Ipswich keep pace with leaders at winless Sheff Wed16 September 2023
Conor Chaplin's first-half goal was enough to give Ipswich a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.
Ipswich sit third in the table after five victories from their six games, while the hosts are still searching for their first Sky Bet Championship victory of the season.
Jeff Hendrick, signed on a season-long loan from Newcastle, was handed his debut by Wednesday. Fellow loanee John Buckley was among the substitutes, while skipper Barry Bannan was missing from the matchday squad.
Wes Burns passed a late fitness test to take his place in the Ipswich line-up.
A good chance fell to Ipswich striker Freddie Ladapo early on. A quick break left the home defence exposed when Burns found Ladapo inside the area, but his shot was saved by Devis Vasquez.
Wednesday boss Xisco Munoz was forced to make a change just before the half-hour mark when Dominic Iorfa limped off and was replaced by Di'Shon Bernard.
Burns had an opportunity after driving into the area, but Vasquez came to his side's rescue with a near-post save and Chaplin put his follow-up wide.
The only goal of the game came just before the interval when Leif Davis raced away down the left-hand side and pulled the ball back to Chaplin whose shot found its way through a packed area.
Home boss Xisco Munoz made two changes after the break with Ashley Fletcher and Buckley replacing Michael Smith and Lee Gregory.
Harry Clarke went close to extending Ipswich's lead with a header from Nathan Broadhead's corner, which forced a fine save from Vasquez.
There was a change for the visitors when George Hirst, son of former Wednesday star David Hirst, came on in place of Ladapo shortly after the hour mark.
Hirst threatened twice in quick succession, first when he was through on goal, forcing Vasquez to save and then seeing the keeper race out to clear the danger.
Vasquez made another save late on, keeping out Broadhead's low shot as Ipswich pushed to make the scoreline more comfortable, but went on to claim the three points.
Wednesday supporters made their feelings clear at the final whistle, with boos ringing around Hillsborough.
Before kick-off, the words 'Thank you' and an image of owner Dejphon Chansiri on a banner inside the stadium were defaced, prior it to being removed. Chansiri stoked up controversy during the week when he aimed criticism at former manager Darren Moore.
Sheffield Wednesday's Xisco Munoz:
"All I can say is sorry because I'm very, very disappointed about the first 45 minutes.
"It is important the first 45 minutes. After that, the team had a good reaction, but not enough. I am very disappointed about the first half.
"We can speak about the positive things. It is true. We can speak about the reaction in the second half, but I don't like what I see in the first half because we did not play at the level we are.
"This is one of the problems we have right now about the situation. We need to try and find a balance.
"We need to stay 90 minutes in the game, 90 minutes with the personality, 90 minutes with the concentration, 90 minutes with ambition."
Ipswich's Kieran McKenna:
"I loved the game, the performance and of course the result. I thought this was a big one for us today and the season, not having managed to win here in the last couple of visits. It's a barometer for us as a team.
"I thought it was an excellent performance in the first half. Coming back from international duty, I thought we imposed ourselves on the game and dominated the game.
"We created some big opportunities, pressed well and didn't give them anything. It was an excellent performance.
"Probably on 65 minutes, we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up.
"The last 20 minutes was really pleasing as well because when you don't get the second goal, you have to see the game out in a different way and defend with organisation and resilience.
"To do that for the last part of the game, against Sheffield Wednesday and this crowd is a terrific thing for the boys to go through as well."
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