Report: Ipswich Town 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2 - Evening begins and ends with a kick below the belt
PUBLISHED: 22:16 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 23:35 22 November 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town were left kicking themselves after Atdhe Nuhiu's towering header deep into stoppage-time salvaged Sheffield Wednesday a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.
Joe Garner’s finish (49) was cancelled out by Gary Hooper’s penalty (64), but Martyn Waghorn’s superb header (70) had the Blues on track for what looked a deserved three points.
Striker Nuhiu, on as a late sub, climbed highest in the box to score four minutes into added time though after Town had unsuccessfully attempted to run down the clock.
The Owls had converted both of their shots on target, while Town were left to rue some profligacy in an otherwise encouraging performance.
A proverbial kick in the groin came at the end of an evening which had started with a literal one for David McGoldrick.
In the fourth minute when Owls captain Glenn Loovens somehow evaded punishment for raking his studs down the front of the Town striker.
Referee Keith Stroud recognised the foul, waved play on, but only gave the Dutch defender a talking to once the ball went out of play and McGoldrick had to be subbed at the break due to a deep gash.
Cole Skuse had a shot blocked from the resulting corner, then moments later McGoldrick was guilty of tunnel vision when firing over on the angle.
Jordan Rhodes glanced a header wide at the other end, but it was Ipswich – pressing high and playing some dangerous balls over the top from deep - who were soon in the ascendancy.
Callum Connolly stung the palms of keeper Keiren Westwood from range, while Bersant Celina couldn’t quite generate enough power on a stretching diving header.
The purple patch did not lead to a goal though, the visitors settled and the game began to drift before Waghorn wasted a good chance seconds before the break.
Three minutes after the restart, Garner stabbed Town in front after Jordan Spence had flicked on Celina’s corner.
Sears – introduced straight after the interval – spurned a golden opportunity to double the lead just after the hour after Waghorn’s defence-splitting pass put him clear. His touch around on-rushing keeper Westwood was heavy, then he shot instead of squaring it to an unmarked Celina.
Moments later, ex-Norwich striker Hooper smashed home a penalty equaliser after Spence had inadvertently handled Jack Hunt’s deep cross in the box. It was the Owls’ first shot on target and briefly they came to life.
Town responded well to the set-back though and retook the lead thanks to a combination of skill and sheer perseverance. Sears sprinted to take a quick throw, got it back and delivered a deep cross. Substitute Emyr Huws – making his first appearance of the season – then did brilliantly to hook the ball back into the danger zone and Waghorn found the top corner superbly with a cute back-header.
Mick McCarthy’s men kept possession well and looked to be cruising towards victory until the late drama. Sears lost the ball high up the field, Wednesday countered and Adam Reach whipped in a fine cross for big front man Nuhiu to climb above Adam Webster and score.
After going 25 games without a draw, Town have now played out successive 2-2 stalemates.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers (cpt), Webster, Kenlock; Connolly, Skuse; McGoldrick (Sears 46), Waghorn (Ward 78), Celina (Huws 67); Garner.
Unused subs: Gerken, Iorfa, Nydam, Bru.
Booked: Skuse (60)
SHEFF WEDS (4-4-2): Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens (cpt), Fox (Fletcher 60); Wallace (Lee 62), Butterfield, Bannan, Reach; Hooper, Rhodes (Nuhiu 87).
Unused subs: Wildsmith, Van Aken, Palmer, Jones.
Booked: Lee (77), Hunt (81)
Attendance: 15,702 (1,1158 away)
Referee: Keith Stroud