Derby County’s woes from 12-yards continued this afternoon, as Jamie Ward’s 43rd minute penalty was kept out by Scott Loach, prior to Carlos Edwards’ stoppage time winner.
Ward’s penalty became the fourth consecutive spot-kick that the Rams have failed to convert, and despite an abundance of goalmouth attempts, Derby were left stunned following Edwards’ thumping drive in injury time.
Although the visitors were chasing their first away victory of 2013, having claimed four points from a possible 24 on the road, the Suffolk club arrived at Pride Park unbeaten in their previous four league outings, and had conceded just once in their last seven Championship fixtures.
Therefore the inclusion of Ward was somewhat a timely return for the Rams, as the 26-year-old’s ingenuity was a quality that was required to unlock a stubborn Ipswich side.
In the opening stages, Ward displayed signs of his inventiveness after returning from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the side’s victory at Elland Road on Easter Monday; cutting inside from the left prior to seeing his curling effort unorthodoxly beaten away by Loach in the opening 20 minutes.
The former Watford shot-stopper then reacted superbly to claw away Craig Bryson’s half-volley, whilst when the ‘keeper was beaten on the half-an-hour mark, the post came to his saviour as Conor Sammon stroked the ball against the woodwork after being sent through by Bryson.
In one of Ipswich’s fleeting attacking moves in the opening 45 minutes, Edwards ghosted into the penalty area before seeing his cut-back across face of goal evade everyone in Blue shirt.
Derby continued to dominate possession as they pressed forward in search of an opening goal, and two minutes before the interval, the Rams had the best opportunity of the half to break the stalemate at Pride Park.
Captain Richard Keogh was wrestled to the floor in the penalty area by Tommy Smith as he attempted to connect with Ward’s inswinging corner. The former Sheffield United forward took responsibility of the resulting penalty, only to see his firmly struck spot-kick kept out by the trailing legs of Loach.
Both sides were guilty of lacking a cutting edge in the opening exchanges of the second half, with the Rams’ first attempt of second period falling to Norwich City loanee Chris Martin in the 62nd minute.
Although the forward duly turned in strike-partner Sammon’s low cross, referee Eddie Ilderton adjudged the 24-year-old to have strayed into an offside position.
Nottingham Forest loanee McGoldrick burst into life two minutes later, and despite Bryson’s best efforts the striker edged his way into the penalty area, but was denied a clear effort on goal by the desperate lunge of Buxton.
The former Mansfield defender was then in action at the opposite end of the field, as he towered highest to nod Paul Coutts’ corner narrowly wide, before Ward’s final act of the game was to guide Kieron Freeman’s inches past the post – all within the final quarter.
In the final flurry of action, Jacobs turned apoplectic with rage after being denied a penalty, whilst Cresxwell fired a warning shot in the final minute when his sweetly struck shot rose over the crossbar.
However, unfortunately for the Rams, there was a final twist in the tale as Edwards surged towards goal and smashed a 25-yard effort past Frank Fielding in the final seconds, to boost the visitors' survival hopes.
Derby County: Fielding; Freeman, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson (Davies 85), Ward (Jacobs 79); Sammon, Martin
Subs not used: Legzdins, Davies, Gjokaj, Bennett, Roberts, Doyle
Ipswich Town: Loach; Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards, Hyam, Drury (N’Daw 59), Tabb; McGoldrick (Chopra 84), Murphy (Nouble 59)
Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Emmanuel-Thomas
Attendance: 23,081 (939 visiting supporters)