Ipswich Town 0-0 Sheffield Wednesday - Half-Time
Saturday, 2nd Feb 2019 15:56
Town’s home game with Sheffield Wednesday remains 0-0 at half-time, although with the Owls having come closest to breaking the deadlock.
Blues skipper Luke Chambers and fellow centre-half James Collins both missed out due to injury, neither of which are understood to significant knocks.
In their absence Matthew Pennington and Toto Nsiala started at the heart of the defence with new loanee James Bree making his Blues debut at right-back and Myles Kenlock at left-back.
In midfield, stand-in captain Cole Skuse was behind Flynn Downes and Teddy Bishop, who scored a hat-trick for the U23s on Monday.
Collin Quaner started as the central striker with Alan Judge on the left and Freddie Sears on the right.
Trevoh Chalobah and Will Keane were on the bench alongside Josh Emmanuel, who was involved in the Town team for the first time since the final day of the 2016/17 season having returned from his loan spell at Shrewsbury.
Callum Elder was the loanee who missed out on a place in the matchday squad with only five of the six permitted in the 18.
For the Owls, who had new manager Steve Bruce in charge for the first time, striker Fernando Forestieri made his first start since November, while central defender Michael Hector was back in the team having been ineligible for last week’s FA Cup defeat to his parent club Chelsea.
The game started scruffily but with the Blues on top, taking the game to the visitors and trying to get their passing football going.
On 10, following a corner, Judge sent the ball back in to the far post and Pennington headed wide.
A minute later at the other end, Forestieri smashed a snapshot well over from distance after the ball had broken to him.
The Owls had shown little in the early stages but in the 18th minute they went close to going in front.
Steven Fletcher was found at the far post on the left in space by Michael Hector but Bartosz Bialkowski saved his shot with his leg. Kenlock cleared but only reached Barry Bannan, but the Scotland international’s low strike was blocked by Nsiala.
Moments later, Bishop skipped past his man at the other end but misread Quaner’s run and the danger was cleared.
The academy product was beginning to get more involved with his running with the ball causing Wednesday problems.
Town appeared to be growing in confidence and just after the half hour, following another Bishop run, Sears struck a low shot from distance on the right wide.
Despite the Blues having been on top, the Owls should have gone ahead in the 38th minute.
After a shot had deflected out to Morgan Fox, the former Town schoolboy’s low ball across the six-yard box was somehow diverted over the bar from a matter of feet by Adam Reach. The ex-Boro man will wonder quite how he failed to score.
Moments later, Forestieri nodded over from Liam Palmer’s cross from the right, then at the other end Bishop got his head to Judge’s under-hit freekick from the right but scuffed his attempt well wide.
On 42 Forestieri was found in space on the right of the box and Bialkowski batted away his strike. The Blues repeatedly made heavy weather of clearing but eventually the danger subsided.
Just before the end of the scheduled 45 minutes, Town won yet another freekick in the Wednesday half, Forestieri having fouled Quaner. The Owls failed to deal with Judge’s ball into the box from the left, an improvement on his earlier efforts, but eventually referee Oliver Langford gave the visitors a freekick.
That was the last action of a not overly-enthralling half in which Town had played most of the football but Wednesday had had much the better of the few chances.
New Owls boss Bruce will have gone off wondering how Reach had failed to give his team the lead, while Bialkowski had been the busier of the two keepers.
Town’s best moments going forward came from Bishop bringing the ball forward but so far without creating a clear-cut opportunity. The Blues had also failed to make enough of the numerous freekicks the Owls had conceded in potentially dangerous positions.
Town: Bialkowski, Bree, Pennington, Nsiala, Kenlock, Skuse, Downes, Bishop, Sears, Judge, Quaner. Subs: Gerken, Chalobah, Harrison, Nolan, Keane, Dozzell, Emmanuel.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Hector, Fox, Hutchinson, Bannan, Reach, Boyd, Forestieri, Fletcher. Subs: Dawson, Onomah, Pelupessy, Nuhiu, Joao, Aarons. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).
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