Owls match report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Middlesbrough 0

Atdhe Nuhiu converts from the penalty spot
Atdhe Nuhiu converts from the penalty spot
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Chris Kirkland and Stuart Gray both want goal-line technology to arrive in the Championship - even though it would have meant the Owls conceding an important goal had it been in operation on Saturday.

But if it had also been in use for the last 18 months then injustices against them would have been avoided.

I am thinking of a header by Miguel Llera that appeared to cross the line in a 1-0 home defeat by Hull in October 2012, and a crazy moment in a 2-1 setback at Watford last March when a Lewis Buxton header was handled by defender Nyron Nosworthy and the ball went over the line yet nothing was given.

In last week’s FA Cup tie, Charlton had a narrow escape - though I rather think that an eye in the sky on that occasion would have shown that ‘no goal’ was the correct verdict.

Wednesday have had enough misfortune in many other incidents over the last couple of seasons for them not to feel sheepish about Saturday’s let-off.

Full marks to Kirkland for honesty in admitting that the ball was over the line after Jacob Butterfield’s 12th-minute shot hit both posts

At the time, I too thought it was a goal. Replays were inconclusive, however, considering that the whole of the ball must be over the line, The view from an angle, as from the press box and on TV, showed a little grass was visible between the ball and the line, but that did not mean all the ball was over, when looked at from directly above. (Try this experiment for yourself in the back garden!)

Anyway, Kirkland was best placed to judge. “It was definitely over,” he said. “We need goal-line technology. Every club needs it. It costs a lot of money but the FA have got to install it at every ground, for me.

“Sooner or later it’s going to cost somebody dear, a promotion or relegation. It shouldn’t be that way. We’ve got away with one; I’m sure we’re not the only team who’ll get away with one before the end of the season. Until they put it in every ground, then these debates are going to keep happening.

“I’m not going to just let it roll in and leave it and say it’s a goal. You don’t do that. It’s the instinct thing. It’s not our fault, it’s not Middlesbrough’s fault.”

Gray said: “If everybody’s got goal-line technology, you get clarity and take all the guessing away.

“I saw their players’ reaction and I thought it must be close. Their dug-out were up; they thought it was in. Then my thought was to look at the linesman. It’s crazy how we’re talking about this again. Maybe that was the bit of luck we deserved. It balanced it out, because we didn’t get that luck on Monday night.”

In additition, Wednesday were wrongly denied a penalty when Sam Hutchinson was barged to the ground, from behind, by Jonathan Woodgate just before half-time.

Said Kirkland: “ I think the ref evened it up; I think he knew he’d messed up. It was a stonewall pen.” Gray too judged it was a foul.

But the ‘no goal’ decision was linesman Paul Hodskinson’s call, and it was the Lancashire official’s verdict that brought Wednesday’s penalty award, with ref Andy D’Urso apparently unsighted.

The spot-kick affair, too, was worthy of further analysis on screen.

Leon Best’s shot definitely hit Dean Whitehead’s left hand, But was it deliberate? And should he ave been sent off for preventing a goal? George Friend was behind him and might well have blocked the ball with his chest. As this happened in the 87th minute, the red card had little effect on the game.

It was only the second penalty of the season for Wednesday; and many times in previous months they saw very cast-iron claims refused.

Designated penalty-taker Chris Maguire netted from the spot in the 2-0 win at Reading last month but had been taken off on Saturday.

Atdhe Nuhiu has not had the greatest time in front of goal lately but he showed commendable confidence in grabbing the ball, and perfect execution when, with a crisp shot, he sent Tomas Mejias the wrong way, for his fourth goal of the season.

Gray said: “ I didn’t see many others wanting the ball either! Atdhe needs that. His work-rate and commitment have been fantastic. He’s just not had a break in front of goal. Hopefully that will set him off on a little goal run.”

Nuhiu also received the mandatory booking for taking off his shirt, in his celebration. Underneath was a white shirt with the message: ‘You will always be in my heart XH. Nuhiu’. He also lifted the bottom of this shirt and kissed it. The message is believed to relate to someone who was close to the striker.

Fellow sub Jermaine Johnson livened things up with a cameo appearance, Oguchi Onyewu was terrific all-round and Kirkland did his bit with a double save, from Danny Graham and Kei Kamara. Mejias thwarted Maguire, Hutchinson and Giles Coke, and Leon Best missed a near-post chance from a great ball by Liam Palmer.

Wednesday deserved the points on the basis of pressure and strikes at goal, against well-organised opposition whose failure to score in seven games is probably down to their missing spirit of adventure.

Gray regarded it as an “ugly” win. “I just felt Lavery, Guchi, Loovens, Hutchinson and Kirkland were at it to the level we wanted,” he said “The other boys looked a bit tired. But I’m delighted with the three points.”

Hero: Oguchi Onyewu did not put a foot wrong. He was strong in the air and on the deck, read the game well, and showed good touch, and it was his huge leap to head Sam Hutchinson’s cross that led to the penalty incident.