Mick McCarthy extended his personal streak of never losing at Hillsborough as his Ipswich Town side grinded out a narrow 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in an even yet largely uninspiring Championship match up.
Owls manager Carlos Carvalhal was left unimpressed by his sides poor display in front of a 25,851 strong crowd against McCarthy’s well organised Ipswich side. Deflated in the post-match press conference he stated that he hoped that the match would be just an “exception” before adding “we didn’t play to our level today. We must offer more threat and be more dynamic. We must have a better attitude.”
In truth despite the three goals scored here, this game won’t be one to stick in the memory for long. Both sides looked to play the ball around but offered little in attack as chances were few and far between.
The Owls perhaps started the brighter but weren’t too threatening going forward despite an early Barry Bannan effort that sailed just over the bar after some neat build up play from fellow midfielder Kieran Lee. Steven Fletcher also had a big chance from a David Jones corner in the 25th minute but his header went narrowly over the Tractor Boys goal.
It was Ipswich that struck first though thanks to a strike from winger Tom Lawrence, his first for the club, and what a finish it was. Intercepting the play on the half way line the young midfielder raced towards Wednesdays box before cutting inside two defenders and finding the far bottom right hand corner of the net with a bending strike.
That goal brought the game to life momentarily as the Owls replied within the next five minutes. With Ipswich not clearing a corner properly, David Jones’ speculative strike from outside the box was parried by Bartosz Bialkowski straight into the path of Gary Hooper who made no mistake from close range. The Ipswich ‘keepers mistake had handed Wednesday a massive break, one that perhaps wasn’t too deserved at the time.
The Owls looked to make the break count and minutes after half time the home side nearly took the lead for the first time in the match. It was Hooper again as he took on a few Town defenders on the edge of the penalty area before seeing his effort saved tidily by Bialkowski but into the path of Lee who skewed his rebound wide from close range. Ipswich had heeded the warning and gave Wednesday very few chances after that.
Little then happened until late on in the match when Wednesday defender Tom Lees made a huge block to deny Town substitute Johnny Williams a near-certain goal.
The Tractor Boys were to grab their winner though and all three points before the end. A corner was delivered from the left on to the head of Christophe Berra who saw his powerful effort re-directed goal ward by the head of captain Luke Chambers and past Keiren Westwood to send Ipswich home with a big away win.
Understandably Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was happy with the huge three points, a rare win on the road this year for his side. Speaking in the post-match press conference he eluded to his sides recent poor form especially their disappointing 2-2 home draw with Rotherham last time out but stated after this victory “that is more like my team, that reflects me.”
The result sees Ipswich climb up to 15th place in the Skybet Championship whilst the Owls slip to 10th spot and out of the play-off places.