MATCH REPORT: Ipswich 0 Sheffield Wednesday 3

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday......GOAL...Two goal Ross Barkley hits his second goal
Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday......GOAL...Two goal Ross Barkley hits his second goal
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MICHAIL Antonio celebrated his goal on Saturday by pretending to ride a horse.

He was mimicking part of a dance done by Korean rapper PSY on a world-famous video that promotes the chart hit, Gangnam Style.

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday......Owls two goal Ross Barkley congratulated by team-mates

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday......Owls two goal Ross Barkley congratulated by team-mates

The Owls and their followers were entitled to a bit of fun after the grim run they had endured in the Championship.

When it ended at last with a first win in 11 league and cup games they achieved in a style of their own.

Wretched Ipswich were the worst side that Wednesday have faced this season.

And they were fortunate not to have suffered an even heavier defeat.

The Owls played the same sort of slick attacking football that has been seen at times in previous games but were a bit more clinical this time.

They did create seven good chances apart from the ones that were put away with aplomb by Ross Barkley and Antonio.

But three goals will do nicely after the lean times of recent weeks - as will a first league clean sheet of the season.

The only worry was at half-time: having been wasteful in front of goal and been only one up thanks to Barkley’s strike after 45 seconds, would Wednesday end up bitterly regretting the missed opportunities?

Dave Jones admits that this thought did cross his mind. But no-one need have worried.

His team stayed in control, killed the game with Barkley’s second goal, and rounded off a satisfying day with Antonio’s effort near the end.

The Owls attacked from the start. At one stage, when they were two up, they knocked the ball around, inspiring shouts of “ole” from the away fans as the team protected their lead, making Ipswich chase, and always looking to break quickly.

This was a comprehensive, thor

oughly professional victory, which justified the recent predictions from manager and players that results would turn if the team persevered.

Paul Jewell’s departure had raised the question of whether or not Ipswich players, under the guidance of caretaker boss Chris Hutchings, would be spurred into a response.

Jones reflected: “We knew that, with Paul going, the only thing that Chris would want would be for them to come out of the blocks at 100 miles an hour and get the fans with them. What we needed to do was get the fans on their backs.”

Barkley’s opener provided the perfect star. He side-footed home from just inside the box as the ball broke out to him following instant pressure.

Antonio, up against the quick and experienced Carlos Edwards, gave the right-back a tough time but in the first half hit one chance at the keeper, drove two wide and saw a header cleared off the line. Chris O’Grady headed an opportunity over the bar.

Jones was in forgiving mood afterwards, believing that Antonio could have scored a lot of goals by now, if he was more clinical, but happy if he gets the odd one and the team win.

“People forget that Michail is not long out of non-league football and is still young and learning his trade,” said the manager.

“You can see he’s trying different things now.

“Whereas before it was stand out there, get the ball and try to beat the world, now we have tried to limit him to few passes. Nobody is going to live with him. He was up against a player who is very quick - but Antonio is quicker and stronger. We knew it would be a good battle, and it was.

“I thought Cog [Chris O’Grady] ruffled them, Jay [Bothroyd] got better and better as the game went on.

“The three midfield players [Barkley, Paul Corry and Jose Semedo] were outstanding, and defensively we did what we had to do. Ross had his shooting boots on. He’s a talent.

“The other boy alongside him [Corry] is going to be a talent as well. He ticks along, is getting better and stronger. And Semi [Semedo] gives them protection.”

Barkley, like Antonio, could have had a hat-trick. He put a left-foot effort past a post in the 51st minute after a great ball from Bothroyd.

But his second goal was sweetly taken - a left-foot volley into the bottom corner after Antonio headed the ball in to him.

O’Grady put Antonio through to make it 3-0: the winger rounded the keeper and slotted home from a narrow angle, and he might have made it four when he shot over the bar a minute later.

Ipswich did have a spell in the first half where they enjoyed some possession, and they threatened a couple of times when it was 2-0, but Miguel Llera produced a fine clearing header and Anthony Gardner a terrific challenge, and the two centre halves were commanding throughout.

Barkley was full of energy, passing, movement and confidence and had his best game for the club.

Wednesday have now cleared the hurdle of ending their poor run. Now the challenge is to try to overtake the many rivals who remain ahead of them in the Championsip chase.