Ip­swich’s Fred­die Sears nets against Sheffield Wed­nes­day

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Dave Good­er­ham

WHILE the Cham­pi­onship sea­son might be at an em­bry­onic stage, Mick McCarthy ap­pears to have all the right tools in place to mas­ter­mind another top-six tilt in the com­ing months.

Sheffield Wed­nes­day ar­rived in Suf­folk as a new-look but much-her­alded side, but it was old-stager McCarthy who saw his Ip­swich Town gain their first three points of the cam­paign.

A fan­tas­tic first 25 min­utes was lit up by a goal apiece within one minute and 50 sec­onds be­fore Tommy Smith stooped to ul­ti­mately earn his side a well-de­served vic­tory.

Af­ter Ip­swich en­dured play-off heartache at the hands of arch ri­vals Nor­wich last sea­son, McCarthy in­tro­duced pace into his im­pres­sive work­man­like side via sea­son-long loa­nees Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles and Ryan Fraser.

And the Premier League duo showed why their par­ent clubs – Ar­se­nal and Bournemouth re­spec­tively – rate them so highly with a fine mix of at­tack­ing flair and the de­fen­sive at­tributes craved by their tem­po­rary boss.

Com­ing a week af­ter let­ting a two-goal lead slip in in­jury time at Brent­ford, McCarthy said: “I am de­lighted to have the two wide play­ers. They are both out­stand­ing tal­ents but there were some great per­for­mances – Fred­die Sears was out­stand­ing.

“We had to come from be­hind to beat a very good team which means we showed all the at­tributes you need to be a suc­cess in this league.

“Near the end, I am sure my heart was go­ing a lit­tle faster than it should but we were bound to be a lit­tle nervy.”

A fan­tas­tic open­ing – which saw the im­pres­sive Marco Ma­tias hit a post for the visi­tors and last sea­son’s Cham­pi­onship top scorer Daryl Mur­phy twice go close for Ip­swich – fi­nally saw the dead­lock bro­ken on 19 min­utes.

Ma­tias was again the dan­ger, out­pac­ing Smith and then drilling a cross which Bar­tosz Bialkowski could only parry straight to Ross Wal­lace who fired the ball into the roof of the net.

But the im­pres­sive trav­el­ling sup- port were si­lenced with two min­utes when Wed­nes­day skip­per Glenn Loovens and right-back Jeremy He­lan woe­fully dithered with the ball in the air, al­low­ing man of the match Sears to nip in and drill the ball past Keiren West­wood’s near post.

The re­main­der of the first half was more nip-and-tuck than easy-on-the-eye but Ip­swich only had to wait eight min­utes af­ter the restart to lead for the first time.

They had started the sec­ond half on the front-foot and a sus­tained pe­riod of pres­sure ended with Fraser act­ing as the cat­a­lyst for the decisive goal.

Beat­ing Lu­cas Joao with ease, the winger’s cross was too hot to han­dle for West­wood al­low­ing Smith to head home from close range.

The home side should have made the game safe – and al­low McCarthy’s heart to slow down – but Christophe Berra was twice de­nied by goalline clear­ances.

The clos­est the visi­tors came to draw­ing level was a late run and shot by Joao which was sneak­ing into the cor­ner be­fore the div­ing Bialkowski clawed the ball wide.

New Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal said: “I am un­happy about the re­sult but I am proud of my play­ers who fought for the whole 96 min­utes and also our fans who sup­ported the team dur­ing and af­ter the match.

“We knew this would be one of the hard­est matches in the Cham­pi­onship but in some parts we con­trolled the game and we put Ip­swich un­der pres­sure.”

PIC­TURE: TFLP Pho­tog­ra­pher

TRICK SHOT: Ip­swich’s Fred­die Sears scores the equaliser from a tight an­gle

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