Report: Ipswich Town 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 – Sears and Smith on target as Blues come from behind again
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town secured their second come-from-behind 2-1 victory in the space of five days, Freddie Sears and Tommy Smith scoring the goals against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road this afternoon.
Having shown spirit to beat League Two side Stevenage in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, Town once again had to dig deep after Ross Wallace put the visitors in front – against the run of play – in the 19th minute.
Sears capitalised on some poor defending to level the scores less than two minutes later though and, following an impressive start to the second period, Tommy Smith headed home what proved to be the winner in the 53rd minute.
Town were left holding on at the death, hearts in mouths during four minutes of stoppage-time, but once again Blues fans will have left feeling enthused about the season ahead following several eye-catching displays.
Sheffield Wednesday created the first chance of the match when, in the fourth minute, Portguese winger Marco Matias capitalised on Luke Chambers’ misjudged header, drifted inside from the left and struck the left post with a low shot.
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Town responded well though and, with striker Daryl Murphy looking bang at it following a quiet opening day at Brentford last weekend, began to build some good momentum during a dominant 10 minute spell.
Visiting keeper Keiren Westwood had to be alert to keep out Murphy’s near post shot, following Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ corner delivery. Moments later, the Irish international produced a curling effort that Westwood pushed away at full stretch.
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Maitland-Niles – whose starting role was that of a right-winger, but who was afforded the freedom to take up all sorts of positions – was causing Wednesday all sorts of problems. The teenage Arsenal loanee rolled his marker with aplomb in the 18th minute, his cross finding Ryan Fraser at the far post only for the latter’s well-hit shot to be excellently blocked by Jack Hunt.
The Owls’ 19th minute opener therefore came massively against the run of play. Following some scrappy play in the middle of the pitch, Jonathan Douglas losing a battle for the ball, the dangerous Matias twisted and turned his way beyond Tommy Smith and hit an angled shot that Bartosz Bialkowski could only push back into the area. Wallace was there at the back post to take a touch, steady himself and fire high into the net.
Ipswich were behind less than two minutes thanks to some awful defending from Carlos Calvalhal’s men. Chambers’ long ball over the top was hopeful, but centre-back Glenn Loovens and left-back Jeremy Helan left it to each other and the waspish Sears – alert as ever – capitalised, squeezing an angled shot inside the near post.
It had been a thoroughly entertaining start to the match but, after away keeper Westwood seemed to make the most of a minor knock to cause a lengthy delay, the game lost its tempo.
It required a fine last-ditch tackle from Cole Skuse to deny Matias in the area just after the half hour mark, the winger having started the move and then run onto Lucas Joao’s clever back-heel.
The first half then rather petered out, both sides no doubt going into the interval feeling that the match was there to be won.
Town started the second period on the front foot and only a goalline clearance by Lewis McGugan prevented them from taking the lead. First, there were penalty shouts from the home fans after Hutchinson ran across Fraser in the box. From the resulting corner, taken by Fraser, Berra’s stooping back post header was blocked on the line.
Hutchinson picked up his seemingly compulsory booking for a scything foul on Skuse and, with the away side grappling at corners and committing niggly fouls, the home fans cheered on their side with gusto.
The Blues responded and, following some sustained pressure, eventually found a breakthrough. After Maitland-Niles’ deflected cross just evaded the head of Berra at the back post, Fraser picked up the loose ball, blazed past Joao and his low delivery was pushed straight onto the head of Smith by keeper Westwood for a simple finish.
Town boss Mick McCarthy made the bold decision to bring on striker David McGoldrick and Brett Pitman for wingers Fraser and Maitland-Niles in the 70th minute. Taking off both wide men had invited pressure at Brentford last weekend, but this time Town had four strikers on the field at the same time. Sears moved to the right wing, with Pitman on the left.
Just like at Griffin Park, Ipswich did begin to sit deeper and deeper and, for a spell, Wednesday did take encouragement from that. A series of corners were well defended though and Pitman defended superbly against attack-minded full-back Jack Hunt.
Up the other end Town came close to adding a killer third when Pitman’s corner just evaded Murphy and McGoldrick in the box, Berra’s far post header blocked on the line by Kieran Lee.
It was then a case of holding on during four minutes of stoppage-time, the ball scrambled away on several occasions and Joao’s deflected shot saved by a full-stretch Bialkowski.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Pitman 74), Skuse, Douglas (Coke 87), Fraser (McGoldrick 74); Murphy, Sears.
Unused subs: Gerken, Emmanuel, Tabb, Toure.
Booked: Douglas (5), Fraser (70)
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (4-2-3-1): Westwood (Wildsmith 58); Hunt, Lees, Loovens (cpt), Helan; Hutchinson (Nuhiu 62), Lopez; Wallace, McGugan (Lee 79), Wallace; Joao.
Unused subs: Palmer, Semedo, Sasso, Sougou.
Booked: Hutchinson (50), Lopez (70)
Attendance: 20,081 (1,700 away)
Referee: James Linington.