Seffield Wednesday 1 Ipswich 1
Leroy Lita crashed home a second-half equaliser to edge Sheffield Wednesday another point closer to npower Championship safety.
Lita, on loan from Swansea, struck his fifth goal in 15 appearances for the Owls, but this latest effort is the most significant yet as it helped lift Wednesday four points clear of the bottom three with two games left to play.
Ipswich midfielder Jay Tabb had given the visitors a deserved half-time lead before Lita latched on to Lewis Buxton’s long upfield pass to slam home an emphatic finish into the top corner.
Ipswich defender Tommy Smith had already had a goalbound header cleared by Wednesday midfielder Danny Pugh when the visitors took a 12th-minute lead.
Midfielder Carlos Edwards played the ball across the penalty area from the right and Tabb converted into the bottom corner from six yards.
Ipswich threatened to double their lead five minutes later when midfielder Luke Hyam’s fine 20-yard volley was superbly turned away by Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
Wednesday boss David Jones responded to his side’s early setback by replacing midfielder Kieran Lee with veteran striker Steve Howard, on loan from Hartlepool.
Up until then Jermaine Johnson had carried the home side’s best hopes of getting back into the game.
The Jamaica international headed an early effort straight at Ipswich goalkeeper Scott Loach and lashed a volley from the edge of the penalty area over the crossbar.
But he was forced off injured in the 28th minute and replaced by another forward, Chris Maguire.
Ipswich continued to hold the edge with Tabb drilling an angled shot over the crossbar from 25 yards.
Howard then served the visitors warning of his aerial threat when he headed Pugh’s 40th-minute corner just over, while midfielder Giles Coke volleyed just wide before half-time.
Ipswich were first to threaten after the restart when Guirane N’Daw volleyed past Kirkland’s left-hand post from 20 yards before striker Daryl Murphy’s angled shot fizzed wide.
Wednesday midfielder Jeremy Helan’s shot was well-held by Loach, but the Ipswich keeper was helpless soon after when Lita fired home a 58th-minute equaliser.
Owls defender Buxton’s long punt over the top caught Ipswich’s back four square and Lita raced on to the ball and buried his first real chance of the game, high into the top corner.
Ipswich defender Richard Stearman was forced off injured and replaced by Patrick Kisnorbo in the 67th minute and after chances at either end had dried up, visiting manager Mick McCarthy sent on midfielder Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for Murphy.
McCarthy played his last throw of the dice soon after, replacing Tabb with Anthony Wordsworth, but neither side mustered another effort on goal, with Wednesday the more grateful for the point that keeps their noses in front of their relegation rivals.