JEWELL HAILS LEADBITTER CHARACTER
Ipswich manager Paul Jewell praised Grant Leadbitter's character and quality after the midfielder rescued a point against Middlesbrough.
The former Sunderland man missed a penalty but made amends by scoring his fourth goal in as many appearances in a 1-1 draw at Portman Road.
Lukas Jutkiewicz had put Boro ahead in the 63rd minute before Leadbitter secured a point for the hosts with a blistering shot from 30 yards.
The point keeps Middlesbrough in fifth with Jewell's side 15th in the npower Championship.
Jewell said: "Grant's been terrific of late. He looks like he's got goals in him and he's been playing well.
"After missing the penalty, he showed real character to take the shot on.
"It was a great goal and a tough technique, coming across his body like that."
Jewell felt his side improved after a poor first-half performance.
"In the first half we were very flat and couldn't get any momentum going," he said. "We look a bit jaded. Eight games in a month is a punishing schedule and it took the penalty miss to breathe life into us.
"Then we went behind but showed good character and resilience to equalise.
"It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves.
"There were a lot of our players who didn't have their best game tonight but we've got something from the game, against a very good team.
"They've got the best away record in the division and will be right up there at the end of the season."
Town had a golden chance to take the lead when referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot, after a foul by Julio Arca on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
However, Leadbitter's shot was well-saved by keeper Jason Steele.
Five minutes later, Boro took the lead.
Justin Hoyte played the ball across the face of goal and substitute Jutkiewicz flicked a close-range effort past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
However, Town equalised 11 minutes later when Lee Martin teed up Leadbitter and the midfielder unleashed a low, powerful drive that arrowed into the bottom left-hand corner.
Boro boss Tony Mowbray said: "We came to counter-attack. Ipswich had won five on the bounce at home so we didn't come here to be over-expansive.
"We've won a lot of games on the road by trying to do that, being solid and not giving many goals away - as teams do at the Riverside.
"It's not a crime to do that.
"The home team have to try and break you down but we restricted Ipswich to very few chances.
"We probably had the best opportunities and our dressing room was disappointed to only get a point."
Mowbray felt justice was done when Steele saved Leadbitter's penalty.
"Our players thought it was ridiculously soft, but goalkeepers who save penalties deserve credit," he said.
"Young Steele has been a big plus for us this season.
"He's a young boy playing in a team trying to get out of this league and he's doing an exceptionally good job."
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