgid encounter.
The visitors made the brighter start and almost scored with little over a minute played when Jordan Amavi's low cross just evaded Jonathan Kodjia at the far post.
Two minutes later, it was Ipswich's turn to go close when Brett Pitman's sharp first-time effort was superbly tipped around the post by Pierluigi Gollini.
From the resulting corner, Nathan Baker had to be alert to prevent Tom Lawrence's delicious inswinging corner going directly in.
Sears then shot straight at Gollini from 20 yards, moments after having a good shout for a penalty waved away, before Baker's brilliant blocked tackle denied Lawrence a certain goal.
The Leicester City loanee was proving to be a handful and Lawrence whistled an ambitious 30-yard half-volley just over the crossbar on 24 minutes.
It was an evenly-matched encounter which nearly turned in Ipswich's favour when a flowing move from the home side ended with Sears firing into the side netting in the 41st minute.
A closely-contested start to the second half saw Jonathan Douglas head Lawrence's free-kick wide before Villa almost broke the deadlock minutes later.
Luke Chambers' poor back-pass was seized upon by Jordan Ayew, who rounded Bartosz Bialkowski, but Adam Webster dashed back to tackle the Villa striker before he could tap the ball into the empty net.
It was a poor second half, with Villa bossing possession but with only one shot on target for either side until the match burst into life in the final few minutes.
Sears went agonisingly close with a free-kick that was deflected just wide before substitute Best met the resulting corner but his goalbound header was cleared off the line by Kodjia.
With eight minutes of injury time played after a nasty clash of heads, Sears saw another great free-kick parried away by Gollini before Skuse's chip towards goal was headed off the line by Aly Cissokho.
It was a thrilling end and it was left to Sears to almost snatch a late winner when his run at the heart of the Villa defence ended with a deft shot which hit the outside of the far post.