Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 5th Nov 2016 17:12
Skipper Luke Chambers headed an 87th minute winner to see the Blues to a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday, maintaining boss Mick McCarthy’s unbeaten record as a manager at Hillsborough. In the first half Tom Lawrence had put Town ahead with a brilliant first goal for the Blues but Gary Hooper had hit back almost immediately with what looked to be an offside goal for the Owls.
Jonas Knudsen returned at left-back in an otherwise unchanged Town side, the Danish international having missed last week’s 2-2 home draw with Rotherham due to a back injury. Myles Kenlock dropped to the bench.
The game started brightly with both sides creating early opportunities. Blues captain Chambers did well to get across to crowd out Adam Reach after the former Middlesbrough winger had been played in down the middle in the second minute.
Play quickly moved to the other end of the field and David McGoldrick tricked his way past a defender on the edge of the box but screwed his effort well wide.
On eight Barry Bannan shot over from 20 yards after Kieran Lee had escaped down the Wednesday right and cut in.
Neither side was able to create a further chance until the 25th minute when Steven Fletcher struck a shot on the turn which Adam Webster deflected behind. From David Jones’s corner on the left, Fletcher headed powerfully over.
But Town, in their all white second strip for the first time in the Championship, had been been in what was an evenly-balanced game, albeit without conjuring an opportunity.
Until that is the 32nd minute when Lawrence put the Blues ahead with a brilliant first goal for the club.
The on-loan Leicester man dispossessed Jack Hunt just inside the Town half and brought the ball forward before cutting inside and smashing a low right-foot shot from just inside the box across keeper Keiren Westwood and into the net.
But Town’s lead lasted less than four minutes. Jones, who played for Mick McCarthy at Wolves, hit a low shot which Bartosz Bialkowski did well to keep out down to his left but Hooper reacted quickest to slam home from close range, although looking to be one of a number of Wednesday players to have strayed offside.
Reach, who was a player Town showed interest in early in the summer, headed back across goal but with none of his team-mates in the box on 41, then at the other end McGoldrick crossed too deep for Freddie Sears and Daniel Pudil headed back to his keeper while grounded.
Neither side threatened again and the scoreline at the break was a fair reflection of the half.
Wednesday had had the better of the game’s few chances prior to Lawrence’s excellent goal, while the Blues will be disappointed to have conceded so soon after grabbing the lead, even more so if replays confirm that Hooper was indeed offside.
The Owls almost took the lead within a minute of the restart, Hooper battling to the edge of the area before hitting a low shot which Bialkowski saved down to his right. Webster and Lee both reacted quickly and the Town defender did enough to cause the Wednesday midfielder to stab wide.
On 55 Hunt crossed from the right but Fletcher was unable to get over the ball and sent his header well wide.
A minute later Town skipper Chambers picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Reach, then Fernando Forestieri replaced the former Boro man, before Fletcher was yellow-carded for a foul on Sears in the 59th minute.
Town had been more on the back foot after the break with the home side in charge but without creating too many chances.
Webster made one of his increasingly familiar charges forward in the 66th minute but was dispossessed before he could find Sears to his right. Jonny Williams replaced the again quiet Bishop in the 70th minute.
Fletcher hit a weak effort through to Bialkowski in the 73rd minute with Wednesday by this stage rarely threatening against a determined and disciplined Blues side and the home crowd making their frustration and anxiety clear.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Wednesday swapped Jones for Ross Wallace, then on 79 Kevin Bru took over from Lawrence for Town.
The Blues created what was up to then their best opening of the half in the 81st minute after a Cole Skuse break. Williams failed to find McGoldrick with a chip to the far post but the ball fell to Ward, who played in Sears but as Westwood closed him down quickly, the striker’s shot hit the stanchion behind the goal.
Town were starting to look the more dangerous side and on 84 Williams came close to his first goal of his latest loan spell at Portman Road.
Ward found himself space on the right to cross and the Wales international turned the ball against Sam Hutchinson from inside the six-yard box when he seemed certain to score.
But the Blues didn’t have to wait too long for what would prove the winning goal. Ward won a freekick wide on the right and the former Tottenham man whipped over a deep cross, Berra won a free header at the far post but the ball was going wide until Chambers nodded his second goal of the season powerfully past Westwood at the far post, right in front of the travelling Town support.
In the final minute of normal time Luke Varney, like McGoldrick a one-time Wednesday loanee, replaced Ward.
As the fourth official’s board indicated four additional minutes McGoldrick cut in from the left but scraped his shot across the face and wide.
The Blues saw out the remaining minutes comfortably to claim a hard-fought three points.
After an even first half, Wednesday had the better of the early stages of the half but the Blues defended determinedly and in the latter stages broke quickly through among others Sears, McGoldrick and Williams and in the final 10 minutes looked the more likely winners with Chambers reacting quickly to add his header with Berra’s on the way wide.
The result sees the Blues go into the international break having moved up one place to 15th, now seven points off the relegation zone and five off the play-offs.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Jones (Wallace 75), Lee, Fletcher, Reach (Forestieri 57), Hooper (Abdi 81), Lees (c), Hutchinson, Hunt, Pudil, Bannan. Unused: Dawson, Loovens, Palmer, Buckley.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Webster, Berra, Skuse, Bishop (Williams 70), Ward (Varney 90), Lawrence (Bru 79), Sears, McGoldrick. Unused: Gerken, Best, Emmanuel, Kenlock. Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire). Attendance: 25,851.
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