The last seven days have been strange for Ipswich Town fans. Seven days ago, they probably would have been happy to learn that the week would see a million-pound investor, a new striker and a point against Sheffield United.
But this was a game Ipswich should have won - especially through one glorious chance which fell to the academy graduate Danny Haynes after Jimmy Juan's sweet 25-yard free-kick had given Ipswich the lead. Haynes, who turns 18 this week, was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but fired wide. The home side then allowed Danny Webber to snatch a draw in the 76th minute.
"If Danny had taken that chance we would have won and it would have been a good result for us," said the assistant manager Willie Donachie. "He's inexperienced but he could be one hell of a player. This whole team has a lot of potential."
Potential Ipswich may have, but it will take more than a new striker, Alan Lee, to get them out of the current malaise which sees them 15th in the table. Lee, a £100,000 signing from Cardiff City last Monday, teamed up with the midfielder Darren Currie in attack and though both were industrious neither ever looked like scoring in the absence of the injured Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin.
With an 18-year-old goalkeeper, Shane Supple, and the 17-year-old Owen Garvan in the centre of midfield there is clear promise, but Ipswich need to find more players who have both class and experience.
What the cash-strapped club really need is investment. Last week, the US-based businessman Michael Anderson poured £1m into the club and was set to take a seat on the board until Anderson himself revealed to the club that he had had a brief involvement with Kettering and Aldershot in the early 1990s. As a result of the information Anderson has offered not to take up his seat while the matter is investigated by the club.
Sheffield United's manager Neil Warnock was pleased to rescue a point but will know that his side will have to do better to have any hope of catching the Championship leaders Reading, who are now nine points clear at the top.
He said: "We're not looking up or down, we're looking at ourselves. It's always hard coming to Portman Road but I'm pleased with the way the lads dug in - it was a game that no one deserved to lose."
The controversial manager had been escorted off the field by security guards after gesturing the scoreline to the Ipswich fans. "Where's the humour gone in football?" he pleaded.
Goals: Juan (53) 1-0; Webber (76) 1-1.
Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Supple; Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Barron (Castro, 87); Juan, Garvan (Magilton, 83), Westlake (Haynes, 53), Williams; Lee, Currie. Substitutes not used: Price (gk), Richards.
Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kenny; Bromby, Unsworth, Morgan, Geary; Tonge, Armstrong (Quinn, 75), Jagielka, Ifill (Kabba, 63); Shipperley, Webber (Montgomery, 83). Substitutes not used: Flitcroft, Kozluk.
Referee: C Penton (Sussex).
Booked: Sheffield United Morgan, Geary. Man of the match: Webber.
Attendance: 23,794.Reuse content