Solid Blues lack bite

IPSWICH Town fought out a goalless draw at Hillsborough this afternoon to stretch their unbeaten Coca-Cola Championship run to three matches.

Elvin King

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Ipswich Town 0

IPSWICH Town fought out a goalless draw at Hillsborough this afternoon to stretch their unbeaten Coca-Cola Championship run to three matches.

Manager Jim Magilton will be pleased with a hard working display and a clean sheet, but going forward his team often left a lot to be desired.

David Norris did strike the bar late on when a goal should have been scored, and Marcus Tudgay struck the same piece of woodwork early in the game for a poor Sheffield Wednesday side.

Quinn was roundly booed every time he touched the ball for his former Sheffield connections, but from his fifth minute free-kick McAuley saw his header cleared from deep in the six-yard box by a defender.

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In the eight minute Wednesday went within a whisker of taking the lead after Garvan had rolled a lazy pass in the general direction of McAuley. Tudgay gained possession and strove forward to thump a 25-yard curling shot against the face of the bar.

Town made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Southampton on Wednesday. Team captain McAuley had recovered from a dead leg he received to his left thigh last Saturday and he returned in place of Balkestein.

Shumulikoski ended the match against the Saints in style, and he came in for Miller. There was no place for Counago, who did not travel because of a minor injury, while Bruce and Thatcher travelled but along with Balkestein were not included in the final 16. Thatcher was not considered fit after his dead leg injury.

Counago will have to wait until the Wigan Carling Cup game on Wednesday to make his 150th Town appearance.

The home team made one change from their 6-0 defeat in midweek with Watson replacing Burton. Ex-Town loanee Jeffers on the bench.

Tudgay went close again in the 17th minute after Naylor had been severely spoken to for tripping him as he headed for goal. No cards were shown - a red one was a possibility - and from the Esajas' free-kick Tudgay was in acres of space to send a diving header six inches over.

Quinn and McMahon went down after a sickening clash of heads with the physios rapidly urged on to deal with them. Thankfully both were able to continue.

Naylor flung himself to block a goal-bound shot from Watson, and the R Wright stretched to his left to catch a Johnson header as the Owls gained the upper hand.

Town had doubled the Owls last season, and recorded the first of only three away wins at Hillsborough with Quinn scoring a spectacular first goal for the Blues.

Walters had taken his head bandage off during the interval. A goal at either end looked extremely unlikely, but in the 55th minute Johnson did wriggle free to force R Wright into a save - diving to his right.

Ipswich were playing in an all-red strip - with a good collection of their fans situated behind one of the goals at this famous old stadium. For the third game running Walters had a bandage around his head.

Grant pulled off a superb save to deny Quinn in the 59th minute. The ball was played around the Wednesday box until Walters squared to Quinn whose 18-yard low right-foot shot went through a forest of players before Grant dived to his right to push the ball away.

Having beaten Reading 2-0 last Saturday and the Royals having thrashed Wednesday on Tuesday, and away win was the form tip. But football doesn't normally work that way although Ipswich were no in charge of a poor Owls side.

It was nearly all Ipswich now and substitute Lisbie made a telling run down the right. Walters glanced his cross wide of the near post.

In the 81st minute Norris took advantage of some hesitant defending to lift the ball over the last defender and send a left-foot close range effort that may have been touched on to the bar by Grant. It should really have been a goal.

Norris had a close range shot blocked by Grant in the 85th minute just after Jeffers came on for the home side.

Teams

Sheffield Wednesday: Grant; McMahon (Jeffers 83), Wood, Spurr, Gilbert; McAllister, O'Connor, Watson, Esajas (Burton 60); Johnson (Small 79), Tudgay. Substitutes: Smith, Clarke.

Ipswich Town: R Wright, Volz, McAuley, Naylor, D Wright; Norris, Garvan, Shumulikoski, Quinn; Walters, Stead (Lisbie 68). Substitutes: Supple, Campo, Miller, Haynes.

Referee: Mr M Jones (Cheshire)

Attendance: 17,198.