Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich Town 1 – Magic moment for Andre Dozzell as he follows in father’s footsteps
Sixteen-year-old Andre Dozzell stepped off the bench and scored on his Ipswich Town debut, 32 years after his father Jason did exactly the same thing for the club.
The former Copleston High School pupil was introduced at half-time with the Blues trailing 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday and guided home a deft headed equaliser in the 71st minute.
That is how the score stayed as Town turned what would have been another dismal day into one that will be written in the history books.
A draw was not enough to reignite fading Championship play-off hopes – Mick McCarthy’s men remain eight points adrift of the sixth-placed Owls – but Dozzell’s magic moment injects some much-needed feelgood factor ahead of the remaining four matches.
Dozzell junior’s goal came at the age of 16 years and 350 days, while Dozzell senior scored against Coventry at Portman Road, in the top-flight, in 1984 when he was aged 16 and 57 days.
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Before that it had looked like Ipswich were drifting towards another dire defeat. They had been completely outplayed by the fluid hosts in the first half and it was no surprise when Fernando Forestieri broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute.
Wednesday took their foot off the gas after the restart, but still Town rarely threatened and they reached the 66th minute without producing anything that could be described as genuine goalscoring attempt.
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After Dozzell got between the two centre-backs to head home Liam Feeney’s cross from close-range the game came alive again though and both teams had golden chances to win it.
During a frantic four minutes of stoppage-time, Tom Lees had a header hacked off the line at one end, while Jonas Knudsen shot wide when team-mate Brett Pitman was in acres of space at the other. An irate Pitman chased his Danish team-mate halfway across the pitch gesticulating manically and had to be calmed down by team-mates and staff.
Both managers made five changes to their starting line-ups following damaging defeats. After a 3-1 home defeat to Brentford, Blues boss Mick McCarthy was without the trio of Luke Hyam (suspended), Cole Skuse (due to start but withdrew injured in the morning) and Luke Varney (hamstring), while Ben Pringle and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were dropped. They were replaced by Tommy Smith, Kevin Bru, Jonathan Douglas, Liam Feeney and David McGoldrick.
Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal always rang the changes after a 4-1 defeat at Bristol City brought a four-game winning streak to a shuddering halt. Striker Gary Hooper was only passed fit enough for the bench, while Everton loanee Aiden McGeady failed a fitness test, but first-choice keeper Keiren Westwood and skipper Glenn Loovens returned after illness and injury respectively.
Town started brightly and twice Sears broke the offside trap to scamper clear down the left channel and give something for the home team and fans to think about.
Daniel Pudil climbed highest in the box to head a Ross Wallace corner over the bar in the ninth minute, but Ipswich responded when Christophe Berra flicked on a Jonas Knudsen long throw and McGoldrick hooked a shot just beyond the far post.
Wednesday slowly but surely began to find their feet and mixed up their play to good effect. Direct balls into the corners turned the Town defence one minute, while the next it was patient passing out from the back as central midfielder Kieran Lee picked up pockets of space.
One magnificent piece of Lee control out of the sky led to Lucas Joao pulling a shot just wide of the post.
Then, in the 29th minute, Bartosz Bialkowski had to be quick off his line to save at Joao’s feet one-on-one following a fine curving pass up the line by left-back Pudil.
The Owl’s fluid and innovative play was in stark contrast to Town’s usual one-dimensional and hopeful approach.
Loovens lost his marker to nod a Wallace corner wide just before the half hour, then Bialkowski sprinted off his line and just about made a risky punch ahead of Joao.
The one-way traffic continued. A fine tackle and turn by Lee in the right-back area started a move which ended with Barry Bannan dragging a shot wide. Another silky one-touch move saw Luke Chambers head the ball back to Bialkowski under serious pressure from Bannan in the six-yard box.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 42nd minute. Berra headed Wallace’s cross straight into Joao and Forestieri reacted quickly to slam home the loose ball.
McCarthy sent his players out for the second very early and replaced right-midfielder Kevin Foley with Dozzell.
A pretty uneventful 15 minutes passed before Bannan couldn’t quite get enough contact on Joao’s ball across the six-yard box.
Town’s away fans started to chant ‘useless’ and ‘Premier League we’re having a laugh’, but the mood changed in an instant.
Dozzell had barely touched the ball, but it was him who passed wide to Feeney before carrying on his run and showing remarkable composure to get between the two centre-backs and guide home a fine near post header in front of the away end. Every Ipswich outfield player ran and engulfed Dozzell in a group hug.
Wednesday’s response was immediate. First, a Bannan cross flashed across the six-yard box, then Joao’s crisp, low shot was turned around the post by a full-stretch Bialkowski.
The match burst into life in the final moments as both teams traded chances. McGoldrick’s low shot was held by the keeper after Pitman’s fine chest-off, then Bialkowski pounced on a loose ball in the box as Gary Hooper looked to gobble up a rebound.
There was almost a comedic own goal when Bialkowski raced off his line and hit a clearance straight into team-mate Chambers, the ball flying back past the post. An almighty scramble in the box ended with Bialkowski pushing a Ross Wallace attempt wide.
There was still more drama to come in stoppage-time. Tom Lees’ header from a Wallace free-kick was hacked off the line by Chambers and set-up a rapid counter-attack. Town probably should have won it, but Knudsen selfishly pulled a shot wide when Pitman was screaming for the ball in acres of space.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (4-4-2): Westwood; Hunt, Loovens, Lees, Pudil; Wallace, Bannan, Lopez (Hooper 76), Lee; Joao (Nuhiu 83), Forestieri.
Unused subs: Wildsmith, Sasso, Bennett, McGugan, Matias.
Booked: Wallace (68)
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Foley (Dozzell 46), Bru (Pitman 75), Douglas, Feeney; Sears, McGoldrick.
Unused subs: Gerken, Digby, Kenlock, McDonnell, Pringle.
Booked: Bru (68), Pitman (79), Chambers (90+)
Referee: Robert Madley