James Shield's Match Report: Ipswich Town 1-1 Sheffield United

Sheffield United were frustrated in their bid to close the gap between themselves and the automatic promotion places, with an inability to translate territory and possession into a healthy lead largely to blame for this result at Portman Road.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 3:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 3:53 pm
Sheffield United travelled to Portman Road today

Chris Wilder's side were the dominant force for almost the entirety of the opening period and long spells of the second against a surprisingly dogged Ipswich Town.

But after failing to break down the Championship's bottom ranked club, United inexplicably found themselves trailing at the interval following Ellis Harrison's strike.

Scoring for the 13th time this season, Billy Sharp restored parity when he stooped to head Oliver Norwood's superb pass beyond Dean Gerken. 

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The result saw United slip to sixth, ahead of Derby County's trip to Bramall Lane on Boxing Day.

Coming at the end of a first-half United had controlled, Harrison's opener exposed arguably the biggest weakness in the visitors' otherwise impressive armoury. Although the 24-year-old's shot beat Dean Henderson with the aid of a slight deflection, it should have handed Ipswich a life-line rather than the lead.

Having spent most of the opening 38 minutes either hurtling towards of camped on the edge of Dean Gerken's box, United's players would have been frustrated to be drawing, let alone losing, when Harrison's converted on the break.

Whatever Wilder said during the interval, his words clearly had the desired effect. Less than two minutes into the second-half, Sharp turned home Norwood's inviting centre before wheeling away in celebration.

Despite being rooted to the foot of the table, Ipswich do not seem to be suffering from a shortage of confidence. 

Whether it was the effects of Harrison's opener or Lambert's work in the dressing room, the remainder of the contest 

was much more competitive than the table would suggest. Sharp was unable to produce what would have surely been a decisive touch when first Mark Duffy and then Norwood again threaded passes through a crowd of bodies and into the six yard box.

George Baldock then saw a shot blocked by Matthew Pennington after John Fleck, driving forward after seizing possession in midfield, had again put Ipswich on the back foot.

Baldock's fellow wing-back Enda Stevens also saw an attempt charged down as the momentum began to swing decisively towards United once again.

Ipswich Town: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers, Pennington, Chalobah, Edwards, Harrison (Roberts 78), Nolan, Spence, Sears, Dozzell (Ward 70). Not used: Bialkowski, Jackson, Nsiala, Kenlock, Lankester.Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O'Connell, Stevens, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Duffy, Sharp, McGoldrick (Clarke 70). Not used: Moore, Coutts, Stearman, Johnson, Cranie, Washington.Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).Attendance: 17,942