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Ipswich Town 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday - Match Report
Saturday, 11th Feb 2023 17:11

Free-kicks from Nathan Broadhead and Leif Davis either side of half-time saw Town come from 2-0m behind to draw 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road. Conor Chaplin missed a 19th-minute penalty for the Blues before Michael Smith and George Byers netted on 27 and 34 to give the Owls, who went into the match top of League One, a commanding lead but Broadhead’s brilliant free-kick in the 43rd minute and Davis’s deflected strike six minutes after the restart claimed a point for the Blues, who subsequently looked the more likely to grab a winner.

Town boss Kieran McKenna made four changes from the team which drew 1-1 at Cambridge United last week.

Luke Woolfenden and Cameron Burgess returned at the back for Richard Keogh and George Edmundson, who dropped out of the squad, while Cameron Humphreys started in midfield for the injured Lee Evans.

George Hirst was the central striker against the club where he started his career and where his father David was a legend in the eighties and nineties with Freddie Ladapo on the bench.

Wes Burns was fit enough to start wide on the right having been a doubt ahead of the game.

Town’s other former Wednesday man, midfielder Massimo Luongo, missed out on a place in the 18 having been another concern going into the match.

The Owls made one change from the team which beat Plymouth 1-0 last week with goalscorer Callum Paterson injured and Akin Famewo coming into the side. Former Town loanees David Stockdale and Tyreeq Bakinson were on the Owls’ bench.

The Blues struck the game’s first shot in the eighth minute, Broadhead cutting back from the left towards Chaplin but a defender just did enough as the Blues’ 15-goal top scorer shot to take the sting out of his effort which bounced harmlessly through to Owls keeper Cameron Dawson.

The visitors created their first chance two minutes later, Smith smashing well over the bar after chesting down Byers’s pass.

Town continued to see most of the ball and as the game past the quarter-hour mark the Blues won two corners in quick succession.

And from the second, the Blues were awarded a penalty. As the ball was played short, Burns was sent to the floor by Marvin Johnson and the linesman waved his flag frantically to indicate a foul. Referee Geoff Eltringham discussed the matter with his assistant at length before pointing to the spot but didn't show a card as they were unable to identify which player had thrown the elbow.

Chaplin was charged with taking the kick - Hirst having tried to grab the ball before the referee had even confirmed the award - hit it down the middle and the keeper saved with his trailing feet as dived to his left.

Town were to rue the miss eight minutes later when Wednesday took the lead. Following a quickly-taken free-kick on the left, Josh Windass was played into space down the flank with the Blues sleeping. The former Rangers man crossed and Smith glanced a deftly-guided header over and across Christian Walton into the top corner of the net.

Seven minutes after the first goal, the Owls made it 2-0. After Will Vaulks had been booked for time-wasting ahead of a free-kick on halfway, skipper Barry Bannan looped the ball into the box and as Davis and Windass challenged in the air, it fell loose to Byers on the edge of the area from where he hit a low shot past Walton and into the corner of the net.

Wednesday were almost handed a third in the 36th minute, Woolfenden gifting possession to Smith midway inside the Town half with Walton advanced from his goal. Fortunately for the Blues, the former Rotherham striker took the ball too wide and eventually Vaulks struck a low shot from the edge of the box which was straight at Walton.

The Blues’ support’s frustration with that incident, how the game had progressed and their team’s increasingly scrappy display was made clear, as it was when a number of subsequent passes went astray.

However, in the 42nd minute, the Blues pulled a goal back. Humphreys was tripped as he burst towards the area and Broadhead sent a powerful shot over the wall and into the top corner of the net to Dawson’s right.

The recent signing from Everton’s first goal for the club completely changed the mood around Portman Road and the previously deflated home fans roared their side on as the half entered its final minutes, Hirst breaking into the area on the right before hitting a shot against a defender.

Moments later, Burns was correctly penalised for a foul on Flint as a cross came over from the left and reached Hirst at the far post, the striker scuffing wide in any case.

Town ended the half in the ascendency with their fans continuing to give them their backing.

Up until Broadhead’s goal - and it’s difficult to recall a better Town free-kick since the days of Martijn Reuser - it had been something of a nightmare half for the Blues.

Town had started to look threatening when they were awarded the penalty but as so often this season the Blues failed to make the most of an opportunity with Chaplin’s spot-kick a poor one.

Wednesday, who had shown no threat up until that point, then went in front via Smith’s excellent header, although Blues boss McKenna will have been less than impressed with the lax defending following the quick free-kick.

Town defended similarly poorly to allow the Owls to go two in front and at that stage the game looked all over with Wednesday having a chance to make it three.

However, Broadhead’s goal changed the atmosphere around the game with the impetus with the Blues as the half-time whistle blew.

Three minutes after the restart, Morsy won a free-kick on the right. The ball was sent to the far post but Burgess just couldn’t reach it while battling with a defender.

The Blues were beginning the second half very brightly and in the 49th minute, Davis sent a dangerous ball across the area from the left but with no one there to add the final touch.

A minute later, Chaplin was tripped as he broke towards the area on the right, Byers picking up a yellow card as a result.

And from the free-kick, the Blues levelled. Davis smashed a shot which looked to be going beyond the far post but it clipped Byers on the way through and flew into the top corner to put the Blues back on terms, a position which had looked wholly unlikely in the minutes after the visitors’ second goal.

Having equalised, Town went looking for a third goal. On 55, Chaplin struck a remarkable volley back over his shoulder from the edge of the area after a corner had been cleared which he was unlucky to see fly straight to Dawson.

Six minutes later, Chaplin again sent the ball into Dawson’s arms, this time the diminutive forward having headed towards goal unchallenged from a Davis corner on the left.

On 65, Burns was played in on the right of the area and sent over a powerfully hit low cross which was cleared. Moments later, Hirst laid off to Chaplin on the edge of the box but the former Pompey man’s shot was blocked.

The Blues were dominating with the Owls unable to get out of their half. A minute later, Dawson claimed a Chaplin cross, Iorfa almost having clumsily felled the Town man as he broke towards the byline.

Town made a double change in the 69th minute, Ladapo and Marcus Harness replacing Hirst and Chaplin. Five minutes later, Wednesday swapped Windass for Fisayo Dele-Bashiru.

Blues chances had become rarer but in the 75th minute Clarke unleashed a shot from well out on the right which landed on the roof of the net.

A minute later, the Owls threatened for the first time since the break. Flint was found unmarked on the right of the area from a free-kick. The 6ft 6in tall centre-half’s nod back from a tight angle was blocked but the ball ran back to him and he smashed a shot over the bar. It was a lucky escape for the Blues.

With 11 minutes remaining, Town switched Burns and Broadhead, who had been undergoing treatment on the pitch, for Kayden Jackson and Sone Aluko. Jackson quickly sent across two low balls from the right which were cut out.

On 86, the Blues replaced Davis with Greg Leigh, then two minutes later the Owls brought on Dennis Adeniran for Bannan.

The Blues found themselves under some pressure for the first time since the break as the game moved into five minutes of injury time with long throws coming in from both flanks which Town successfully defended.

After a long throw had been knocked back out to him, Clarke looped over a ball from the right which reached Ladapo but the striker scuffed his shot wide.

Humphreys saw a cross nodded away before referee Eltringham brought an entertaining game to a close.

While Town went into the game after the three points, from the position they found themselves in after 34 minutes, a 2-2 draw can’t be seen as anything other than a positive result, the game having followed a similar pattern to the game at Hillsborough earlier in the season when Wednesday came from two down to draw.

Having missed the penalty and after going behind, as at Cambridge last week, the Blues fell apart somewhat after conceding and gave away another poor goal.

Broadhead’s brilliant goal dragged Town back into it and in the second half, after Davis had levelled, there was only one team which looked likely to win it with all bar one of the chances created by the Blues.

The result sees Town stay third, now level on points with Bolton, who moved up to fourth following their 5-0 win at Peterborough, while Derby slip after losing 3-2 at Wycombe.

Wednesday are now second, still six points ahead of the Blues, two points behind Plymouth, who return to the top following their 3-1 victory over Portsmouth.

Town are back in action again when they travel to take on Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground on Tuesday.

Town: Walton, Clarke, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns (Jackson 79), Humphreys, Morsy (c), Davis (Leigh 86), Chaplin (Harness 69), Broadhead (Aluko 79), Hirst (Ladapo 69). Unused: Hladky, Donacien, Leigh.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Palmer, Vaulks, Iorfa, Bannan (c) (Adeniran 88), Windass (Dele-Bashiru 74), Byers, Famewo, Johnson, Smith, Flint. Unused: Stockdale, Brown, Bakinson, Shipston, Fusire. Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham). Att: 29,072 (Wednesday: 2,148).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Miaow added 17:13 - Feb 11
Well, at least we did to them what they did to us at Hillsborough and came from 0-2 down to draw. I wasn't confident about Chaplin taking the penalty and it was a poor effort. Much better after Broadhead's free-kick, which felt like a bit of a "must score", and we could have won it after the break. Still, we can't seem to beat any of the rest of the top six (with the exception of our home win over Derby earlier in the season. Let's see how we do in our next couple of winnable matches...

AYACCA added 17:14 - Feb 11
Great comeback, obviously a good half time chat.
Ladapo should be a starter, where was Edwards? He is the only player we have who can beat his man

blueboy1981 added 17:15 - Feb 11
Job Done by Sheffield Wed' - they didn't need more … !!
It's us that did … !!

TimmyH added 17:18 - Feb 11
Well credit to the lads from coming back from 2-0 down (thanks to our consistent rocky defence) the reverse of what happened at their place but yet another draw isn't really what we need at this specific time. Anybody notice how Wednesday saw out and basically killed the game in the last 20 minutes or so, something we need to learn from...

Worrying thing is we're away next and we haven't won since November! Form since Winter W: 3 D: 6 L: 2...average to put it mildly.

carlo88 added 17:22 - Feb 11
Still very much a work in progress aren't we. Too many changes week to week.

blueboy1981 added 17:22 - Feb 11
More HAS to be had from this Squad of Players - I'm sure it will be the Owners thinking right now !

joyousblue added 17:22 - Feb 11
In the car thought id get in before the moaners who listened on the radio have thier view , in any other situations , this was a good result ii think the newbies will slowly get better , not sure about hirst , but the next 5 games are winnable lets see then before we have the mckenna out brigade again

sospier added 17:22 - Feb 11
Good fight back but still two points dropped.Far too many substitutions for me as it upsets the flow especially at he end of a game we need to win.Three winnable games to follow so come on Town go get um with all guns blazing and once again support was fantastic.

blueboy1981 added 17:31 - Feb 11
sospier - All too predictable ROTATION ! - it isn't, and will not work at this level … !!

chopra777 added 17:35 - Feb 11
Small margins again. Reduce the mistakes and we could get automatic promotion. Just a bit more experience needed in all areas. Come on KM more tuning required. We have a group matches to win. Summon up the old Town magic and let's get promoted!

delias_cheesy_flaps added 17:36 - Feb 11
Maybe our players aren't as good as we like to think they are or should be...we have drawn way too many games and conceded far too many poor goals at this level against mediocre attacks..unfortunately!

DaGremloid added 17:36 - Feb 11
Credit for the comeback - that was gutsy - but a draw just isn't enough. And we were 2-0 down because of yet more sloppy defending, not to mention an equally sloppy penalty miss. The comeback makes it feel as though we salvaged a result when in stark reality we've just blown another 2 points.

I have to say that this constant rotation of the team is now really starting to pee me off. Decide on our best team and play that team for the rest of the season ffs! There are no cup games as a distraction now - just a 16 game run-in. But those games will soon start to run out if we don't begin putting a run of results together. It would be natural to assume that some of the teams around us may start dropping points but I'm still not seeing much evidence that we aren't going to continue doing so ourselves.

Look, it could have been worse today so credit, as I say, for pulling it back. But I'm really concerned about the amount of goals we're shipping through poor defence. It's literally almost every game.


SheptonMalletBlue added 17:37 - Feb 11
Well said Joyousblue. Damn moaners on here, so bl00dy negative!!!!!!!!!

anotheryear added 17:37 - Feb 11
Bolton, Derby closing at an alarming rate….inability to win must win games Plymouth and Wednesday at home. Sad to say play offs is our only hope and beating one top 6 side would be hard to imagine two…….very unlikely. Like it or not my money is on more trips to fleetwood next year

Suffolkboy added 17:37 - Feb 11
Our lot need a huge injection of gumption , invention and innovation ; a dose of character and confidence ,plus renewed dedication to everything professional footballers should be good at and which largely ought to be second nature might not be a bad idea !
Second half come - backs , good stats etc etc all count for nothing unless the basics are ALWAYS a given – and sadly that's not ITFC right now !
How KM and co instil the instincts and professionalism into some is very difficult to see : BUT quite plainly there are a few who might usefully be let go, to be replaced by better equipped professionals of better development potential and better able to take on board the coaching and training effected intensely week in week out .
It's probably the case that some simply do not possess the right character to take ITFC to higher levels ,and thus will need to be moved out and on ,replaced by individuals who both can and will offer more and greater application and consistency !
Our, or anyone's , belief in potential will not bring results on its own , unless that potential is steadily turning into better performance etc etc .
Professionalism is just that: and ITFC need to see tip top delivery and performance from the first whistle on !

EssexTractor added 17:38 - Feb 11
Wednesday didn't need to win but must have wondered how we were third as goals easily scored.
However from the doldrums of despair two brilliant dead all situations got us level.
Then we did turn it on but without making their keeper really making any saves.
It was a fantastic League Three match but where were Johnny Wark and Tommy Miller when the ball went on that penalty spot.
Penalties should not be missed.
But overall a fair result

Drifter3012 added 17:42 - Feb 11
Sick, so had to listen to Radio Suffolk today.
Great fightback but I am with Mick Mills, subs made at the wrong time. It sounded like we had them for the taking & then McKenna changed things and in the end it sounded like we were holding on. These endless changes are not necessary & disrupt our flow. If players are not fit to play 90 minutes then don't start them! We have a big enough squad to play 11 fully fit players. Today the subs put a stop to our pressure & that was that.
Hopefully I am fully fit for next Saturday to see us stuff the might Forest Green Rovers.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 17:43 - Feb 11
Today felt like a situation where the team we had on the pitch were putting Wendys under pressure, we has scored and were playing some good stuff.
Then multisub time and the energy went out of it.
I do wonder how it effects a player when they are clearly playing well in a team that is ticking and they get subbed.

For the record I like KMcK.

martin587 added 17:44 - Feb 11
Excellent fight back against a very good team.We had our chances and I felt we should have won.Shame about the penalty miss.Two very good goals from Town.Now let's move on to Tuesday and thump Rovers.Once again superb support so keep it up lads.

jas0999 added 17:45 - Feb 11
Certainly an entertaining game and we showed a lot of character to fight back for a point. But a point which is nowhere near good enough. Yet again a big occasion in front of a large crowd at PR and what did we do … miss a penalty and promptly go two down. Bad defending. Should have been three. Despite the fight back, teams that get promoted WIN games of football and since mid November we simply haven't won enough.

Personally don't like this rotation policy, particularly at the back. The best defences play week in week out together.

Good to score two free kicks, but overall an average result. Needed to win. Didn't really create enough to do so.

WonnorCickhamm added 17:48 - Feb 11
Sick of these overpaid superstars who continue to promise but continuously fail to deliver
Second to everything in a diabolical first half, we were nowhere near good enough
Hirst miles off it
Burns offers us very very little.
Second half all over them but the fact we couldn't break them down is the story of our season.

If we want to go up, we have to beat these teams. And we're just not quite good enough.
I believe this team has massively messed up a brilliant chance of automatic promotion.

I'll follow the Town til I die and of course I'll be back next week before the hope kills me again.

RobITFC added 17:53 - Feb 11
Next 5 games are winnable and "Must" wins , can we do 5 on a trot ?

yorkieblue62 added 17:55 - Feb 11
Agree with the criticism of too much rotation but believe we can regain some strong momentum over the last 16 matches & even if we fail on the auto front can beat the likes of Bolton, Derby, Barnsley, Wycombe, Shrewsbury !!?? in the play offs.

TimmyH added 17:59 - Feb 11
RobITFC - hypothetical £50 bet says no, in fact I'd bet my house on it :) a draw will defo pop up in one of those winnable games if not worse.

We've played both the top 2 home and away and haven't won once, which says we're a play-off side (at best).

Cheshire_Blue added 18:00 - Feb 11
Sad to say we are just not good enough for automatic promotion. Missed penalty crucial.

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