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Ipswich Town 0-0 Sheffield United - Match Report
Saturday, 10th Mar 2018 17:08

Town’s hopes of reviving their play-off challenge were dealt a significant blow as they drew 0-0 at home with Sheffield United. The Blades came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half when sub James Wilson struck a post and skipper Billy Sharp failed to turn in the rebound, while Town have now gone four home games without scoring a goal.

Myles Kenlock, Bersant Celina, Stephen Gleeson and Dominic Iorfa all returned to the Blues’ starting XI, while Jonas Knudsen missed out due to a tight hamstring and Mustapha Carayol with the groin problem he suffered at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek. Jordan Spence and Luke Hyam dropped to the bench.

Kenlock replaced Knudsen at left wing-back, Iorfa was in for Spence on the right, while Gleeson started in the midfield trio with Cole Skuse and Callum Connolly. Celina played off main striker Martyn Waghorn.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, who spent the first half of the season with the Blades, was again part of a back three with skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster.

For the visitors, Ched Evans and John Lundstram came into the team replacing Clayton Donaldson, who was on the bench, and Mark Duffy, absent due to a tight calf. Ex-Blues loanee Richard Stearman started in the Blades defence.

George Baldock struck the game’s first shot for the South Yorkshiremen in the second minute but Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, fresh from receiving his first Poland call-up yesterday, got down to his right to save comfortably.

Bialkowski was in action again two minutes later when Lee Evans curled a not overly testing 25-yard freekick into his arms.

The Blues threatened for the first time in the sixth minute, Kenlock breaking and then sending Waghorn away down the left with a perfectly weighted pass. Town’s top scorer crossed and Jack O’Connell turned the ball behind.

A minute later, Waghorn, scorer of both the Blues’ goals at Hillsborough, hit his first shot of the afternoon, cleverly turning away from his man before shooting across the face and wide.

Ex-Blues loanee Stearman got his name in the book in the ninth minute after he had been caught in possession midway inside the Blades’ half by Waghorn, who he hauled back as he broke towards goal. Another defender was covering so the yellow card looked the right decision.

Waghorn took the freekick himself and floated the ball towards the far post from where Iorfa stooped to head goalwards from a tight angle, Jamal Blackman in the Blades goal diverting it behind.

Bialkowski snaffled John Fleck’s well-struck shot for the visitors on 12, then four minutes later Celina scraped an effort wide at the other end.

After an entertaining first quarter of an hour of plenty of chances, opportunities dried up at both ends.

The Blades began to get on top and there was a major scare for the Blues on 33 when Fleck played his Sharp in behind the Town defence.

The former Doncaster man hooked the bouncing ball over the advancing Bialkowski but was unable to get in an effort at goal before he was outmuscled by Chambers. The Blades striker’s hopeful penalty appeal was ignored by referee John Brooks.

Soon after, Gleeson shot high and wide for Town, then on 40 Skuse was booked for catching Lee Evans late.

Town threatened as the break approached, Celina cutting in and shooting wide following a corner shortly before the half was brought to a close with the scores still level.

After an end to end first quarter of an hour or so in which both sides had chances, the Blades had the better of it but with Sharp’s chance where he got in behind the Town defence their only significant opportunity.

The Blues began to look more dangerous towards the end of the half but Blackman hadn’t been forced to make a serious save.

Ahead of the second half Spence replaced Iorfa at right wing-back for the Blues. The visitors hit the first shot of the second period, Bialkowski getting down to his right to save at his post.

Sheffield United should have taken the lead in the 49th minute when Lundstram got a fortunate bounce as he was challenged breaking into the Town box and found himself in the clear.

The former Everton youngster had a clear sight of goal but instead cut back to Ched Evans, who claimed a penalty as he was crowded out by Chambers while trying to get in a shot on the turn. Town sought to clear and the ball cannoned off Fleck and wide.

Celina forced Blackman to saved down to his right at his post on 52 with a low shot from distance, then three minutes later Skuse failed to find the in-space Waghorn with a ball in from the left having won possession on the left.

But the Blades were looking the more threatening side with Town defending desperately in their box at times.

On 59 Connolly blocked from Sharp from a Baldock cross from the right, not the first to have caused problems in the Town area.

A minute later, Hyam took over from Connolly for the Blues, the on 69 Ched Evans made way for the visitors, Wilson taking over.

Town were starting to see most of the ball but without threatening but in the 78th minute the visitors came within a whisker of taking the lead.

Sub Wilson struck a 25-yard effort which beat Bialkowski but hit the inside of the post. The loose ball fell to Sharp, who hit his rebound into the ground and over when he should have scored. While Bialkowski prepared to take the goalkick, the Blades swapped Sharp for David Brooks.

Blues boss McCarthy switched his system in the 79th minute swapping half-time sub Spence for Joe Garner as the Blues moved to 4-4-2. Four minutes later, Gleeson was booked for a foul.

From the freekick, the ball reached O’Connell beyond the far post but the defender was only able to direct it across the face and wide. With three minutes of scheduled time remaining Clayton Donaldson replaced Lundstram for the visitors.

Neither side created a serious chance in three minutes of injury time and the game petered out to a 0-0 draw.

The scoreline was a fair reflection of what was, after a promising first 15 minutes, a dull and scruffy game played on what’s an increasingly difficult Portman Road pitch.

The Blades, still ninth, five points off the play-offs with a game in hand, had the better of the chances in the second half with the Blues never really looking like claiming the three points.

Failing to win another home game - they have won only once in their last eight matches in all competitions at Portman Road - is a big blow to Town’s hopes of getting back into the play-off hunt.

They remain 12th but now nine points off the top six although with a game in hand, Tuesday’s home match against Hull City, a fixture they must win if the season isn't going to come to an early end from a competitive perspective.

Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Iorfa (Spence 46 (Garner 79)), Skuse, Connolly (Hyam 60), Gleeson, Kenlock, Celina, Waghorn. Unused: M Crowe, Garner, Ward, Sears, Nydam.

Sheffield United: Blackman, Basham, Stearman, O’Connell, Stevens, Fleck, L Evans, Lundstram (Donaldson 87), Baldock, Sharp (c) (Brooks 78), C Evans (Wilson 69). Unused: Moore, Leonard, Lafferty, Holmes. Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire). Att: 15,152 (Blades: 1,034).

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midastouch added 17:09 - Mar 10
Playing 3 central midfielders at home when we badly needed a win to give us any chance of keeping in the Play-Off picture. Seemed rather negative to me. We might as well as gone for it. Also, 4 games at home without us scoring a goal, that's pretty shocking. Seems our recent away form is a lot better than our recent home form.

Northstandveteran added 17:09 - Mar 10
Inspiring stuff.....

How very very predictable.....

Kirtonspanner added 17:10 - Mar 10
Muck out!

dukey44 added 17:11 - Mar 10
So someone please remind why they want to carry on watching Micks exciting football?? Please just get rid of this man and bring in a manager that wants his team to play football? Is that too much to ask for Mr Evans?

cat added 17:14 - Mar 10
On a week when McCarthy said “home crowd can give us a lift” how about you McCarthy giving the home fans a lift. Nothing as dull as a 0.0 at home, but in all reality this is becoming an all to reoccurring theme. I’m sure that the pro Mick posters will cling onto the stats that we kept a clean sheet and had more shots off target, impressive home stats indeed. Lol

blue75 added 17:14 - Mar 10
Not the worst game I’ve seen could’ve gone either way a draw probably a fair result. Subs needed to be attacking if we wanted to win another example of why we aren’t good enough to make the play offs. The fans tried to make a atmosphere as McCarthy requested shame his team could rise to it, then the fans went back to chatting amongst themselves. I always think it makes a big statement when all you can hear in a ground is the fans chatting.

StringerBell added 17:15 - Mar 10
And people want 2 more years of this?? Good God.

ianmarshall10 added 17:16 - Mar 10
Championship is not about pretty football it’s about results so wake the F up if you think otherwise.
Agree with Mick Mills tho should of picked a more attacking line up as we had to win to catch up.
Still in with a slight chance tho let’s see what happens. Mick in.

hucks216 added 17:20 - Mar 10
What does Gleeson bring to the team? I've never seen a more anonymous player.

Help added 17:21 - Mar 10
Win one, draw one, lose one, repeat
You get the idea

positivity added 17:22 - Mar 10
what was the point of playing for a draw at this stage of the season? we won't go down and only a win would give us any chance of going up. i'd rather have exciting footy at this point, would rather lose 4-3 than draw 0-0 now. mick out

martin587 added 17:22 - Mar 10
Why oh why do we set up to defend at home.Had we won this game it could have possibly given us an outside chance of getting near to the play-off's but once again we blew it with negative football.
I believe we only had one shot on goal and that is terrible considering we were the home team.Sheffield were ok but we could have beaten them had the team been set up to win.I can understand the supporters complaining about this and rightly so.
For me the season is over now.I want to see the uncertainty at the club cleared up with regard to the position of MM and just what the owner has to offer for the future of our club.
I would have rather stayed at home today,but after the midweek win at Wednesday I had high hopes for and exciting game today and three points.
Sad drive back to Southend.☹️

toxtethblue added 17:25 - Mar 10
10 goals in the last 14 games, 0.7 goals a game. Not good. No wonder people are staying away...

delias_cheesy_flaps added 17:28 - Mar 10
2018 home games = 6 = 540+ minutes = 1 goal = 2 more years = LMFAO

Cakeman added 17:31 - Mar 10
Hucks261- Gleeson = Douglass without the beard.

warktheline added 17:34 - Mar 10
Six years on! Mid table mediocracy and all is going swimmingly....up the creek without a paddle!

TimmyH added 17:37 - Mar 10
Poor home supporters subjected to yet another home blank and unable to make it 3 wins on the bounce, I believe that's now only 2 goals at home (including the FA cup tie) since Xmas and factor in 1 of those goals was a scorcher from Celina and that shows just how poor things have been at Portman Road.

Please no more talk about the play-offs, they died some time ago (probably back in January to be fair)...

Suffolkboy added 17:39 - Mar 10
At last someone is mentioning the state of the pitch at Portman Rd ; we used to arrive and with visitors we brought along , truly marvel a the wonderful presentation of an ideal playing surface !
Years ago Mr Ferguson identified the need for a solution to ongoing challenges ; these don't appear to have been resolved ,and whilst I'm quite certain the younger man now in charge is doing his absolute best ,when wil the problem be resolved ,or is it just another expense our ' wonderful ' Managing Director doesn't wish to bear , or care about ?
Such things demonstrate the sort of pride and attention to detail we were fortunate enough to be able to rely upon !
It's well overdue for our MD to publicly speak out and to explain ,deal and defend instead of concentrating, it seems,on background anonymity!

tractorlegend added 17:39 - Mar 10
Disgraceful performance today considering the fans gave the support Mick asked for. His team selection was so negative, Gleeson should never wear a Town shirt again!! The game was crying out for width but as usual McCarthy refused to change formation. His pathetic lack of ambition was summed up when he brought Hyam on in a game that was crying out for Grant Ward!! The team played with no urgency and didn't give the fans the performance we deserved, I've finally given up on McCarthy Wilder showed you can still have ambition and success on a low budget!

pinewoodblueboy added 17:44 - Mar 10
We were lucky to get 0. Spence was truly woeful, first 10 minutes aside, another very dissapointing afternoon at library Portman Road. IMO opinion, our 3 centre backs were the only real positive i can take from that.

dangerous30 added 17:45 - Mar 10
Well done town 1 more point then Norwich got today :-)

Sixto6 added 17:48 - Mar 10
Mick often gets slated for not having a plan B, after witnessing that shower of sh1t today I’ve no idea what plan A is ?
Sad times.

runaround added 17:53 - Mar 10
Team selection & tactics set up to keep it tight & hope to be the ones to nick a goal. Fine for away matches but not good enough for Home. Also when it’s not working we have no plan B, just like for like substitutes until final few minutes. Tactics like this don’t deserve to prosper and are turning the fans away. We know we aren’t good enough but let’s at least fail trying to win rather than fail trying not to lose. The club needs to be brave & roll the dice in the summer. Careful what I wish for? I wish for some entertainment & to look forward to going to football again win lose or draw

Spanishblueblood added 17:58 - Mar 10

and football is supposed to be entertaining , you need to wake the F up and realise this, people dont want to pay hard earned money to be sent to sleep!
As for the playoffs.....pmsl only the deluded idiots ever thought that was gonna happen under the current regime!

jas0999 added 17:59 - Mar 10
Very poor. Very uninspiring. No doubt the manager will be pleased with a point and a clean sheet. Problem is we are the home side and I thought trying to encourage folk to return. How on earth are we going to do that when the manager selects a negative side packed with defence minded players. You can see how it works away. But you can also see why other clubs fans think we are the most boring, negative team in The championship.

It’s unacceptable. Nine points plus significant goal difference off the play offs. One game in hand. Season over. Surely Evans won’t renew MMs contract? Will anyone go? I’m agpfraid if Mick stays I won’t renew. It’s just plain dull.

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