Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 6th Mar 2018 21:54
Martyn Waghorn ended his goal drought as Town beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Hillsborough to extend Mick McCarthy’s remarkable record of never losing at Hillsborough in his 26 years as a manager. Waghorn, who had gone 15 games without a goal prior to the match, turned home Callum Connolly’s header in the 51st minute then, after Wednesday sub Lucas Joao had equalised on 69, netted a superb freekick seven minutes from time to seal back-to-back away wins for the Blues, who are now unbeaten in their last nine at Hillsborough.
Boss McCarthy made two changes from the team which beat Preston 1-0 the weekend before last with Jordan Spence and Luke Hyam both returning to the line-up.
Spence took over from Dominic Iorfa, who dropped to the bench, at right wing-back with Hyam forming a central midfield trio with Cole Skuse, who was playing his 200th game for the Blues, and Callum Connolly.
Mustapha Carayol started behind Martyn Waghorn with Joe Garner, who has been nursing a number of knocks, among the subs.
Wednesday made six changes from the team which lost 4-0 at Bristol City on Saturday. David Jones, former Blue Jordan Rhodes, Jacob Butterfield, Glenn Loovens, Tom Lees, who was making his 150th appearance for the Owls, and George Boyd replaced Joao, Daniel Pudil, Frederico Venancio and Joey Pelupessy, who were all on the bench, and Sean Clare and Jack Stobbs, who were left out of the 18.
In addition to former Blues striker Rhodes, Morgan Fox, a one-time Town academy schoolboy, was in the Owls’ starting line-up.
The game started scruffily with neither side threatening in the opening 10 minutes. However, on 11, Carayol and Knudsen exchanged passes on the Blues left and the Danish international sent over a cross which Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith just about managed to paw away ahead of two Blues players at the far post.
As the game passed the quarter-hour mark Wednesday were having most of the ball but without getting into the final third, while the Blues were looking a threat on the break.
On 16 Carayol turned his man just inside the Owls’ half and burst away at pace before feeding Waghorn out to the right. The former Sunderland man cut in but scuffed his shot wide.
In the 23rd minute Adam Reach screwed a freekick from distance well wide after Blues skipper Chambers had harshly been penalised for a foul on Rhodes.
Two minutes later, Carayol made way having picked up a niggle and Freddie Sears took over.
Soon after, Town suddenly found themselves under pressure and in the 27th minute the Owls should have gone in front.
Adam Webster’s defensive header inadvertently looped up to his right and fell perfectly for Atdhe Nuhiu, whose well-struck volley was somehow blocked at virtually point blank by Bartosz Bialkowski. It was a stop right up there with the Polish keeper’s best for the Blues.
On 33 Rhodes could only flick on Waghorn’s freekick from the right - Boyd having been yellow-carded for the foul - but fortunately for him the ball flew straight to his keeper Wildsmith.
It was Wednesday by now pinned back in their area with a subsequent Waghorn freekick from the left knocked back across goal and then cleared as was a Knudsen cross from the left moments afterwards.
On 38, following another corner, Cameron Carter-Vickers struck a powerful low effort which flew just past Wildsmith’s left post.
As the half moved into its final five minutes, the home side broke swiftly, Jacob Butterfield finding Nuhiu on the left of the area but the Kosovan international’s strike was blocked by Chambers. Soon after, Carter-Vickers picked up a yellow card for a foul.
Just before the break, Sears teed-up Connolly on the edge of the box but the on-loan Everton man’s powerful strike was blocked.
Moments before the whistle, a poor Liam Palmer ball in from the left found only a Town player, prompting boos from the home supporters as their team left the field.
The Blues had shaded a first half of few real chances, although Nuhiu’s volley so brilliantly saved by Bialkowski was the period’s clearest opportunity.
Carayol had shown a glimpse or two of his Preston form prior to being replaced, but had been on the periphery when replaced by Sears, who made more of an impact.
Rhodes, who has now gone four games without scoring against his old club, was replaced ahead of the second half with Joao taking over.
Reach hit the second half’s first effort well wide on 50, then a minute later the Blues took the lead.
Sears crossed deep from the right, Connolly nodded back across goal and Waghorn volleyed home his 11th goal of the season from close range, much to the delight of the small travelling band of Town fans at the other end of the ground.
Having netted, the striker bowled an imaginary cricket ball on the touchline, appealednd then celebrated a wicket.
Town almost make it two in the 55th minute when Sears chased a bouncing ball over the top and lobbed across to Connolly, whose goal-bound header was superbly tipped over by Wildsmith.
As the match reached the hour mark Wednesday started to put the Blues under some pressure, Chambers eventually clearing following a goalmouth scramble in the Town box.
Joao went to ground in the penalty area in the 62nd minute and claimed a penalty but merely appeared to have been outmuscled by Carter-Vickers.
A minute later, Sears seized on a loose backpass but was forced wide as he beat Wildsmith to the ball. He eventually cut back to Knudsen but his shot was blocked and the danger subsided.
The battle between Carter-Vickers and Nuhiu was emerging as one of the half’s highlights and on 67 the Blues defender did well to prevent the Owls striker from getting in a clean shot after Boyd had found him with a chipped cross from the right of the box and the ball screwed wide.
But the Owls weren’t to be denied a goal for too much longer. Joao broke into the box from the left, beating Webster and curled a neat right-foot shot beyond Bialkowski before another Town defender could get across to cover.
Grant Ward replaced Luke Hyam in the 74th minute and the former Spurs man was quickly at the heart of the action. Four minutes after coming on he robbed Reach on the Town right and cut into the box before he was felled as he crossed but referee Oliver Langford waved away the Town protests for a penalty.
The Blues had got on top again, Ward having made an impact from the bench, and in the 83rd minute they took the lead for a second time.
Waghorn was manhandled to the ground by Fox, just to the right of the penalty box following a throw. Waghorn took the freekick himself and hit an inch-perfect shot round the Wednesday wall, beyond the questionably-placed Wildsmith and into the top corner of the net for his second of the game.
As the goalscorer saluted the travelling fans at the opposite end having taken his total for the season to 12, skipper Chambers was booked for kicking the ball into the home fans behind the goal.
Garner took over from his former Rangers team-mate Waghorn for the final scheduled minute and three additional minutes, which the Blues saw out with little fanfare, unlike the corresponding fixture at Portman Road earlier in the season.
It was a well-deserved win for Town, who probably ought to have sealed the win before Joao’s equaliser with Connolly unlucky not to score his goal.
The Blues are now unbeaten in five away from home and their first back-to-back wins since beating Derby away and Nottingham Forest at home as November turned into December sees them move up to 12th, now seven points from the play-offs with a game in hand ahead of home matches against Sheffield United on Saturday and Hull City next Tuesday.
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Lees, Loovens (c), Fox, Boyd, Jones, Butterfield, Reach, Rhodes (Joao 46), Nuhiu. Unused: Dawson, Pelupessy, Pudil, Preston, Abdi, Venancio.
Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Spence, Skuse, Connolly, Hyam (Ward 74), Knudsen, Carayol (Sears 25), Waghorn (Garner 89). Unused: M Crowe, Iorfa, Celina, Gleeson. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands). Att: 22,733.
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