Westlake strike earns Town draw
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
It was a must-win match for The Blades and they looked good after Andy Gray scored from the penalty spot in the second half but Ian Westlake struck an equaliser to further dent the home side's chances of making the play-offs.
On a windy Friday evening at Bramall Lane, the first half display was of two sides that seemed more concerned not to lose than aiming to get the lead.
There were chances, however, and The Blades had the early surges at goal with Alan Wright testing Ipswich goalkeeper Kelvin Davis with a low indirect free kick while striker Gray was woeful with an effort from the edge of the area.
Moments later, Town defender John McGreal needed to time his sliding challenge in Ipswich's box on Jack Lester just right, despite inadvertently handling the ball in the process.
The visitors looked equally as poor in front of Sheffield United's goal, with Jermaine Wright shooting high over the bar and Westlake slicing a left-footed effort wide of Paddy Kenny's goal.
The home side looked the more likely to score before the break and skipper Robert Page hit the top of the bar with a looping header from a corner before Ipswich cleared the dangerous rebound, as the opening period eventually petered out to remain goalless.
With Sheffield United in more dire need of victory, they created two glorious chances early in the second half, but were denied by some excellent goalkeeping by Davis.
A cross from the right by Gray was knocked down in the box by Wayne Allison for Phil Jagielka to hit at point-blank range but his strike was blocked away superbly by Davis.
From the ensuing corner, Page forced another great save at the far post from Davis with a downward header.
It was Ipswich's turn moments later to miss a double chance to go in front, as Jim Magilton's cut-back in the box found substitute Richard Naylor, who forced Kenny into a fine save.
From the rebound, Westlake headed the loose ball against the post before Sheffield United were able to clear.
The match was a livelier affair at this stage and The Blades would be rewarded for their attacking efforts as Michael Tonge forced Fabian Wilnis into a late challenge to bring him down in the box for a penalty.
Gray stepped up to slot home his spot kick with a left footed strike low into the right hand corner and give Neil Warnock's side the lead on 64 minutes.
That lead, however, would only last seven minutes as a fine Matthew Richards through-ball found an unmarked Westlake and he drove his shot under Kenny to make it 1-1.
Chances continued to arrive at both ends and Jagielka was unlucky again not to score as he struck Gray's square pass at goal before Davis brilliantly tipped the ball onto the frame of post and bar.
Despite a late surge to break the deadlock, Sheffield United could not find an all-important winner and with one match remaining in the season for The Blades, it is looking less likely they will be back again for post-season football next month.
Click below for a match summary:
Sheffield United 1-1 Ipswich
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