Match report: Ipswich 0 Owls 1 - Sheffield Wednesday secure play-off place

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday
Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday
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Sheffield Wednesday confirmed their place in the Championship play-offs after a hard-earned 1-0 victory at mid-table Ipswich Town.

Kieran Lee's 77th minute strike secured the Owls' sixth consecutive victory and moved Carlos Carvalhal's side up to fourth with a match to spare.

It is the first time Wednesday have won six on the spin in 24 years.

With Sam Hutchinson unavailable for selection having failed to shrug off a calf problem, Carvalhal chose to name an unchanged starting line-up for the first time in 2017.

Roared on by nearly 2,000 travelling fans, Wednesday made the early running and it took a brave header away at the back post by Jordan Spence to prevent Steven Fletcher from latching on to Jack Hunt's dangerous cross.

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Adam Reach glided forward at pace in the fourth minute, cutting in from the left flank before dragging a right foot effort inches wide.

Ipswich responded in a positive fashion and top-scorer Tom Lawrence, who scored in the reverse fixture, forced Keiren Westwood into action following good play on the right win by Freddie Sears.

David McGoldrick then tested the reflexes of Westwood, with the forward seeing his curling drive beaten away by the Owls shot-stopper.

In a lifeless, drab first period, Cole Skuse became the first person to be yellow carded after tugging back Barry Bannan.

Spence produced a vital block to stop Glenn Loovens' goalbound drive as the Owls pressed for the opener.

There were big cheers from the away end as the score filtered through from Elland Road.

And on the stroke of half-time, Wednesday wasted another promising situation as Steven Fletcher whipped in a lovely low cross which went across the face of goal and was cleared by Skuse.

Three minutes after the re-start, Wallace tried his luck from just outside the penalty area and his rasping left foot shot appeared to go through Bialkowski's hands only to come back off the inside of the post.

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The Owls continued to up the ante and Fletcher was denied by the agility of Bialkowski in the 54th minute.

Goal-mouth action at either end was at a premium, with both sides lacking quality in the final third.

Wallace was taken off after picking up a knock and it was no surprise when Carvalhal turned to Jordan Rhodes and Fernando Forestieri midway through the second period in an attempt to spark his side into life.

Ipswich briefly threatened to break the deadlock when Sears clipped in a fine delivery towards Dominic Samuel but the substitute headed wide with his first touch.

Wednesday made the Tractor Boys pay for that miss when Lee turned in Daniel Pudil's cross after a lovely throughball by Bannan. It was Lee's third goal in Owls colours at Portman Road.

The visitors comfortably held on for the three points to claim their first league victory at the 15th time of asking over a Mick McCarthy side.

Ipswich: Białkowski; Spence, Chambers, Berra, Kenlock; Huws, Skuse, Sears (Moore 85), Ward (Samuel 69), Lawrence (Rowe 64); McGoldrick. Substitutes: Gerken, Emmanuel, Dozzell, Pitman.

Owls line-up: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil; Wallace (Forestieri 69), Bannan, Lee, Reach; Fletcher (Rhodes 69), Hooper (Semedo 78). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Nuhiu, McManaman, Sasso.

Attendance: 19,000

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

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