Blues finally end away-day hoodoo
By Elvin KingSheffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich Town 2AT last. The jinx is over with Ipswich Town - buoyed by their new signings - ending their long run of away games without a win.
By Elvin King
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich Town 2
AT last. The jinx is over with Ipswich Town - buoyed by their new signings - ending their long run of away games without a win.
At the 19th attempt the Blues won away for the first time since their 2-0 success at Luton Town last March.
Now that the jinx has ended Town manager Jim Magilton will be hoping his side can move up the table and back into serious play-off contention.
Alan Quinn gave Ipswich the lead with a stunning 22-yard shot in the third minute, but Owls striker Marcus Tudgay equalised eight minutes later with another long-distance shot after a corner had been half cleared.
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Alan Lee put Ipswich back into the lead again after 70 minutes and David Norris was denied a clear penalty when pulled back by keeper Lee Grant.
Wednesday were poor, and in the first half Ipswich missed a number of good chances. But it all came good in the end.
Quinn scored his first Ipswich goal in the third minute - and what a beauty it was! Walters was played beyond the home defence down the left channel, and he held the ball up before passing back to Quinn. The number 25 noticed a gap at the near post and blasted a 25-yard right-foot shot high into the net. It was a perfect start for Town and reminiscent of the home between these teams in August when Ipswich scored from the penalty spot within a minute.
In the 11th minute Johnson went through on goal beyond Harding, and De Vos came across to get a touch to a fierce shot that beat Bywater, but struck the bar before going over for a corner.
From the corner, Wednesday equalised with a first-time tremendous left-foot 20-yard shot from Tudgay. Bruce was left doubled up after blocking a Kavanagh pile-driver when the corner was half cleared, but the ball fell to Tudgay who left Bywater standing as the ball flew low into the corner.
Town were knocked out of their stride by this shock leveller. But they should have gone back in front again in the 13th minute when the awful finishing that dogged Tuesday's home draw with Plymouth came back to haunt the Blues.
Garvan played in Counago, who when alone in front of goal sent his shot ten yards over the bar. The Spaniard should have done much better.
Town missed another great chance - the third good opportunity they had squandered - in the 21st minute when Harding and Garvan did well, and Quinn's cross was met by the unmarked Norris at the far post. With a free header, the debut-maker nodded the ball down by an inch or two wide of Grant's post.
Norris lost possession as the game went into two minutes of stoppage time and the Blues at times now looking a little edgy at the back. But they had another great chance after Counago made ground along the bye line. The ball found its way to Miller whose 16-yard shot was straight at Grant when a yard either side would surely have produced a goal.
Within seconds of the restart Counago lost possession and Showunmi burst beyond Bruce down the left. It looked dangerous for Ipswich until Bywater went on his knees at the near post to catch the cross.
Small was the first substitute to be used when he came trotting on after 57 minutes to replace the ineffective Wallwork.
After a 63rd minute misdirected kick-out by Bywater after the ball bobbled in the penalty area, Johnson made a strong run forward, and caused problems with a low cross that went right across the heart of the six-yard box.
In the following minute, Counago, who had not enjoyed his best game, came off to be replaced by Lee.
Lee took his place up front and his strength might prove vital in the rather muddy conditions. Walters was seeing plenty of the ball as Ipswich stepped up a gear, but his 69th minute shot was highly ambitious from 30 yards. It was deflected for a corner, and Quinn's kick was headed over the bar for another corner.
This was played out to Bruce on the opposite side and led to a 70th minute Town goal. The cross from Bruce went beyond the far post where Quinn headed it back into the middle and Lee from close range turned it into the net just inside the post.
It was Lee's tenth goal of the season and Town celebrated in front of their delighted supporters.
And Ipswich should clearly have been given a penalty soon afterwards when Norris took the ball of Grant. A tussle ensued as they both fought for the ball and Norris was held back by the keeper. The referee looked at his assistant for guidance - and help - but received none, and Norris' eventual shot went for a corner before the referee was surrounded by Town players.
In the 74th minute Bywater had to dive to his right to save a stinging shot by O'Brien as Wednesday broke. Clarke came on for Showumni, before Sumulikoski made his Town debut after 77 minutes - taking over from Garvan.
Burton replaced Johnson with nine minutes left as Harding received treatment for a head knock. Sumulikoski, wearing shirt number 26, was soon in the game and running forward with speed to thread a ball through for Walters to chase.
With five minutes left Haynes took over from Quinn, the ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United man having put in an excellent shift.
In the three minutes of stoppage time, Ipswich went close when Hayes went through and Lee had a shot blocked - with the Town players leaping with joy at the final whistle. The Blues' players all went to the Town fan's end to register their appreciation of their unerring support.