Ipswich Town 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday - Match Report
Wednesday, 22nd Nov 2017 22:02
Sheffield Wednesday sub Atdhe Nuhiu headed an equaliser four minutes into injury time to grab a 2-2 draw with the Blues at Portman Road. Joe Garner put Town ahead on 48, Gary Hooper levelled via a 64th minute penalty after Jordan Spence had handballed, then Martyn Waghorn’s header on 70 looked to have won it for the Blues until Nuhiu’s late goal stole an undeserved point for the visitors.
Myles Kenlock replaced the suspended Jonas Knudsen at left-back in what was otherwise an unchanged Town team.
The Blues again started in their increasingly familiar 4-2-3-1 system with lone out-and-out striker Garner ahead of David McGoldrick, Waghorn and Bersant Celina. Emyr Huws was on the bench for the first time this season.
Sheffield Wednesday named the same team that drew 0-0 at home to Bristol City at the weekend with ex-Blue Jordan Rhodes in the XI, while Nuhiu replaced Lucas Joao on the bench.
Town immediately went on the attack, Kenlock sending in a dangerous cross from the left which Wednesday did well to clear.
In the fourth minute Owls skipper Glenn Loovens was extremely fortunate not to be sent off after catching McGoldrick in the groin with a high, studs-up boot.
The Town striker unsurprisingly spent some time on the ground and received treatment before continuing. Referee Keith Stroud - who had seen the incident but had played on with the Blues in possession and breaking forward - subsequently spoke to Loovens but failed to issue a card of either colour.
While McGoldrick was off the field, the Blues threatened from a well-worked freekick on the right, Celina playing the ball to Cole Skuse on the edge of the box but the midfielder’s shot was blocked.
The Blues continued to look the more dangerous side and on eight Callum Connolly played in McGoldrick on the right with only one defender ahead of him but the Town number 10 shot over.
Wednesday went close for the first time in the 16th minute, one-time Town schoolboy Morgan Fox sending over a cross from the right which ex-Blues striker Rhodes headed not too far wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s right post.
The game meandered a touch as it passed the quarter hour mark with further stoppages for injuries and freekicks.
But in the 23rd minute Kenlock played a superb cross-field ball to McGoldrick, who fed Connolly and the on-loan Everton man took a couple of touches before hitting a powerful shot which was too close to Owls keeper Keiren Westwood.
Moments later, Celina cut in from the left and hit a right-footed shot which Westwood claimed low.
Town forced the Wednesday keeper into another save in the 26th minute when Garner was sent away in space on the right and crossed deep to Celina, but the Kosovan international’s diving header was too close to Westwood who palmed away.
Seconds later, McGoldrick scuffed a 20-yard effort which his Irish international team-mate easily claimed low to his left.
Ross Wallace shot wide from distance for the Owls, then on 33 the Scottish international curled a freekick over from 25 yards after he had been fouled by Kenlock.
But the Blues continued to have the upper hand as half-time approach and the swirling wind grew stronger.
And they should have claimed the lead their first-half display deserved in injury time. Garner sent over a cross from the right towards Celina at the far post, Jack Hunt cut it out but presented the ball to Waghorn on the edge of the box.
However, the Blues’ eight-goal joint-top scorer scraped a rather hurried effort which Westwood saved when he could have taken his time. Referee Stroud ended the half soon afterwards.
Town will feel their first-half display ought to have yielded a goal with Westwood by far the busier keeper. But while the Ireland international had made stops, he hadn’t been forced to make any outstanding saves to keep his side on terms.
At the other end, Rhodes’s header had been the Owls’ only real chance, while Wednesday skipper Loovens will know he got away with what should have been a red card for his early challenge on McGoldrick.
Perhaps as a result of that challenge McGoldrick was replaced by Freddie Sears ahead of the start of the second half.
The former West Ham man was quickly into the action, teeing-up Waghorn for a shot on the left of the area, which was deflected just wide.
And from the corner, the Blues went in front. Celina sent the ball over, Spence flicked on at the near post and Garner volleyed into the roof of the net at the far post. It was the 29-year-old’s fifth goal of the season and his first in eight games.
At the other end, Spence then did well to hold off Rhodes as a cross came in for the right and the Blues withstood a brief flurry of Owls pressure following the goal.
Town might have added to their lead in the 56th minute when Adam Webster nodded a Waghorn freekick from the right over at the near post.
A minute later, Waghorn won the ball off Tom Lees on the Town left and tried an audacious 35-yard chip which looped well wide when the breaking Celina clearly wanted it played inside to him.
Skuse was booked for a foul on Barry Bannan in the 59th minute, then Wednesday swapped Fox for Steven Fletcher.
The Blues should have doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Waghorn sent Sears away in the clear. The sub rounded Westwood at pace but took the ball too wide and should have squared to the unmarked Celina but instead shot against the keeper who had retreated.
The Owls switched Wallace for Kieran Lee on 62 and two minutes later they were handed an equaliser they didn’t deserve in slightly freakish circumstances.
A deep cross was sent over from the Wednesday right and Spence looked to flick the ball beyond Fletcher behind him. However, the right-back missed his header and the ball subsequently hit his outstretched left arm - the wind may have been a factor - and referee Stroud pointed to the spot.
Ex-Norwich striker Gary Hooper took the spot-kick - Wednesday’s first for 34 games -and lashed the ball to Bialkowski’s left to level.
Wednesday briefly looked like getting on top but without testing the Blues’ keeper further, the penalty having been their first shot on target.
On 67 Huws came off the bench to make his first appearance of the season after signing on a permanent basis from Cardiff in the summer following his loan last season. Celina made way.
And the Welshman made an immediate impact, helping to create Town’s second goal with his first touch of the campaign.
Sears crossed from the left and found Huws beyond the far post from where he sent the ball back in towards Waghorn, who headed his ninth goal of the season across Westwood and into the corner of the net.
Wednesday sub Lee was booked for rather cynical challenge on Garner on 77, then a minute later Grant Ward replaced Waghorn. On 81 Hunt was booked for a foul on Garner.
Town were looking more likely to increase their lead than the Owls were to pull on back and on 84 a Sears cross from the right was deflected out to Spence in the box but the full-back’s first touch let him down and he was crowded out.
Rhodes was replaced by Nuhui in the 87th minute, seconds after appealing for a penalty but the Town academy product appeared to have tripped over the Blues midfielder rather than been felled.
In the final minute of scheduled time Fletcher headed over for Wednesday and Town looked to be seeing the game out comfortably until the fourth of five additional minutes.
After Town had lost the ball in the far corner, Wednesday broke, Adam Reach crossed from the left and sub Nuhiu rose above Webster to nod past Bialkowski from close range.
It was an equaliser the Owls didn’t deserve but one which claimed them a point with referee Stroud bringing the evening to a close soon afterwards.
Town would thoroughly have deserved which was theirs until the final moments having been much the better team throughout against a poor Owls side.
Having got their noses in front, the Blues were then able to get themselves ahead for a second time after the penalty and had had further chances to score prior to conceding the last-gasp equaliser.
The draw - Town’s second in two games having gone 25 matches without recording any - sees the Blues stay in ninth where they were prior to the midweek games, three points from the play-offs, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Webster, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Skuse, Connolly, Waghorn (Ward 78), McGoldrick (Sears 46), Celina (Huws 67), Garner. Unused: Gerken, Iorfa, Ward, Nydam, Bru, Huws.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Fox (Fletcher 60), Rhodes, Butterfield, Bannan, Loovens (c), Hooper, Lees, Reach, Wallace (Lee 62). Unused: Wildsmith, Jones, Van Aken, Palmer, Nuhiu. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Att: 15,702 (Owls: 1,158).
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