|Sheffield Wednesday 2 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 25th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 25th Aug 2018 17:20
Toto Nsiala scored his first Town goal but was later controversially sent off as the Blues were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, Lucas Joao netting twice for the Owls. Joao headed the home side in front in the 16th minute, but Nsiala levelled on 44. The former Shrewsbury man was very harshly red-carded for a challenge on Fernando Forestieri in the 75th minute and two minutes later Joao won it for the South Yorkshireman.
Kayden Jackson was handed his full Championship Town debut as the lone striker with Ellis Harrison moving to the wide left role.
Tayo Edun was back from his one-match suspension replacing Cole Skuse, who missed out due to his quad injury, with Jon Nolan able to start despite having been a doubt with an ankle problem. Grant Ward, who started at Derby in midweek, dropped to the bench.
Janoi Donacien blazed high and wide in the opening seconds with the Blues starting brightly. On five Toto Nsiala nodded wide from a corner after a dangerous Trevoh Chalobah ball into the box had been turned behind.
Harrison smashed well over from distance on 12, then two minutes later got his name in the book for a wild challenge on Liam Palmer.
Wednesday had begun to threaten and in the 16th minute they went in front, Town again conceding from a set piece.
Barry Bannan sent over a corner from the right, Joao pulled away from Chalobah at the far post and nodded into the net all too easily.
Four minutes later, it was almost 2-0. Bannan whipped in a freekick from the right and Jordan Thorniley’s powerful diving header flew wide when he will feel he ought to have scored.
But Town began to get back on top and in the 24th minute Jonas Knudsen smashed over a low cross from the left which Owls keeper Cameron Dawson dropped but the ball was cleared by Thorniley from inside the six-yard box before Edun or Harrison were able to pounce.
The Blues continued to play the better football but without looking particularly dangerous either from open play or set pieces with a number of potentially promising freekicks having come to nothing.
But in the 40th minute Town levelled. In the aftermath a corner on the right, an Edwards ball into the box from the left deflected into the air on the edge of the box. Edun nodded into the area, Chambers headed on and Nsiala planted a third header past Dawson from six yards.
The Wednesday players and crowd protested vociferously that the centre-half was offside but referee Jeremy Simpson waved away the protests. Replays suggested Harrison was offside but not Nsiala and that the referee was right to allow it.
Soon after the goal Bannan, evidently still annoyed, was booked for his protest having been penalised for a foul. In the final scheduled minute Atdhe Nuhiu joined him in the book for a cynical trip on the breaking Nolan.
Town ended the half the stronger side and in injury time weren’t too far away from going in front on two occasions.
First an Edun corner from the left was flicked on and Nsiala’s header at the back post was kept out by combination of Dawson and Palmer on the line.
Then shortly before the whistle, Harrison ran on to his own knockdown, cut in from the left and hit a goal-bound shot which Dawson bundled away down to his left.
The home fans booed referee Simpson off following the whistle, still believing that the Town goal shouldn’t have stood.
Whether that decision was right - as it appeared to be - or otherwise the Blues hadn’t deserved to go in behind having been the better side during the first half.
Wednesday’s goal had come against the run of the game at that stage with Town having played the better football in the early period, albeit without looking overly threatening.
Having gone behind via another set piece goal, the Blues took time to re-establish their ascendency but they gradually began to pass the ball around confidently.
They were rewarded with the equaliser and might well have found themselves ahead at the break given the two late chances.
The Blues began the second half on top, winning a couple of early corners which Edun and Nolan took short.
Wednesday threatened again moments later, Matt Penney cutting back from the right to the edge of the box from where Bannan struck a powerful low effort which Knudsen blocked on the line.
Jackson struck a deflected shot on the turn from a Knudsen throw from the left which looped through to Dawson on 62 with the Blues still on top of an increasingly open game.
Wednesday briefly put Town under a spell of pressure but after Donacien cleared a Bannan cross, Harrison broke strongly down the left but failed to find Nolan with a pass inside with Edwards in acres of space on the right.
On 70 Knudsen was booked for pulling back Joao as they battled for a bouncing ball with the Owls starting to take control.
Match Gallery: 6 photos
Two minutes later, Palmer scuffed wide from the edge of the box, before Fernando Forestieri replaced Matias.
Then, in the 75th minute, the Blues were reduced to 10 men on contentious circumstances for the second successive Saturday.
Nsiala slid in and cleanly won the ball from Forestieri, who collided with the Town defender in the aftermath. It looked a perfectly good challenge but referee Simpson immediately ran over and showed his red card to the amazed Nsiala, who complained bitterly at the decision before walking off and then again to the fourth official as he left the pitch.
The resultant freekick led to a corner from which the Owls took the lead. Joao initially headed Bannan’s flag-kick off the post but followed up to net his second of the game.
Flynn Downes replaced Edun for Town as the Blues prepared to restart, while Wednesday goalscorer Joao was withdrawn for Steven Fletcher.
With 10 minutes left the Blues had a chance to level. Harrison was found breaking into the area and looked set to stab the bouncing ball past Dawson but before he could do so a Wednesday defender hooked it away from him.
Harrison suffered a knock as the game moved into its final five minutes and Freddie Sears took over.
Fletcher shot wide for Wednesday on 87, but Town kept pressing as the game went into four minutes of injury time.
The Blues’ last chance was Nolan freekick which was nodded back by Chambers was but was cleared from the area and Nolan’s subsequent shot was scuffed wide. Soon after, the final whistle confirmed what was an undeserved and unfortunate defeat for the Blues.
There was no doubt that the game’s key moment was Nsiala’s red card, Town appearing certain to lodge an appeal against the dismissal which would see the defender miss three games. Although Wednesday had started to get on top at that stage, Town had been in relatively little danger, while looking like they might threaten on the break.
The Blues hadn’t reorganised for the freekick which followed and then conceded from the corner immediately afterwards.
Having been the better side before the break Town had continued where they had left off at the start of the second, although without having tested Dawson further, and the game looked like anyone’s to win going into the final quarter of an hour.
The Blues still remain winless under new manager Paul Hurst - a Sheffield Wednesday supporter - and are bottom of the league going into next Sunday’s East Anglian derby at home to Norwich.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Thorniley, Lees (c), Nuhui, Joao (Fletcher 79), Matias (Forestieri 72), Reach, Penney. Unused: Wildsmith, Fox, Hutchinson, Kirby, Baker.
Town: Bialkowski, Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Chalobah, Nolan, Edun, Edwards, Jackson, Harrison (Sears 85). Unused: Gerken, Spence, Ward, Roberts, Sears, Downes, Kenlock. Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire). Att: 22,499.
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