VIDEO: Owls match verdict: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Hull City 1

0
Have your say

You have to go back to 2001 for the last time super-fan Roger Strain missed an Owls fixture.

Saturday’s eventful clash with Hull City was the 750th match in a row that the 34-year-old, who hails from Chesterfield, has followed Wednesday’s fortunes.

There have probably been occasions during that period where Roger has questioned his own sanity. Pardon the pun, but the Owls’ fluctuating performances and results are bound to have, at times, put a Strain on his relationship with the club he adores.

But through all the ups and downs - and there have been several low points - Roger’s enthusiasm and passion for Wednesday has remained undimmed.

If the weekend is anything to go by, his faith may soon be about to be rewarded.

Strain and 20,000 other supporters witnessed two well-taken goals, a controversial penalty incident, a number of full-blooded tackles, a substitute making an instant impact and referee Keith Stroud being forced off with an injury after Chuba Akpom accidentally barged into the back of him, leading to him being replaced by the fourth official.

FernandoForestieri scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis

FernandoForestieri scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis

After last year’s Hillsborough woes, fans are definitely now getting their money’s worth.

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal said: “I said when I first came here that I wanted to implement my philosophy, but, at the same time, it is important that the fans come to the stadium and have the pleasure of seeing the team play good football.

“They are paying for a ticket and want to enjoy what we are doing. I think the fans are enjoying the way we are playing and so are the players.”

Spectators are certainly being treated to more goalmouth action.

That’s not to say this televised lunch-time encounter was a great spectacle. It was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination.

After a slow start, Wednesday edged the first period and deservedly led courtesy of Fernando Forestieri’s second goal since arriving in a £3 million deal from Watford.

His strike oozed class.

Played onside by Ahmed Elmohamady and Curtis Davies, Forestieri underlined his predatory instincts, latching on to Tom Lees’ knock-down before turning sharply and firing a shot past Allan McGregor.

Abel Hernandez equalises for Hull

Abel Hernandez equalises for Hull

Goal number 2,021 viewed by Roger.

Carvalhal paired Lucas Joao with Forestieri for the first time and the duo worked tirelessly, causing Hull’s backline problems with their potent mix of pace, power and trickery. They were ably supported by man of the match Kieran Lee who kept making trademark late runs into the penalty area to support the forward line.

Early on, Lee had a decent penalty shout waved away after going down under a challenge by Michael Dawson. It should be pointed out that Joao handled in the build-up to the appeal but Dawson stuck out a leg, missed the ball and tripped Lee.

Perhaps referee Stroud, who incensed both sets of fans with some of his decision-making, believed Lee had theatrically taken a tumble. Either way, it definitely fell into the category of ‘I have seen them given’.

Carvalhal refused to be drawn on the flashpoint, claiming he “didn’t see it”.

On another day, Sam Hutchinson could have seen red after an ugly looking tackle on Abel Hernandez. Hull enforcer Mohamed Diamé also put in a few crunching challenges before being wisely taken off.

Referee Keith Stroud goes down injured

Referee Keith Stroud goes down injured

Wednesday had the momentum after Forestieri’s opener and Joao, Lees and Barry Bannan all spurned chances to extend their lead. Carvalhal argued the scoreline was a “complete injustice” at the interval.

Those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Owls as the Tigers regrouped and bossed things for long spells in the second period.

Carvalhal bemoaned a defensive lapse in concentration as Wednesday switched off after Hull introduced Akpom in the 51st minute. Within the space of 30 seconds, he played a part in Hernandez’s equaliser and seventh goal for club and country this season.

For more news from Hillsborough click here

Hernandez, Hull’s £10 million record signing, had returned from international duty with Uruguay only on Thursday evening after a gruelling trip to South America where he scored against Bolivia in their World Cup qualifier. The striker showed no ill effects from his globe-trotting and was a handful throughout.

Keiren Westwood produced a couple of excellent saves to prevent Hernandez from completing a miraculous turnaround.

It will have frustrated Carvalhal how frequently Wednesday turned over possession. Nonetheless, they almost snatched maximum points only for McGregor to pull off a stunning save to stop Andrew Robertson from scoring an own goal.

As Carvalhal stated, a draw was a fair result, with the Owls troubling one of the meanest defences in the division.

Hull, boasting former England internationals in Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore, were a Premier League team less than six months ago. They look serious top-six contenders, but Wednesday more than matched them and sit just three points shy of the play-off positions.

“That was arguably the best Sheffield Wednesday team I have seen over the last few years,” Hull boss Steve Bruce said.

“They have got an impressive coach, they have got a bit of quality they have brought in, they are a handful and the crowd at last seem like they have got something to shout about, which is good for the city.”

As Nigel Adkins would say, there’s still room for improvement and areas in which the Owls need to sharpen up. If they are consistently going to challenge the best sides at this level, more clean sheets are required.

A 206th draw was not quite the way Roger had hoped to celebrate his remarkable milestone.

However, the signs are that he and company are in for some good times over the coming years.

Wednesday: Westwood 7; Hunt 6, Lees 7, Turner 7, Pudil 7; Wallace 6 (Helan 89), Hutchinson 7, Lee 8, Bannan 6; Joao 7 (Nuhiu 70), Forestieri 7. Substitutes: Wildsmith, Loovens, Matias, McGugan, Semedo.

Hull: McGregor 7; Elmohamady 6, Dawson 7, Davies 7, Odubajo 6; Huddlestone 6, Diamé 6 (Akpom 51, 7), Livermore 6 (Aluko 85), Maloney 6 (Robertson 70), Clucas 6, Hernández 8. Substitutes: Jakupović, Bruce, Meyler, Maguire.

Attendance: 20,389.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).