MATCH REPORT: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich Town 1
Sheffield Wed v Ipswich: IPSWICH Town’s wait for their first away win of the season goes on after they were once again pegged back on their travels, this time drawing 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blues broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when Paul Anderson finished off a sweeping counter-attack move following a poor home corner, but their lead lasted less then two minutes as some suspect marking allowed Atdhe Nuhiu to nod a long diagonal ball back across goal for Michail Antonio to head home from close-range.
That’s how the scoreline stayed in a physical encounter devoid of any free-flowing football, though both sides struck the woodwork through fine long-range strikes from Cole Skuse and Jermaine Johnson respectively.
Town have now dropped 12 points from winning positions this season, while the Owls are still without a win in all competitions.
With both sides possessing plenty of height and strength, the game soon settled into a turgid exchange of long diagonal balls.
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The only way either side looked like scoring would be from a set-piece and that is exactly what happened – though it was Town to break the deadlock following a Wednesday flag kick.
After Dean Gerken had made a solid stop at the feet of Atdhe Nuhiu, the home side strangely sent up towering centre-back Miguel Llera to send in the dead ball. He failed to beat the first man, Ryan Tunnicliffe launched a perfectly weighted pass up the line, David McGoldrick swept it across an empty penalty box first time and the forward running Anderson was left with a relatively simple finish.
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Ipswich’s lead lasted less than two minutes however thanks to some suspect defending of their own. The 6ft 8in figure of Nuhiu was left completely unmarked to nod Reda Johnson’s long diagonal ball back across goal for Antonio to head past Gerken from close-range.
After that manic spell, another fairly uninspiring 20 minutes of play followed. Both teams did go close to scoring again before the break though.
Cole Skuse was mightily unlucky to see a sweetly struck half-volley, hit first time from 25 yards after Aaron Cresswell’s throw-in, come back off the left post in the 36th minute. Chris Kirkland could only stand and admire the shot.
Then, in the last action of the half, Gerken produced a fine reflex save to divert Matty Fryatt’s stinging volley over the bar after Christophe Berra had inadvertently headed a long ball into his path.
Murphy had scored two headed goals from corners against Derby in midweek and he almost repeated the feat seconds into the second half at Hillsborough, his downward effort bouncing just past the post.
Wednesday continued to look one-dimensional, always looking for the killer diagonal ball into the box. From one such delivery, Luke Chambers did just enough to prevent Reda Johnson getting a far post header on target.
Gerken – who was having a far improved game – also made a confident punch in a crowded penalty area after Lewis Buxton’s inswinging free-kick caused chaos.
Ipswich were trying to get the ball down and play, with Chris Kirkland turning angled efforts from Murphy and Anderson around the post.
The Owls had created precious little from open play, but – out of nowhere – sub Jermaine Johnson almost put them in front with a powerful 25-yard strike which cannoned off the crossbar in the 76th minute.
It was then all huff and puff from both sides, the home fans greeting the final whistle with boos as their winless run goes on.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Kirkland; Buxton, Roger Johnson, Llera, Reda Johnson (Jermaine Johnson 57); Antonio, McPhail, Coke (Semedo 43), Helan; Nuhiu, Fryatt (Palmer 75).
Subs: Dawson, Zayatte, Maghoma, McCabe.
Booked: Jermaine Johnson (89)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson (Tabb 79), Hyam, Skuse, Tunnicliffe; Murphy (Nouble 85), McGoldrick (Mings 90).
Subs: Loach, Hewitt, Edwards, Wordsworth.
Booked: Smith (78)
Referee: Andy Haines