WILL Keane grabbed a dramatic late equaliser as Ipswich Town fought back to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City.

The striker rose to power home a last-gasp corner from Alan Judge as the Blues salvaged a deserved point from an entertaining Championship clash.

They are nine points adrift at the foot of the table but made up ground on both Bolton and Reading, who slumped to 4-0 defeats against Norwich and Sheffield United respectively.

Third-from-bottom Rotherham drew 2-2 in their South Yorkshire derby at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

Town fell behind in needless circumstances three minutes before half-time, following a cross from the left.

Matt Pennington and Jonas Knudsen hesitated before the latter attempted to nod the ball back to keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Instead, he headed it past the Pole and James McClean was left with the simplest of tasks to smash into an empty net. A hammer-blow.

Town huffed and puffed after the break but it looked like they were going to finish empty-handed – again.

Instead, Keane sent their fans home happy with a tremendous headed goal from Judge’s corner.

It was no more than they deserved after another battling performance.

LINE-UP: Once again, it was odd to see an Ipswich starting line-up without stalwarts Luke Chambers (injured), Cole Skuse (bench) or Freddie Sears (long-term injury victim).

However, that was the scenario as Lambert made just one change from the side that impressed in Wednesday’s draw with Derby.

Jon Nolan returned in midfield, replacing the sick Flynn Downes.

There were a couple of changes on the bench, with Skuse and Simon Dawkins replacing Nolan and Ellis Harrison.

VERDICT: Without doubt, Town deserved something from this game. Their late equaliser was a fitting reward.

They played some neat, slick football, some of which was a joy to watch.

They’re undoubtedly playing with a confidence and conviction that was missing previously.

However, much of their best play was in unthreatening areas and, as has been the case all season, they lacked a killer pass, cutting edge or someone to pick the lock and create chances.

There was little between the sides, although the visitors looked dangerous down both flanks.

Town’s diamond formation left their full-backs exposed and it was a testing afternoon for James Bree and Myles Kenlock.

Stoke had not scored in their previous four matches and, unfortunately, it was no surprise when they bucked that trend against Town. Their first goal in 404 minutes.

Also unsurprising, given Ipswich’s defensive fragility, was the fact it was gift-wrapped for them after a mix-up between Bialkowski and Knudsen.

The Dane undoubtedly misread the situation but was let down by his keeper, who rashly came out to collect a ball that was not his to deal with.

It looked like it might sum up another deeply frustrating afternoon for Town, who had given their more optimistic followers something to cling to in the way they played on Wednesday.

However, Keane’s late leveller lifted the roof and provided another chink of light.

PLAYER WATCH: TEDDY BISHOP – The midfielder started back-to-back games for the first time since the autumn of 2016. An incredible statistic that tells you all you need to know about the injuries that have ravaged so much of his fledging career.

After a bright display against Derby, this was another indication of what his side have been missing in that period.

Confident and positive, Bishop’s great strength is his ability to run with the ball.

He drove forward with pace and purpose on several occasions, most notably early in the second half when he raced to the edge of the box – only to be tackled in the nick of time by Peter Etebo.

Bishop faded as the contest went on – no surprise as fatigue kicked in – but it’s great to see him back in the thick of the action.

STAR MAN: ALAN JUDGE – The Irishman has become a pivotal figure in this Town team.

He looks so effective in his number ten role and is a hive of industry from start to finish.

He’s got class and quality – his set-pieces have become a real weapon – but I also love his tenacious, never-say-die attitude.

He bustles, chases lost causes and has become a truly great addition by Lambert.

It was no surprise that his precision corner led to Keane’s goal.

RATINGS: Bialkowski 5; Bree 6, Pennington 7, Knudsen 6, Kenlock 6; Chalobah 6, Bishop 7 (Nsiala 90), Nolan 6 (Edwards 80, 5), Judge 8; Keane 7, Quaner 5 (Jackson 63, 6). Unused: Gerken, Skuse, Dozzell, Dawkins.