Football: Seething Walker heads for trouble

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Ipswich Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 NOT MANY managers will go home disappointed with three points in the bag from an away game, but Trevor Francis felt he had every right to do that last night. His captain, Des Walker, had marred Wednesday's victory by being sent off after the final whistle.

Walker responded to a late lunge by Simon Milton as the final whistle blew by butting the Ipswich midfielder in the back of the head. The referee, Mike Reed, immediately showed the red card, and then took the unusual action of calling Milton out of the dressing-room later to show him a yellow card for his tackle.

'You win the game, the game is finished and you lose your captain,' Francis said. 'It was totally irresponsible on his part.' Walker would be dealt with under the club's normal disciplinary procedure, he said.

Milton's barefoot booking took the total to eight - five from Wednesday - in a match that was always competitive but did not turn nasty until the very end.

The final scenes overshadowed the shortcomings on view. Francis readily admitted that his side had not deserved the three points that David Hirst secured for them as the match entered injury time. He had come within a whisker of scoring moments before the Wednesday substitute, Ian Taylor, pulled the ball back low from the right for him to score on the turn.

Seven minutes earlier, Wednesday had looked like going away empty-handed as Boncho Genchev put the ball on their penalty spot after Peter Atherton had felled Milton. The Bulgarian had missed from the spot against QPR and did so again with feet to spare.

That put the seal on a frustrating performance by Ipswich's Esperanto Experience up front. For all their individual skill, the Bulgarian Genchev and his Uruguayan partner, Adrian Paz, would have difficulty breaking down a pair of swing doors and there was a limit to how much the lightweights could frighten the Wednesday back four.

With Ipswich struggling to turn their second-half possession into real pressure and Wednesday out of sorts, the game tended to drift after John Wark had netted the Ipswich equaliser in the 52nd minute.

The goal was a virtual replica of one he had disallowed for pushing after 35 minutes. This time the Scottish veteran met Milton's corner from the left cleanly to head past Kevin Pressman.

Wednesday profited from their best spell of the game, in the first 25 minutes. They looked at that stage to be capable of pulling Ipswich apart but only once did they create a clear opening. It was worked on the right by Graham Hyde and Chris Bart-Williams, who exchanged passes before the latter played the ball in low for Mark Bright to score at the near post.

Only 23 minutes into the game is early to be shutting up shop, but Ipswich have themselves to blame for allowing Wednesday to get away with it.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Yallop, Wark (Youds, 56), Sedgley, Johnson; Thomsen, Palmer, Williams, Milton; Genchev, Paz. Substitutes not used: Gregory, Baker (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Atherton, Pearce, Walker, Nolan; Bart-Williams (Taylor, 72), Hyde, Sheridan, Briscoe (Sinton, 56); Bright, Hirst. Substitute not used: Key (gk).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).