Owls FT: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bolton Wanderers 3

Owls on the back foot against Bolton
Owls on the back foot against Bolton
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Stuart Gray’s prime aim going into this afternoon’s game was for his team to stop conceding sloppy goals.

But they let in two more inside the first 19 minutes.

Owls v Bolton

Owls v Bolton

A simple ball put Beckford in space on the left side of the box at the Kop end in the eighth minute; he played it in low toward the far post and Mattock seemed not to fully appreciate the danger as DANNS showed the greater strength and urgency to force the ball home from close range.

Wednesday had been given a warning a minute before that.

Centre back Mills got his head to a right-side corner by Lee and it might have gone in had it not hit Loovens and been deflected over the bar.

This patched-up Owls side struggled to find cohesion in the early stages. .

They did have a sniff of goal when a knockdown by Onyewu set up Helan for a volley: he lashed it over the bar.

But with Wednesday having already been hit by a catalogue of soft goals in recent, they conceded one of the worst when they went two down.

A bad ball by Mattock put Loovens in trouble and allowed LEE to break down the inside-right channel; his shot was tame and went along the ground towards Kirkland, But the keeper uncharacteristically let it slip under his body and carry on into the net.

Bolton had Beckford on his own up front in a 4-2-3-1 system but used the ball well and were a threat coming forward in numbers.

Wednesday lacked spark, in a 4-4-2, and were without top scorer Maguire, who was attending his grandmother’s funeral.

The first two goals were awful but a stunner put the Owls three down in the 29th minute, TROTTER, one of Bolton’s two defensive midfielders, smacked a volley from a good 30 yards, giving Kirkland no chance as the ball dipped under the bar.

Many home fans applauded that effort - but the boos from home areas straight afterwards were louder.

Wednesday were error-prone and tentative. McCabe had produced one decent shot, and Helan should have done better with a header, but Bolton dominated possession and were comfortably in control.

What a turn-up it was when, out of the blue, came a Wednesday goal of the season contender, in the 38th minute.

Bolton cleared a corner out of their box, and from 25 yards MATTOCK blasted a brilliant left-foot shot into Bogdan’s top right-hand corner. But in view of what had gone on beforehand, the left back did not really celebrate.

There were ironic cheers from the Kop when Kirkland caught an innocuous free kick, and almost real cheers when an attempted cross by Lavery surprised Bogdan, who clawed the ball away from the net.

Kirkland partially made up for his earlier error with an expertly-judged bit of goalkeeping that prevented it becoming 4-1, three minutes after the restart.

Danns was put clean through by Lee and tried to go around the keeper. Kirkland went down at his feet and stopped the ball dead with an outstretched hand.

Nuhiu might have done better with a free, long-range header from Mattock cross; ditto Bolton’s Lee when he lobbed the ball over the bar as well as over Kirkland. Gray made a double substitution in the 60th minute, with Stobbs coming on for a debut on the right wing, and Corry replacing McCabe in midfield. With Mattock taken off, Helan switched to left back, and Antonio to the left wing.

Stobbs’ first cross was easily cut out, but, waiting at the far post, he headed a cross by Nuhiu back across goal, and Lavery had a shot blocked.

The difficulty facing the Owls in trying to find a way through was illustrated when Coke, in possession in the centre circle, looked for options ahead of him; there were none, and he ended up being closed down and losing the ball. It was far from being the kind of Hillsborough finale for which they and the crowd had hoped, and had been swayed by that suicidal start. With Wednesday throwing caution to the wind, Kirkland stopped a Danns shot with an outstretched foot, Lee missed a chance at the far post after a run from Kellett, and a great tackle by Helan denied Jutkiew

Wednesday Kirkland, McCabe, Onyewu, Loovens, Mattock, Lavery,

Lee, Coke, Helan, Antonio, Nuhiu. Subs: Jermaine Johnson, Corry,

Martinez, Afobe, Llera, Stobbs, Best.

Bolton: Bogdan, Threlkeld, Mills, Wheater, Ream, Spearing,

Trotter, Lee, Danns, Hall, Beckford. Subs: Knight, Lonergan,

Jutkiewicz, Robinson, Kellett, Youngs, Iliev.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)