Leicester 1 Ipswich 1: Gallagher and Schmeichel make Town pay the penalty
Leicester came from behind to claim a share of the spoils against Ipswich in a keenly-contested npower Championship encounter.
There was just 24 seconds on the clock when Lee Martin was upended in the penalty area by Paul Konchesky, who was lucky to avoid an early bath as last man, but Michael Chopra saw Town”s first penalty of the season turned away by Kasper Schmeichel.
The visitors, however, had to wait just four minutes for some early festive joy thanks to Lee Bowyer”s second goal of the season, which started to look like clinching Ipswich”s first away win at Leicester since Boxing Day 2002.
Like father like son: Kasper Schmeichel saves Michael Chopra”s penalty
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Mills, Bamba, Gallagher, Dyer (King 46), Wellens (Schlupp 87), Abe, Nugent, Beckford (Howard 84).
Subs Not Used: Weale, Danns.
Goals: Gallagher 69 pen.
Ipswich: Lee-Barrett, Cresswell, Delaney, Sonko, Edwards, Martin, Andrews (Bullard 43), Bowyer, Chopra (Emmanuel-Thomas 72), Scotland (Ellington 83),Murphy.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Wabara.
Booked: Sonko, Martin.
Goals: Bowyer 4.
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
That was until Paul Gallagher”s second-half penalty after Jason Scotland”s handball, preserving manager Nigel Pearson”s unbeaten home record since taking charge although his side are now winless in four.
Town may have missed out on what would have been a third successive victory for the first time this season, but they will be much the happier with a point and have now taken seven from a possible nine after ending a seven-match losing streak.
The 27,091 present had to wait little time for some action as a flowing Ipswich move was brought to an abrupt halt as Martin was brought down in the area by Konchesky, who, as last man, escaped with nothing more than a warning from referee Darren Drysdale.
And Leicester were soon completely off the hook as Chopra”s penalty was parried around the post by Schmeichel.
But the hosts had not even got out of their own half when Bowyer lobbed a ball into the box which City failed to clear and the midfielder, who continued the path of his own pass, smashed home the loose ball from six yards.
Match official Drysdale was again at the centre of matters after just eight minutes as Ipswich centre-half Ibrahima Sonko, who like Konchesky was the last man when he fouled Jermaine Beckford, was shown a yellow card.
Equaliser: Paul Gallagher (left) celebrates with Jermaine Beckford
Gallagher fired the resulting free-kick narrowly wide before Town somehow wasted a great chance to make it 2-0 at the other end, Scotland and Daryl Murphy failing to convert.
The tempo slowed midway through the half, raised only by handbags between Damien Delaney and David Nugent.
Town lost on-loan skipper Keith Andrews to injury just before half-time, with question marks now hanging over the midfielder”s fitness before his scheduled January return to Blackburn.
Ipswich kicked off the second half on the front foot but it was Nugent who had the first real chance 10 minutes after the restart, his six-yard volley well saved by Arran Lee-Barrett.
Substitute Jimmy Bullard fired straight at Foxes stopper Schmeichel soon after before the game went into another scrappy lull.
But the King Power Stadium was awoken in the 69th minute when Scotland was penalised for handball in the penalty area and Gallagher fired under the body of Lee-Barrett.
Foxes centre-back Matt Mills missed a wonderful late chance by firing off target from close range in the 89th minute as both sides kick-started the festive period with a point.