Sky Bet Championship: Christophe Berra equalises late on for Ipswich against Birmingham
Last Updated: 20/08/14 3:40pm
Scotland international Christophe Berra was the thorn in Birmingham's side with two opportunist goals to earn Ipswich a 2-2 Sky Bet Championship draw at St Andrew's.
Birmingham twice took the lead through David Edgar and Clayton Donaldson but the Tractor Boys would not be denied with Berra obtaining his second goal two minutes from time.
Birmingham, however, had every reason to feel aggrieved as they had enjoyed most of the attacking play and deserved their interval lead following a fine headed goal from Edgar.
They can, however, take heart from their latest performance. They may have problems off the pitch but the invigorating spirit showed by the team promises a big improvement upon last season.
Their new resolve was demonstrated by their determination to regain the lead through a solo goal by Donaldson in the 63rd minute.
But it was hardly a game for purists. The short-ball game often went out of the window as both teams operated a long-ball policy.
Consequently the game flowed backwards and forwards with neither side really getting the upper hand in the early stages.
Birmingham were indebted to a smart save by Darren Randolph in the 10th minute when he prevented Daryl Murphy from opening the Tractor Boys' account.
Paul Anderson began to make an impact on the left for Ipswich and he made one penetrating run which ended with on-loan striker Conor Sammon getting himself in a tangle when attempting to make contact on the edge of the six-yard box.
Birmingham's best opportunity in this period fell to Lee Novak. Goalkeeper Dean Gerken dropped a high ball but the former Huddersfield striker jabbed at the ball and ballooned over the bar.
Novak's next attempt was on target but his weak header from a Paul Caddis cross posed no problem for Gerken.
The finishing of the Ipswich attack was equally indifferent. In particular Murphy should have made a better fist of scoring only to twist his shot well wide of the target.
Ominously Birmingham began to dominate the exchanges and there was one scare when Donaldson snatched at a low cross from David Cotterill and shot wide as challenged by Tommy Smith.
It was a warning shot for Ipswich as Birmingham created the breakthrough in the 30th minute, their Canadian defender Edgar obtaining his first goal for the club.
The Ipswich defence were entirely at fault on this occasion as no one marked Edgar on the far side for Cotterill's corner and the former Burnley player picked his spot to score with a well-directed header.
The visitors' equaliser came five minutes into the second half and again it was from a dead-ball situation.
On this occasion it was a free-kick from Anderson deep on the left which was glanced into the net by Berra.
Birmingham's tenacious spirit was demonstrated in the 63rd minute when Donaldson latched on a long through pass from Wes Thomas to slip the ball past the advancing Gerken.
Nevertheless, they were denied victory when Berra converted a pass from Anderson to earn a last-gasp draw.