Prutton special as Owls take Leeds test in stride

Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds Utd...Owls David Prutton pulled back by Utds Aidy White
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds Utd...Owls David Prutton pulled back by Utds Aidy White
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday nurtured optimism about the new season with another decent performance as they drew 1-1 with Leeds at Hillsborough after leading for most of the game.

SHEFFIELD Wednesday nurtured optimism about the new season with another decent performance as they drew 1-1 with Leeds at Hillsborough after leading for most of the game.

Owls fans in a crowd of 9,028 applauded the team off the field at half time and full time for the way they took a step up in class in their stride, facing Championship opposition after the wins against Worksop and Rotherham.

The highlight of an entertaining contest was an outstanding goal by David Prutton, who maybe is not renowned as a scorer but is welcome when he can produce a classy strike like this from midfield, when a problem that the club do have yet to solve is finding someone to fill Neil Mellor’s boots.

Prutton ran forward with the ball and from just inside the box hit a pinpoint left-foot shot into the keeper’s left-hand corner in the eighth minute - his first goal for the club.

He should have had a penalty soon afterwards when, in almost exactly the same position at the Leppings Lane end, he was brought down by ex-Owls defender Leigh Bromby: the referee gave a free kick on the edge of the area.

Wednesday were solid in midfield and at the back, as they had been in the 2-1 win against Rotherham.

Amid a burst of very early chances for both teams, Chris Sedgwick hit the bar with a header after Gary Madine nodded the ball back across goal.

Leeds had a significant share of possession in the first half but rarely penetrated the Owls and escaped again when a Sedgwick corner found Padraig Amond unmarked at the far post: the trialist headed the ball downwards at too steep an angle and it bounced over the bar.

The withdrawal of Lewis Buxton at half time because of a sore hamstring resulted in James O’Connor being pressed into service at right back, where he did not let the side down.

Rob Jones, a commanding figure at centre half, managed to deflect a Lloyd Sam shot on to a post early in the second half.

Jermaine Johnson shot just wide after a terrific run, and Nicky Weaver made virtually the only save of the game, blocking a shot by danger man Gradel shot at the near post.

Two more shots by Johnson - who was switched up front after Amond was taken off, with Daniel Jones going to left-side midfield - were Wednesday’s best efforts towards the end.

But they were pegged back in the 84th minute after Reda Johnson flattened Gradel in the box. The forward stuck away the resulting penalty.

The contest was spicy at times and probably there would have been some cards if this had been a league match. Instead ref Mark Haywood handed out lectures after confrontations between Jermaine Johnson and Gradel, Michael Brown and Jose Semedo, and Rob Jones and Paul Connolly.

But it was backslaps and handshakes all round at the end of a good workout for both sides.

Boss Gary Megson said: “Leeds have some good players but I thought we edged it in the first half, and I was disappointed we only got the one goal. I thought Sedgy should have buried that one early on.

“Then the ref gave a penalty but changed his mind and gave a free kick right on the edge of the box.

“We had one or two opportunities. We played some decent stuff. But in the second half Leeds had the upper hand.”

Megson queried the decision over Leeds’ penalty: “I thought it was free kick to us. Once the ball’s up there Reda’s got his eye on the ball.

“Maybe he shouldn’t have challenged for it but I thought Gradel blocked his run rather than the other way around.

“The result isn’t the be all and end all. The important thing that a lot of our players have got another 90 minutes under their belt, and a few of them have played in a Wednesday shirt at Hillsborough for the first time, which is important.”

Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: “It was a good test for us. Sheffield Wednesday are strong, powerful and put themselves about.

“It was a good progression from a different type of game at Rochdale on Tuesday. We knew we had to stand up and be counted at times. In the first half we didn’t have the right tempo when we had the ball and we probably didn’t close them down quickly enough.

“We still had sone decent opportunities; in the second half we were quicker with and without the ball.”

Isaiah Osbourne, the former Owls loan midfielder who is on trial with Leeds and played as a sub, is staying behind when the the first team go to Norway today for two days.

“To build up his fitness, he will train with the reserves and probably play against Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday,” said Grayson.