Sheffield Wednesday were held to a 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic today, extending their winless Championship run to seven matches.Addicks substitute Igor Vetokele’s 70th minute strike cancelled out Royston Drenthe’s superb first half opener.
Head coach Stuart Gray freshened up his Wednesday starting-line for their clash at ninth-placed Charlton.
Joe Mattock returned at left-back after serving a one-match suspension for collecting five yellow cards, with Claude Dielna dropping to the bench.
Talented Dutch forward Royston Drenthe made his first start since joining the Championship club on loan from Reading while Jacques Maghoma was recalled to midfield. Kieran Lee and Stevie May have been left off.
Keiren Westwood has shrugged off a hip problem and starts in between the sticks.
Former Owls defender Oguchi Onyewu was been named on Charlton’s bench, having moved to The Valley on a free transfer yesterday.
Wednesday threatened in the early skirmishes, with Joe Mattock’s header from a Drenthe corner deflected narrowly wide.
But Charlton almost caught the visitors napping in the sixth minute when George Tucudean coolly chested down Yoni Buyens clever pass before shooting straight at Westwood.
Drenthe, eager to make an impact, looked dangerous every time he touched the ball and his delivery narrowly evaded Atdhe Nuhiu, playing up front on his own.
Charlton should have taken the lead in the 11th minute but Jordan Cousins, unmarked at the back post, some how headed over captain Johnnie Jackson’s corner.
Moments later, Drenthe cut inside from the right flank and unleashed a fierce left foot strike which flew inches off target.
Wednesday continued to create chances and Drenthe switched play to the left flank before Maghoma fired a tame effort at Henderson.
But the visitors’ pressure paid off in the 27th minute as Drenthe broke the deadlock with a superb individual goal. The former Real Madrid player burst forward at pace as Charlton’s backline retreated to their own 18-yard line before drilling an unstoppable left foot drive past Henderson. It was Wednesday’s first goal since the last international break and Drenthe’s first since March.
As an attacking force, Charlton struggled to string anything together. Karlan Ahearne-Grant latched on to Tucudean’s raking pass but the youngster, from an acute angle, was comfortably denied by Westwood.
The Owls suffered a blow in the 34th minute when Mattock was taken off on a stretcher after picking up a serious injury and he was replaced by Dielna.
But Gray’s men spurned a glorious opportunity to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Nuhiu released Chris Maguire only for the Scot to drag his effort wide.
Maguire, quiet by his standards, dashed to the byline just after the re-start and swung in a teasing cross which agonisingly missed Nuhiu.
Looking short on confidence and imagination in the final third, Charlton caused Wednesday few problems, with full-back Chris Solly shooting over the top from distance.
Liam Palmer whipped in a cracking cross in the 51st minute into the danger zone but Hendereson was equal to Nuhiu’s header.
As the half wore on, Charlton gradually started to turn the screw, winning several corners and enjoying plenty of possession without testing Westwood. A long range piledriver by Solly went over, much to Wednesday’s relief.
Charlton threw on top-scorer Igor Vetokele in the 65th minute and the Angolan striker, with his first touch, found Tucudean, whose scuffed shot into the ground was acrobatically tipped over by Westwood.
With 20 minutes left, the hosts levelled things up through Vetokele as he tapped in Rhoys Wiggins’ centre after beating the off-side trap.
Wednesday had a big penalty shout turned down in the 78th minute after Nuhiu raced on to Helan’s chip and appeared to be shoved over by Andre Bikey but the referee Andy D’Urso was not interested and waved play on.
Vetokele lashed off target after good play by Cousins as both sides pushed hard for a winner.
Maguire flashed a shot wide while Henderson gathered a Nuhiu header at the second attempt.
Addicks substitute Lawrie Wilson had the ball in the net in the dying minutes but he had strayed into an off-side position and the goal was not allowed to stand.
Charlton: Henderson, Solly, Bikey, Ben Haim, Wiggins; Moussa, Jackson, Buyens, Cousins, Tucudean, Ahearne-Grant. Substitutes: Pope, Gudmundsson, Harriott, Onyewu, Vetokele, Wilson, Fox
Wednesday: Westwood; Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Mattock; Maguire, Semedo, Helan, Maghoma; Drenthe, Nuhiu. Substitutes: Kirkland, May, Taylor-Fletcher, Coke, McCabe, Lee, Dielna.