Sharp cuts through Ipswich

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:18

Sharp cuts through Ipswich

Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri redeemed himself in the most dramatic of fashions as his side saw off Town. 
The Italian fumbled a Freddie Sears shot into his own goal to cancel out Alex Mowatt’s fine opener, and then breathed a sigh of relief when Billy Sharp’s stunning volley put Leeds back in front.
Silvestri’s ultimate redemption came in the 84th minute, though, when he flung himself to his right to push a Daryl Murphy penalty onto the post and earn Leeds a win which keeps Ipswich out of the play-off places.
It was an incredible finish to a game that until Mowatt’s 71st-minute free-kick had been one to instantly forget, with Silvestri and Sharp the match-winners, with the striker’s contribution particularly poignant as he almost joined Ipswich in January when he thought his days with Leeds were numbered.
It was a former Leeds striker who had Ipswich and the game’s first chance as Luke Varney, hugely unpopular amongst home fans during his two-year stint with the club, thought he had silenced the boo-boys early on with a fourth-minute header, but as he began his celebration he looked up to see a raised flag.
Leeds took over slightly after that, Sharp going close to making it two goals in two games when his half-volley off a Lewis Cook cross beat Bartosz Bialkowski but not the covering Tommy Smith on the line.
Sharp was appealing for a penalty just after the half-hour, claiming he was shoved by Smith when heading over a Sam Byram cross. No decision came from referee Mark Brown, although Sharp continued to appeal the call through to the half-time whistle.
Ipswich’s best chance before that came saw Chris Wood drive into a crowd of Leeds defenders after Silvestri flapped at a cross.
The Italian keeper was far more assured straight after the restart, though, diving to his right to push away a Tyrone Mings header from a Luke Chambers cross, while at the other end Sharp should have done better with a close-range hit that was easy for Bialkowski.
It was going to take something special to change the game and Mowatt produced it 71 minutes in. He lined up a free-kick in the right channel, 25 yards out, and whipped it beyond Bialkowski at his near post for a brilliant opener.
Leeds had no time to consider protecting their lead, though, for three minutes later it was gone. Sears drilled in a low shot from the left of the box and Silvestri was unable to gather it, allowing it to go through his hands and into the bottom corner.
But as soon as he had picked himself up his side were ahead again. Byram got away down the right and, although his cross was a little behind Sharp, the striker adjusted his body accordingly to crack a fine 77th-minute volley beyond Bialkowski.
The drama was not done there. Sears made his way into the box and tried to flick in a cross, but Bamba raised his arm above his head as he tried to block it. Brown spotted it and gave Murphy the chance to level but he found Silvestri determined to atone.

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