This was a match at the start of a manic few weeks for the club and was was only eight minutes old when a give-and-go from a busy Josh Windass found Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in plenty of space on the right.
A hanging cross later and Marvin Johnson bound onto the ball with a sense of liberation you suspect months of being played out of position can give a man. A fine job he did under difficult circumstances in a patched-up back three, but further forward he finished with assurance, sliding in to caress the ball home on the volley.
And in that back three, patched-up no more, two debutants. Jordan Storey did well on the right, composed on the ball and in defence.
But in the centre, Harlee Dean. Within five minutes he had picked up Ipswich goal threat Macauley Bonne off the ball and placed him somewhere else entirely, imposing himself on proceedings as might a Victorian headmaster on the first day of term.
Within 25 minutes he had a yellow card for kicking danger man Bersant Celina to Malin Bridge, by full time he’d walked the tightrope expertly to marshall a clean sheet.
Wednesday were bemoaning their inability to make their dominance count at the break after an unbalanced Mendez-Laing passed up a golden chance on 39 minutes following fine work by Florian Kamberi.
And after Sam Hutchinson deflected the winger’s corner into the arms of Ipswich keeper Christian Walton soon afterwards, there was an ever-so-slightly aching feeling of ‘here we go again’. Wednesday were well worth their lead, but could have had more.
It could be argued that had the injured Lee Gregory been on the end of a flurry of chances that continued into the second half, that lead would have been doubled. But even without his legs, the Owls looked fresh, bustling, keen to disrupt. Mendez-Laing was a menace on the right, Windass a bundle of energy cutting in from little pockets centre-left.
Ipswich are a side battling for a playoff spot, heavy of budget and form after a resurgent run of form under new boss Kieran McKenna. But while they had much of the ball, they were blunted by Wednesday’s energy.
Chances fell to Bannan and Johnson and the home side pushed and pushed. By the time Tyreece John-Jules had come off the bench in place of Windass to make his Wednesday debut, a nervous energy hung over the ground. Wednesday had been pushed back a touch, but seemed to be absorbing the pressure well.
And absorb they did, rallying in the final few minutes scratch, kick and claw their way to a hugely valuable three points. Their January exploits certainly helped.
Sheffield Wednesday have lost only once at Hillsborough this season. Carry that on, build momentum and the playoffs look very achievable indeed.
Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell, Storey, Dean, Hutchinson, Mendez-Laing (Palmer, 63’), Dele-Bashiru, Luongo, Bannan, Johnson (Hunt, 84’), Windass (John-Jules, 72’), Kamberi
Subs unused: Wildsmith, Byers, Paterson, Sow
Ipswich Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, El Mizouni (Norwood, 71’), Bakinson, Thompson, Chaplin (Aluko, 71’), Celina, Bonne (Pigott, 79’)
Subs unused: Hladky, Harper, Burgess, Edwards
Referee: Darren Bond