Super sub Jeremy Sarmiento secured Sky Bet Championship comeback kings Ipswich a stunning 3-2 stoppage-time win against profligate Southampton to go back to the top of the table.

A packed Portman Road hosted this eagerly-anticipated Easter Monday encounter between a pair of sides pushing for a place in the Premier League next season.

Che Adams and Adam Armstrong put Southampton on course for a much-needed win after Leif Davis’ stunning opener, but all too familiar wastefulness cost Russell Martin’s men dearly.

Substitute Nathan Broadhead levelled and James Bree’s 85th-minute sending off for dragging back Davis made for a nervy final conclusion.

Ipswich looked set to fall short but Kieran McKenna’s men never give up, epitomised by Sarmiento recovering from a slip to direct the ball home in the seventh and final minute of stoppage time to spark bedlam.

As for Southampton, their continued inability to capitalise when on top means their faint automatic promotion hopes are now all but over.

It was the perfect end to the night for Ipswich and their fans – including onwatching Ed Sheeran – and follows a dream start.

Sam Morsy showed skill and awareness to float a ball out to Davis, with the full-back continuing to laser a stunning shot past Gavin Bazunu at his near post in the 13th minute.

It was a quite wonderful hit met by an immediate Saints riposte.

Quick build-up played ended with Joe Aribo prodding forwards for Adams to sweep home a 14th-minute equaliser from six yards. Ipswich fans and players appealed for offside, unaware that Davis had played on the Saints striker.

Martin’s men took confidence from that equaliser and went ahead midway through the first half.

The visitors moved from back to front, with Stuart Armstrong bursting forward and continuing to play an exceptional ball through for Adam Armstrong to beat Vaclav Hladky with a first-time finish.

Ipswich offered little in terms of response beyond a Conor Chaplin strike into the ground and then lost influential Kieffer Moore to injury.

Ryan Fraser sent a shot across the face of goal and Adam Armstrong curled an effort over as the first half came to an end, with Southampton continuing dangerously after the break.

Hladky did brilliantly to stop Jan Bednarek heading in a free-kick, before the Ipswich goalkeeper saved a low shot from Adam Armstrong.

The Czech shot-stopper also blocked a Fraser effort but the longer Saints failed to extend their lead, the more chance there was for Ipswich to pull level.

Half of Portman Road thought they had in the 66th minute when substitute Ali Al-Hamadi skipped past his man and hit the post from the edge of the box.

Southampton failed to heed that warning and two minutes later were made to pay as Broadhead hit a hopeful low shot from just inside the box on the turn that beat Bazunu down low to his left.


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Play swung from end to end as these promotion contenders sought a winner, with Saints reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute. Bree hauled back Davis just outside the box and referee Michael Salisbury handed out a red card.

The tension inside the ground was palpable as both sides pushed until the end, with a late David Brooks cross stopped and Broadhead attempt saved.

Seven minute of stoppage time were announced and Sarmiento struck at the death, beating Bazunu to spark wild celebrations, having recovered from an initial slip to score.

Maidstone produced one of the great FA Cup upsets after Sam Corne downed Ipswich with a 66th-minute winner.

Corne had been the hero in round three against Stevenage and further etched his name into Stones folklore with a fine second-half finish to send George Elokobi’s National League South side into the fifth round of the competition.

Stones were indebted to goalkeeper Lucas Covolan, who made a string of saves before Lamar Reynolds excellent 43rd-minute lob dared the 4,472-travelling fans from Kent to dream.

Jeremy Sarmiento levelled for Ipswich at the start of the second half, but the Sky Bet Championship club were toppled when Corne rifled home with 24 minutes left at Portman Road to continue the fairytale run of the sixth tier side.

Maidstone had banked £231,375 in prize money on their way to the fourth round and while they had already knocked out League Two and League One opposition, Ipswich were a step up in class.

Town boss Kieran McKenna made 10 changes from Monday’s draw at fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester, but it was still one-way traffic early on.

Brighton loanee Sarmiento hit the post from 25 yards and Omari Hutchinson’s follow-up effort was saved by Stones goalkeeper Covolan inside five minutes.

Hutchinson was in the thick of the action and struck the woodwork soon after before Brazilian stopper Covolan thwarted Cameron Humphreys.

An intriguing battle between Chelsea youngster Hutchinson and Covolan had already developed with his next left-footed effort parried wide.

This was all before the 15-minute mark and while Ipswich’s relentless waves of attack momentarily calmed, Sam Morsy, Hutchinson and George Edmundson all squandered opportunities before Maidstone’s strong support were able to get excited for the first time.

Liam Sole’s lively run eventually came to nothing before a Gavin Hoyte cross was easily cleared, but it gave the support of the National League South club something to shout about.

Chants of ‘Championship, you’re having a laugh’ soon followed, although Sarmiento nearly silenced them in the 35th minute.

Sarmiento glided past one challenge and then another before his long-range strike deflected off Paul Appiah and flicked the roof of the net.

Sone Aluko was the next guilty party for Ipswich when he scuffed wide after Dominic Ball’s mishit, but it still felt a matter of time before the opener arrived.

It duly did with 43 minutes played although astonishingly went to the non-league outfit.

Maidstone broke from a corner and Sole produced a wonderful lofted pass through to Reynolds, who collected and sumptuously scooped over Christian Walton with his left foot from 18 yards to spark pandemonium.

Stones boss Elokobi kept his cool, but the rest of his staff bundled Reynolds as the away fans jumped for joy.

Half-time followed and while Ipswich had enjoyed 78 per cent possession and were 18-1 up on the shot count, it was Maidstone who held the lead.

Elokobi spent some of the interval being interviewed by BBC, but Ipswich hit back in the 56th minute.

After Stones centre-back Appiah had a pass intercepted, the hosts punished the visitors’ out-of-position defence with Jack Taylor finding Sarmiento, who curled into the corner for his second goal since arriving on loan this month.

All eyes were now on if the fairytale run of sixth-tier Maidstone would crash to juddering halt but third-round hero Corne had other ideas.

It was Sarmiento who gave away possession to Reynolds by the halfway line and Stones scorer turned creator with a pass into Corne, who impressively held off Edmundson and rifled home from 12-yards with 24 minutes left.

McKenna watched Ipswich substitute Harry Clarke test Covolan before Wes Burns fired wide and Edmundson was then booked for simulation in the 76th minute after going down with Manny Duku in close proximity.

Ipswich pushed for one last chance and their big moment arrived with six minutes left, but Conor Chaplin’s bundled effort was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Covolan to ensure Maidstone progressed into the fifth round.

Enzo Maresca insists Leicester must be wary of the Championship’s chasing pack after Ipswich stopped the Foxes going 10 points clear at the top.

Jeremy Sarmiento’s late leveller moved the visitors back into second and put a dent in the Foxes’ title procession following a 1-1 draw.

Leif Davis’ unfortunate first-half own goal gave the hosts the lead but they were unable to build on it.

Tom Cannon was twice thwarted by Vaclav Hladky while Mads Hermansen’s smart save from Wes Burns denied Ipswich an earlier leveller.

“I’ve felt the breath of Ipswich and Southampton since we started and I’ve felt Leeds’ breath also, the Championship is very long,” said Leicester boss Maresca, who served a suspension in the stands.

“If we’d won tonight we were 10 points from Ipswich and Southampton but losing or drawing it’s still very long.

“Now we are (going) in the right direction because of the performance but there are still many games.

“It’s always a shame when you drop points at the end. It happened there (in Ipswich) and happened tonight. It’s football, even if you go 2-0 up, until the end there is always danger. Overall, with the way we performed, I’m very happy.

“It was frustrating being in the stand because you don’t have the direct contact with the players. I feel frustrated about the result, not about the way we performed.”

Cannon and Hamza Choudhury went close during a confident opening from the Foxes but it took an own goal to break the deadlock after 31 minutes.

Stephy Mavididi swapped passes with Ricardo Pereira on the left and his low cross was turned into his own net by Davis – his second own goal in four games.

Pereira shot wide and Cannon went close as Leicester went for a second but they needed Hermansen to maintain their lead soon after the break when he turned Burns’ volley over.

Mavididi and Cannon had shots saved but Ipswich gradually found their edge in the second half and began to put the Foxes under real pressure, without testing Hermansen.

That was until in the final minute of normal time when Massimo Luongo was given space on the edge of the area and his drive was parried by Hermansen.

It fell straight to the unmarked Sarmiento to fire in, despite the best efforts of Hermansen, meaning Ipswich have rescued 21 points from losing positions this season.

Boss Kieran McKenna said: “The second half was much more like ourselves and we can take a lot of confidence from it. On the balance of the second half we probably deserved to get something from the game.

“We are coming back at lot, not losing many games, which is a reflection of the culture and togetherness in the group.

“I really liked the second half, there was a real conviction in the dressing room at half-time.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t manage to find that belief in ourselves but there was a real intent to go out in the second half and show that. There’s so long to go we have to focus on ourselves.

“We’re competing with teams on a points tally we’ve got no right to. Our focus remains to perform as well as we can.”

Jeremy Sarmiento’s late strike rescued a point for Ipswich and stopped Leicester moving 10 points clear at the top of the Championship.

The Foxes looked to be hanging on for victory until substitute Sarmiento’s goal with a minute left earned a 1-1 draw for the second-placed visitors.

Leif Davis’ second own goal in four games gave the hosts a first-half lead but it was one they failed to build on, even if they still sit seven points clear of Ipswich.

Efficient and functional, it would still take an implosion of some magnitude for Enzo Maresca’s side to fail to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

For Ipswich, Southampton’s 20-game unbeaten league run had helped eradicated an 11-point gap in just a month.

It meant they started the night third on goal difference behind the Saints but a point moved them back into the top two.

Leicester, coming off the back of just a fourth Championship defeat of the season after last week’s late 3-1 loss at Coventry, initially made Ipswich pay for a timid first half.

Tom Cannon’s shot was deflected behind by Luke Woolfenden but it was a slow burner until Vaclav Hladky turned Hamza Choudhury’s curling effort wide after 26 minutes.

A 1-1 draw with Leicester at Portman Road on Boxing Day showed Ipswich’s resilience and Conor Chaplin shot over but the hosts found a way through after 31 minutes.

Stephy Mavididi collected Harry Winks’ ball on the left before swapping passes with Ricardo Pereira.

The forward delivered a dangerous ball across the six-yard box and Hladky could only divert in onto the unfortunate Davis who inadvertently bundled into his own net.

Gaps soon started appearing for the Foxes and Pereira shot wide six minutes later and Hladky again saved from Cannon before the break as the host found a touch of swagger.

That was almost wiped away inside the opening five minutes of the second half as Mads Hermansen turned Wes Burns’ controlled volley over after the Foxes failed to clear a corner.

Yet it was the visitors’ only threat and Leicester settled quickly to create several openings.

Mavididi’s shot was blocked and Cannon’s acrobatic effort dropped wide before the striker continued his duel with Hladky and forced another save from 18 yards.

Jamie Vardy returned from injury as a late substitute and the Foxes looked to be hanging on for victory until the 89th minute.

Ipswich had improved as the half wore on and when Massimo Luongo was left with too much time on the edge of the box Hermansen saved his drive, only for Brighton loanee Sarmiento to follow up and snatch a point.

Carlos Corberan praised West Brom’s “maturity” as a hard-fought 1-0 win at Cardiff lifted them to third place in the Sky Bet Championship.

Jeremy Sarmiento’s stunning second-half strike gave Albion a fifth win in six games and seven from their last 10.

“It was total opposite win,” boss Corberan said comparing Albion’s success in the Welsh capital to their free-flowing victory over second-placed Ipswich on Saturday.

“This result was the consequence of the team competing with maturity when we couldn’t find the football we wanted to create.

“The first half was very difficult to impose our style, we couldn’t find more than four or five passes because we couldn’t link enough.

“It was very important for me not to be frustrated but to fix details.

“We improved the possession in the second half and had the ball in better positions.

“We had to show defensive spirit in the second half to secure the three points.”

Sarmiento has had a slow start to his Baggies spell after joining on a season-long loan from Brighton in July.

The 21-year-old former England youth international, who played for Ecuador at the 2022 World Cup, has been troubled by a quad injury and this was only his second league start.

On Sarmiento’s wonder strike five minutes after the break, cutting on to his right foot and curling home from 20 yards, Corberan said: “Maybe I didn’t expect him to shoot from there.

“He has the quality and he was very positive, but it was not easy from the angle that he had.

“It’s important for Jeremy to have the minutes because the injury has stopped him having the continuity he needs to have.

“We know he is a young player with a lot of talent and he needs to keep building his level. The more he improves the better it is for the team.”

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut was angry his side were not given a late penalty for handball, saying in a post-match radio interview that “this league needs VAR for sure”.

Bulut said: “I didn’t mention anything about referees because I respect them and I think they need to respect Cardiff more.

“This was a penalty and we will report it. I don’t want to speak but they are pushing me. They are costing me many points. I don’t want to report it.”

Bulut absolved on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Runarsson, who was making only his third league start for the Bluebirds, of blame for Sarmiento’s winner.

He said: “We watched it and I spoke with the goalkeeper coach (Mario Galinovic) and he said he couldn’t catch the ball.

“I have to see it, but if the goalkeeper coach says this, it’s a really good shot.

“We don’t have to allow that shot. But we should push the opponent to the line.”

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