Sheffield Wednesday’s miserable home form goes on as Charlton Athletic battled back to secure a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough this afternoon.
Johnann Berg Gudmundsson’s 75th minute strike cancelled out Caolan Lavery’s first half opener on a frustrating afternoon for the Owls.
The hosts twice hit the woodwork late on and substitute Atdhe Nuhiu missed a golden opportunity to edge an entertaining contest.
The draw means Stuart Gray’s side have won just once in their own backyard in nine attempts this year.
Lewis Buxton, who is out of contract in the summer, gots the nod at right-back. It is the experienced defender’s first start since the end of September and only his sixth appearance of the campaign. Buxton replaces Marnick Vermijl, who drops to the bench.
Kamil Zayatte, Sam Hutchinson and Sergiu Bus are also recalled to the starting line-up. Claude Dielna and Joe Mattock are sidelined due to injuries while Kieran Lee and Filipe Melo failed to make the cut.
Gray also handed a start to Jeremy Helan, who has shrugged off his groin problem.
It was Charlton who started on the front foot and Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who has arguably been their stand-out performer this season, fired a left foot shot straight at Keiren Westwood after a slack clearance by Zayatte.
The Addicks shaded the early skirmishes as Wednesday’s revamped side struggled to get going. Igor Vetokele, the visitors top-scorer, fed Chris Eagles, who dragged his effort from distance off target.
On a rare foray forward, Chris Maguire burst forward from deep before drilling a shot wide. The Scot then turned provider, releasing Caolan Lavery, who coolly cut inside on to his right foot only to curl his strike narrowly wide.
Chris Eagles thought he had given Charlton the lead after 15 minutes when he expertly lifted the ball over the advancing Westwood but he was adjudged to have strayed into an off-side position so the goal was disallowed.
With little at stake for either side, there was an end of season feel to the contest. Simon Church, preferred up front to Tony Watt, turned sharply before seeing his drive turned behind by Westwood.
Midway through the half, Wednesday created a four on two counter attack for themselves which they wasted. Lewis McGugan latched on to Lavery’s through ball but his attempt was well smothered by Stephen Henderson.
Eagles looked a threat on the left flank for Charlton and he sent Morgan Fox scampering clear. However, the left-back lacked the composure and confidence in front of goal, lashing a fierce shot over.
Republic of Ireland international Westwood had to be alert to thwart Church after a clever pass by Vetokele, rushing out of his goal to make the save.
From the resulting corner, Westwood produced a stunning stop to deny Morgan Fox after the Owls made a hash of clearing a Charlton corner.
It proved a big stop as Lavery put Wednesday ahead against the run of play in the 41st minute, with the striker tapping in Buxton’s lovely cross.
Things could have got even better for the Owls after the re-start but Isgrove was denied by the reflexes of Henderson.
Southampton loanee Isgrove broke clear following good play by Bus only to see his low drive saved by Henderson as the hosts pressed for a second.
Hutchinson became the first player to go into referee Darren Bond’s notebook after a clumsy late challenge on Gudmundsson.
Lavery came close to grabbing his second goal of the afternoon in the 53rd minute. His looping header, following Maguire’s dangerous delivery, had Henderson back-pedaling and the shot-stopped was forced to tip it over.
Maguire was proving to be a good attacking outlet for Wednesday in the second half. He fizzed in a dangerous centre which just evaded Bus after linking well with Lavery on the right flank.
The Owls were made to pay for those misses when Charlton levelled things up in the 75th minute as Gudmundsson smashed a left foot shot past Westwood after the goalkeeper could only parry Eagles’ attempt.
Moments later, Wednesday struck the woodwork twice in the space of a minute. Lavery’s audacious long range strike cannoned off Henderson’s left hand post and bounced to safety before Isgrove’s hooked effort hit the crossbar.
With six minutes left, Owls substitute Atdhe Nuhiu some how, after peeling away towards the back post, planted a free header wide after a great delivery by fellow striker Stevie May.
Wednesday asked plenty of questions of Charlton’s backline in the closing minutes, with Hutchinson denied from a Maguire corner while Nuhiu was unable to force in another Maguire set piece.
Owls: Westwood, Buxton, Zayatte, Lees, Helan; Maguire, McGugan, Hutchinson, Isgrove; Lavery, Bus. Substitutes: Kirkland, May, Nuhiu, Maghoma, Lee, Vermijl, Kelhar.
Charlton: Henderson, Gomez, Gudmundsson, Eagles, Vetokele, Buyens, Church, Solly, Fox, Jonson, Cousins . Substitutes: Dmitrovic, Bulot, Diarra, Wiggins, Lennon, Watt, Lepoint.