Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich Town 1

Atdhe Nuhiu celebrates after opening the scoring for the Owls
Atdhe Nuhiu celebrates after opening the scoring for the Owls
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For the second night match in a row at Hillsborough, a substitute denied Sheffield Wednesday maximum points.

Magaye Gueye salvaged a point for Millwall last month, scoring deep into added on time.

GOAL.....Atdhe Nuhiu scores first goal

GOAL.....Atdhe Nuhiu scores first goal

Last night, Jonny Williams’ controversial 62nd minute goal left the Owls frustrated and without a win in three matches ahead of Saturday’s televised showdown at Leeds United.

Wednesday, missing several key players, including Tom Lees, Sam Hutchinson and Kieran Lee, went ahead through a fifth minute header by Atdhe Nuhiu and dictated proceedings for long periods.

But despite creating plenty of opportunities, Stuart Gray’s men lacked a killer instinct, failing to make their superiority count.

Wednesday started on the front foot and looked anything but a side who had lost back-to-back matches on their travels, with Jacques Maghoma spotting Chris Maguire in acres of space infield and the little Scot saw his deflected strike from distance turned away by Dean Gerken.

Owls Liam Palmer holds off Towns Jonny Williams

Owls Liam Palmer holds off Towns Jonny Williams

That spell of pressure culminated in the opening goal as Nuhiu rose highest at the near post to nod in Maghoma’s corner. Gerken got a hand to the former Austrian Under 21 international’s firm header but was unable to prevent it from going into the back of the net. It was Nuhiu’s first goal since the 1-0 victory over Burnley in the second round of the Capital One Cup last month.

That early strike rocked Ipswich and Maguire, who saw plenty of the ball in the early stages, dragged a shot well wide when other players were in better positions.

Ipswich, who made two personnel changes, bringing in Cole Skuse and Teddy Bishop into midfield, offered little as an attacking threat at a subdued Hillsborough. In possession Mick McCarthy’s men looked neat and tidy but there was very little end product.

Midway through the half, Wednesday had a second goal chalked off when Zayatte, back in the side after serving a one-match suspension, was adjudged to have impeded his marker after skipper Glenn Loovens had his initial header from Maguire’s corner brilliantly kept out by Gerken.

Owls Kamil Zayatte has to come off with a pulled hamstring injury

Owls Kamil Zayatte has to come off with a pulled hamstring injury

The hosts suffered a blow in the 39th minute when Zayatte was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury, handing French defender Claude Dielna an opportunity to prove his worth.

For all their possession, Ipswich struggled to put Wednesday’s makeshift backline under any serious pressure. Luke Hyam fizzed a low right foot shot which Keiren Westwood, who will be on international duty with the Republic of Ireland next week, fumbled momentarily and then gathered at the second attempt.

The Tractor Boys came even closer to levelling things up in the 44th minute when former Owls loanee Daryl Murphy nodded agonisingly wide after meeting Tyrone Mings’ deep cross.

Things started to open up on the stroke of half-time as Maguire’s fierce drive was well gathered by Gerken while Murphy’s header from Jonathan Parr’s centre looped over the top.

Atdhe Nuhiu disallowed second half goal

Atdhe Nuhiu disallowed second half goal

Wednesday continued to cause Ipswich problems from set plays and Nuhiu tapped in from close range after his header was well saved by Gerken four minutes after the re-start but it was ruled out for offside.

With the Owls in control, McCarthy threw on Williams, recruited on a 93-day loan from Crystal Palace on Monday following a successful spell last season, at the expense of the inffective Bishop.

A nice move on the left flank involving Maghoma and May led to Maguire sending a venemous right footed half volley narrowly off target.

But against the run of play, Ipswich equalised through Williams. Wednesday questioned whether he handled it with his first touch but he struck a lovely volley into the far corner which went in off the post.

Wednesday quickly regrouped and nearly regained the lead in the 66th minute after good play by Maguire. He received a short pass from Liam Palmer, deployed in central midfield for the second time in the space of a week, jinked his way past a defender and unleashed a rasping effort which was deflected inches off target.

Shortly before leaving the field, Maguire was cautioned after a cynical challenge on Williams as Ipswich threatened to catch the Owls out on the counter attack. Aside from that offence, Maguire caught the eye and appears to be rediscovering his best form.

Owls boss Stuart Gray

Owls boss Stuart Gray

Stevie May could have crowned his full Scotland call-up with a goal in the 76th minute but he, unmarked, glanced Maghoma’s inviting delivery wide.

It was Ipswich, seeking a fifth league win in a row for the first time since 2003, who almost grabbed the winner in the dying minutes but Christophe Berra headed over substitute Paul Anderson’s free kick. That would have been harsh on the Owls, who were vastly improved defensively after shipping in nine goals in their two previous matches.

The result leaves Wednesday in ninth position after 10 matches but Gray will be acutely aware his side have to start being more ruthless in front of goal if they are to stay in the top half of the table.

Wednesday: Westwood, Buxton, Zayatte (Dielna 39), Loovens, Mattock, Maguire (Helan 72), Palmer, Semedo, Maghoma (Drenthe 81), May, Nuhiu. Not used: Kirkland, Coke, Hope, Madine

Ipswich: Gerken, Parr, Chambers, Berra, Mings, Skuse, Bishop (Williams 58), Hyam, Murphy, Sammon (Anderson 75), McGoldrick. Not used: Bialkowski, Smith, Bajner, Bru, Tabb.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Att: 18,093

Goals: Nuhiu (5), Williams (62)