Flash report: Sheffield Wednesday U23 1 Burnley U23 2 - Owls youngsters miss out on winning the league

Sheffield Wednesday U23 failed to pick up the point they needed to win the league as they fell to defeat to Burnley.

Friday, 27th April 2018, 1:51 pm
Updated Friday, 27th April 2018, 3:16 pm
Sheffield Wednesday U23 v Burnley U23

And with Nottingham Forest picking up a victory earlier in the afternoon, it means the Owls will miss out on a place in the end-of-season play-offs to determine the Professional Development League champions.

Wednesday led early through Preslav Borukov but Burnley wrestled control to move ahead by half time.

And despite throwing everything they had at the visitors to Hillsborough, including seeing strikes hit the bar and cleared off the line, the Owls could not draw level for the point they so desperately needed.

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Wednesday started the game with the tempo and drive expected from a team with something to play for.

And such tenacity from Borukov saw him pounce on a defensive mistake to give Wednesday the lead.

Taking advantage of ponderous play on the edge of the area, the striker nicked the ball away from Scott Wilson and charge into the area before sending the ball beyond Connor Mitchell with a cute finish.

The Owls continued to push forward and Borokuv was inches away from doubling their advantage.

He met Fraser Preston's fine cross with a neat side-footed effort which rattled back off the bar.

But Wednesday could not maintain their energy levels which allowed the visitors to get a foothold in the game for the first time.

And Burnley equalised with their first real foray deep into Owls territory when Rob Harker powered in a header at the near post from a Jordan Cropper cross.

From the leveller, the visitors were in the ascendancy and began to enjoy far more possession without truly managing to test Dan Wallis in the Wednesday goal.

Wednesday became careless on the ball, regularly misplacing passes and struggling to make it into the final third.

Burnley punished them just after the half hour when Chakwana slotted home from Harker's fine knockdown.

The visitors continued to have the better the half, though both sides continued to struggle for real openings.

Wednesday will have known at the break the details of the task at hand.

Nottingham Forest had completed a 4-0 win at Huddersfield Town in an earlier kick-off, meaning as things stood at Hillsborough the Owls would drop down to third and miss out on a place in the play-offs.

Neil Thompson rejigged his line-up with Preston and Jack Stobbs supporting lone front man Borukov in a 3-4-2-1 system.

And Wednesday began to enjoy much more of the ball once again, very much looking like the side on the front foot.

Joe West saw a low strike deflected into the arms of Burnley keeper Connor Mitchell.

And Stobbs was played in by Liam Waldock before his goalbound driven effort took a wicked deflection into the side netting.

As time wore on, Wednesday increasingly threw everything they had at the opposition, with Thompson sending on Jordan Lonchar in what was a 4-2-4 system whenever they Owls had the ball.

While often frantic, there were moments of real quality, particularly in wide areas with Wednesday delivering some excellent crosses.

Substitute Ben Hughes saw a looping header cleared off the line by Cropper as the Owls continued to push.

Pushing men forward, Wednesday were vulnerable on the counter attack and Ali Koiki was inches away from wrapping up the win for Burnley as he fired a loose ball wide after a rapid break.

The energy levels on display from Wednesday dipped as the game entered the final ten minutes and they struggled to maintain the dangerous pressure they had mounted throughout the half.

The Owls were the width of the bar from the vital leveller as the 90 minute mark approach. The ball sat up nicely for Preston who drilled a superb side volley which rattled back off the bar.

And it would prove to be so near, so far for the young Owls side.

Burnley looked set to take any doubt away in added time when Wallis brought down forward Chakwana to concede a penalty.

But the Owls keeper redeemed himself with a fine save, only for it to prove too late for his side’s hopes.

Wednesday U23: Wallis, Brennan (Hughes 53), O'Grady, Lee, Williams (Lonchar 70), West (O'Brien 85), Stobbs, Kirby, Preston, Waldock, Borukov. Subs not used: Render, Hunt.

Burnley U23: Mitchell, Clarke, Younger, Wilson, Cropper, Goodridge (Perkins 86), N'Guessan, Benson, Koiki, Harker (Massanka 77), Chakwana. Subs not used: King, Crankshaw.