Match Report: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Stoke City 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Stoke City....Owls Gary Madine surronded by City players
Sheffield Wednesday v Stoke City....Owls Gary Madine surronded by City players
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FROM AN entertainment standpoint it was a tame affair lacking in goals and excitement.

FROM AN entertainment standpoint it was a tame affair lacking in goals and excitement.

But as a pre-season friendly the Owls’ 0-0 draw with Stoke was just the job because it gave them a searching physical work-out against higher-class players before the real action begins next Saturday.

Wednesday faced not one Stoke team but two: Tony Pulis started with eight of the side who began Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League win against Hajduk Split and he fielded an entirely different 11 for the second half.

Gary Megson was pleased with the way his side, who used only three subs, lasted the course.

“It was a terrific, a great exercise for us in terms of fitness,” said the Wednesday manager.

“I told the players after the game that I’ve been delighted with pre-season, both with the effort they’ve shown and the way we’ve played in the games, in the main.

“But it’s as plain as the nose on your face: we don’t look like scoring goals, other than maybe from a long distance or a cross. I don’t think it’s a secret in terms of the kind of players we’re looking to bring in.”

He added: “We only used 14 players; Stoke used 20, who are internationals or Premier League players and cost a lot of money.

“I thought that for 80 minutes we were very good. We started to run out of steam in the last 10 minutes because most of our players had played every minute but Stoke’s were fresh.”

Trialist Juvhel Tsoumou had the Owls’ best and arguably only real chance: a cross from the on-form Chris Sedgwick bounced to the 20-year-old Congo-born striker from German club Aachen and his sidefooted shot from five yards was easily saved by Asmir Begovic, in the 12th minute.

Tsoumou got into good positions for crosses a couple of times and seemed nippy, but had few touches of the ball.

There was certainly not enough evidence from this one performance to justify signing him.

His strike partner Clinton Morrison had little joy too - but Wednesday could hardly be expected to tear a Premier League back four to shreds, and they had the satisfaction of keeping a clean sheet and looking pretty solid in midfield and at the back.

Rob Jones was again commanding in the air, and he cleared a header by Ben Marshall off the line in the second half, Diego Arismendi hit the post from 20 yards; Danny Batth put a half-chance wide with a header, and James O’Connor had a shot deflected wide after a good move.

O’Connor replaced Jose Semedo after a hour, and at half time Liam Palmer took over from Jermaine Johnson, who again showed flashes of menace.

Semedo and Johnson both took minor knocks and were not causing any concern, said Megson.

OWLS: Weaver, Buxton, Batth, R Jones, Bennett, Sedgwick, Prutton, Semedo (O’Connor 60), J Johnson (Palmer ht), Tsoumou, Morrison (Madine 73). Unused subs: O’Donnell, Beevers, D Jones, Reynolds, R Johnson.

STOKE 1st half: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Woodgate, Huth, Delap, Whitehead, Whelan, Pugh, Jones, Walters. 2nd half: Sorensen, Shotton, Diao, Collins, Wilson, Pennant, Rada, Arismendi, Marshall, Soares, Tonge. Unused Subs: Cavalier, Moult, Stanbowlzio.

Attendance: 3,959

Ref: Craig Pawson (S Yorks).