|Sheffield Wednesday 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 20th April 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Town
Saturday, 20th Apr 2013 17:04
Jay Tabb scored his first goal for four and a half years as Town drew 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday as they continued, but were unable to complete, their march to Championship safety. The on-loan Reading man’s knee diverted home a Carlos Edwards long throw in the first half of a scrappy game in which the Owls equalised after the break through Leroy Lita.
Town boss Mick McCarthy made one change from the team which beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Tuesday with Tabb returning to the side in place of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas at left midfield. Otherwise, the 18 was unchanged.
The Blues, in all white, came close to going in front in the sixth minute when Tommy Smith’s header at the far post from Tabb’s corner on the right was blocked on the line by Danny Pugh.
The home side had one or two moments where they threatened around the edge of the box in the early stages and on 11 one-time Blues trialist Jermaine Johnson headed a Giles Coke cross straight to Scott Loach when he should have tested the Town keeper more.
Within a minute, Town were in front. Carlos Edwards – a man who has scored and always won on all his previous visits to Hillsborough – sent in a long throw from the right which looped over Miguel Llera and Jay Tabb diverted the ball past Chris Kirkland at the near post from a few feet, to his surprise as much as anyone else's.
It wasn’t just Tabb’s first goal for the Blues, but the on-loan Reading man’s first since netting twice for Coventry at home to Southampton in October 2008.
Luke Hyam almost made it 2-0 in the 18th minute when he hammered a 25-yard strike which Kirkland did well to push away for a corner.
On 20 Johnson lashed wildly over for the Owls with Town feeling Llera had caught Daryl Murphy with an arm when he had initially won the ball.
Wednesday made a tactical substitution in the 25th minute when veteran striker Steve Howard took over from Kieran Lee as Dave Jones switched things around with Johnson moving to wide right. But three minutes later the Owls boss was forced into another change when Johnson pulled up with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Chris Maguire.
Despite the change around, the home side made little headway with the game largely scrappy and with a number of stoppages for minor injuries not helping the game’s flow. But on 40 sub Howard ought to have evened up the scores but headed over Pugh’s corner from the left when he clearly felt he ought to have done better.
The Owls went closer just before the break when former Norwich loanee Leroy Lita found the space to hit a shot on the turn which Loach stopped down to his right. Murphy half-cleared to Anthony Gardner, whose effort was scrambled off the line by Smith.
There were no more chances before referee Geoff Eltringham blew the whistle on what had been a rather scrappy 45 minutes with the Blues just about shading it.
The goal had had a touch of good fortune about it, while Wednesday had begun to look more threatening towards the break.
Town started the second half strongly and created most of the early chances, the again lively Frank Nouble just failing to get his head on an Edwards cross, then Guirane N’Daw volleyed wide from the edge of the box.
On 53 Nouble teed up Murphy on the edge of the area but the Irishman curled his low shot just wide. Two minutes later, Loach claimed Jeremy Helan’s deflected shot.
Wednesday created another opportunity soon after, Howard nodding the ball down to Llera but Luke Chambers threw himself in to make a superb challenge.
But an Owls goal wasn’t too much longer in coming. Lewis Buxton crossed from the right to Lita, who had escaped Richard Stearman at the far post, and the on-loan Swansea man slammed the ball past Loach.
The goal woke up the home fans as their team began to put the Blues under pressure, Llera just failing to make enough contact on one of a number of corners, the ball skimming wide of Loach’s left post.
On 64 Nouble and Edwards broke quickly after an Owls flagkick but the Trindadian’s shot was blocked for a corner which came to nothing. Four minutes later, Patrick Kisnorbo replaced Stearman, who had picked up a knock, the Australian slotting alongside Smith with Chambers moving to the right.
Llera curled a freekick to Loach on 75, but Town were beginning to come back into it, Nouble and Hyam both receiving the ball in promising areas inside the box but were unable to work an opportunity to shoot at goal.
Wednesday thought they were in front in the 77th minute when Lita headed Helan’s cross from the left home from a few yards out but from an offside position. Three minutes later, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas replaced Murphy.
Town went close to grabbing a second goal in the 82nd minute when Kirkland failed a claim a long throw from the left and Nouble hooked it goalwards, only for Pugh to clear off the line for the second time during the afternoon. Soon after, Anthony Wordsworth took over from Tabb.
Neither side was able to create much in the remainder of what had been a scruffy game with a draw a fair result.
Town just about had the better of the first half, but the Owls were on top during the second, although the Blues also had one or two opportunities after the break.
The result sees Town move on to 57 points but down to 14th, six points clear of the relegation zone, however, still requiring another point to mathematically ensure survival, although it would now take a remarkable set of scorelines in the remaining two weeks for the Blues to take the drop into League One.
Town: Loach, Stearman (Kisnorbo 68), Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, Hyam, N'Daw, Tabb (Wordsworth 83), Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 80), Nouble. Unused: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Drury, Chopra.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Llera, Helan, Lee (Howard 25), Coke, Olofinjana, Pugh, J Johnson (Maguire 28), Lita. Unused: Bywater, Taylor, Mattock, Prutton, McCabe, Howard. Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham). Att: 23,630.
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