The good news is Ipswich took their unbeaten home run to five games.
The bad news is the Blues looked to have regressed with the same sloppy defending, a by-passed midfield and a lack-lustre attack.
Knowing they would be fall eight points behind Ipswich if they lost City went at Town who struggled to cope.
Jon Stead squandered a great chance to score against his old club when he found fresh air rather than the ball from a low cross.
Stead had other good chances but it was former Colchester United and Crystal Palace midfielder Neil Danns who put the Robins ahead after 11 minutes.
He pounced on a loose ball which came off Daryl Murphy and lashed in from 20 yards for his second in City colours in seven games.
Ipswich responded and DJ Campbell looked sharp in the box but was thwarted by a one-handed Tom Heaton save and the former Manchester United keeper also did well to block the follow up.
The Blues equalised on 33 minutes when Murphy nodded down a Lee Martin corner and Tommy Smith produced a sublime finish to hook the ball into a top corner from seven yards.
Although Town looked better in the second half they could not find the killer goal and Campbell was replaced by Michael Chopra, which was a bit mystifying until you consider DJ will not be here in January.
Martin had a chance blocked and Andy Drury hit a rubbish free kick wide in the dying moments so Ipswich are still too near the bottom three for comfort.
Took goal well
Effort but little influence
Flattered to deceive