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Football: Joe's kids feast on a Yorkie; Ipswich 2 Sheff Wed 1.

Byline: Mel HENDERSON

INJURY-HIT Ipswich turned to youth to dig them out of a hole but it was Yorkshire-born old head Richard Naylor who inspired them to victory.

The striker-turned-defender headed the first goal in the seventh minute and another home-grown star, Ian Westlake, grabbed a late second.

There was still time for Wednesday to pull one back through Lee Peacock, but it would have been a scandal had Joe Royle's side not secured victory.

Naylor's early header was the confidence-booster Ipswich needed and he stood firm at the back to help quell the visitors' infrequent attacks.

The Tractor Boys fielded one of their youngest-ever sides, more through necessity than choice, and the kids rose to the occasion.

They might have been excused safety-first tactics, but the youngsters were rewarded for their adventurous approach from the off.

Royle's team were missing Jason De Vos and another three first-team regulars in goalkeeper Lewis Price and new strike pair Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin.

With his squad so threadbare and lacking in experience, Royle had no alternative but to draft in the kids and his line-up included four teenagers.

But despite lacking the spine of their side, Ipswich made a dream start when the impressive Naylor, their longest-serving player, found the net in the seventh minute.

Darren Currie's corner was cleared by Burton O'Brien only as far as skipper Jim Magilton, who lofted the ball back in for Naylor to leap above Graham Coughlan and power a close-range header beyond David Lucas.

The Owls were close to an 11th- minute equaliser when Chris Brunt brushed the side netting with a 22-yard free-kick before 19-year-old Dean McDonald's shot flew narrowly wide at the other end following a fine run.

Wednesday squandered a chance to pull level when on-loan Manchester United youngster Chris Eagles centred low from the right, but O'Brien dragged his 12-yard effort wide.

Currie nearly doubled Ipswich's lead two minutes before the break following a clever run and shot from outside the area that skimmed a post.

McDonald terrorised the visitors' defence at the start of the second half with a jinking run down the left, but there were no takers when he centred and the ball ran across the face of goal.

Wednesday hit back when Brunt crossed from the right, Eagles headed down and O'Brien lashed his shot high over the top from 15 yards.

But McDonald caught the eye again with a solo run and shot that Lucas dropped down to his right to save.

Ipswich keeper Shane Supple, making his home debut, was untested until the 58th minute when he dived to cut out a dangerous Eagles cross.

Then, after boss Paul Sturrock made a triple substitution, ex-Ipswich defender Drissa Diallo rose unchallenged at the back post to meet a Hills free-kick and angle in a downward header that 18-year-old Supple smothered at his near post.

Another sub, Adam Proudlock, should have levelled in the 64th minute when he was given a free header just six yards out, but the ball sailed over. Wednesday's hopes of a point evaporated in the 71st minute when Westlake fired Ipswich further ahead after a slick move down the right between Sito and Currie.

A rare moment of slackness in the Ipswich defence allowed Peacock to pull one back when he rose to meet skipper Whelan's left-wing corner and head home.

But Royle's braves held out for a hard-earned win which leaves the Owls still seeking their first victory of the season.

IPSWICH: Supple 7 - Sito 7, *NAYLOR 8, Wilnis 7, Richards 7 - Currie 7 (Peters, 78mins), Magilton 7 (Horlock, 68mins, 6), Garvan 6 (Juan, 85mins), Westlake 7 - Bowditch 7, McDonald 7.

SHEFF WED: Lucas 5 - Simek 5, Coughlan 5, Wood 6, Hills 5 - Eagles 6 (Peacock, 59mins, 6), Whelan 6, Adams 6 (Diallo, 59mins, 6), O'Brien 5, *BRUNT 7 - Graham 5 (Proudlock, 59 mins, 4).

Ref: G Hegley 6.

CAPTION(S):

STUFFED OWLS: Richard Naylor muscles in to score - and then celebrates with Jim Magilton Pics: PAUL HARDING/ACTION IMAGES
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2005
Words:670
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