Sheffield Wednesday 0 Ipswich 0
Sheffield Wednesday responded in determined fashion after being hit for six
at Reading in midweek, but lacked the guile to break the deadlock against
Ipswich in their Coca-Cola Championship clash at Hillsborough.
The Owls capitulated in a 6-0 rout at Reading on Tuesday night, but their
response against Ipswich will have pleased manager Brian Laws.
Only the crossbar denied Wednesday a half-time lead as Marcus Tudgay's eighth-minute
shot thudded back.
But the visitors also hit the woodwork, David Norris' shot pushed on to the
crossbar in fine style by Owls goalkeeper Lee Grant in the second period.
Club captain Steve Watson returned to the Owls' starting line-up, but otherwise
Laws resisted making changes and kept faith with the same players who started
Gareth McAuley, Veliche Shumulikoski and Jonathan Walters returned for Ipswich,
who were relieved to see Tudgay's 25-yard shot hit the woodwork.
Tudgay went close again for Wednesday seven minutes later, heading a free-kick
from Etienne Esajas just over.
Ipswich striker Jonathan Stead, who completed a permanent move this week
from Owls rivals Sheffield United, was wayward with his angled drive, while
Richard Wright held Watson's stinging drive at the other end.
Former Wednesday midfielder Alan Quinn tested home goalkeeper Lee Grant from
outside the penalty area and Esajas was off target with another long-range
effort, but otherwise clear-cut chances were few and far between in the first
Jermaine Johnson almost broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the restart with
a superb strike from 25 yards, but Wright was equal to it, holding on to a
blistering goalbound shot at full stretch.
Ipswich manager Jim Magilton sent out his players fired up for the second
half and shortly after Johnson had threatened, Quinn forced Grant into an
equally impressive save against his former club with a shot from inside the
Quinn fired in another shot from outside the area soon after and Grant was
alert to catch a 25-yard effort from Walters as the visitors cranked up the
Laws replaced Esajas with Deon Burton after an hour, while Magilton also
sent on fresh legs up front, with Jon Stead making way for former Charlton
striker Kevin Lisbie.
Wade Small was sent on for Johnson with 12 minutes remaining before Sean
McAllister flashed a low shot just wide from 25 yards.
Neither side built any sustained momentum in a disappointing second half,
but Ipswich came close to taking the lead when David Norris fired in a shot
from 12 yards, but Grant pulled off another excellent save, pushing the ball
on to the crossbar and away to safety.
Francis Jeffers made another late appearance off the substitutes' bench
for the Owls against one of his former clubs as he continues his comeback
from a long-term ankle injury.
But Ipswich finished the stronger and Grant saved well again from Norris
in the 85th minute to ensure the spoils were shared.