Sheffield Wednesday: Monday reflection ... one point should be three for Owls

Steven Fletcher's reaction said it all.

Monday, 13th August 2018, 2:03 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 2:08 pm
Steven Fletcher. Pictures: Steve Ellis

The Sheffield Wednesday striker held his head in his hands after missing a third clear-cut chance to score for the Owls on his comeback.

The final one, a header over the bar when Adam Reach's perfect cross had left him with a near open goal, was the worst. And the most telling.

Steven Fletcher. Pictures: Steve Ellis

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Had that gone in in the 67th minute, the Owls would have been 2-1 ahead against Hull City and, with the Tigers' resistance broken, probably on their way to a comfortable first victory of their Championship campaign.

Six minutes later, the centre-forward's race was run. He'd done well to last so long on his first start in eight months after suffering a knee injury.

Just as his own response to that fluffed header spoke volumes, so too did the applause the 31-year-old received as he left the field.

The misses had been bad, but the performance had been good. Wednesday looked stronger and more dangerous for his presence. Fletcher has never been a prolific taker of chances, but, with more game-time, at least one of that trio of opportunities would have gone in.

Fernando Forestieri

This was a game the Owls could have lost in the first half and should have won in the second.

There were echoes of the opening-day defensive problems at Wigan Athletic as Hull opened up Wednesday to such an extent that they could have been two goals ahead within five minutes.

Fletcher was foiled one on one with the goalkeeper five minutes after the visitors' 26th-minute opener who will be miffed they didn't lead by more at the interval but were hardly seen as an attacking force after the break.

The second half, with Wednesday going towards the kop, was a wave of blue and white and Fernando Forestieri's penalty strike was scant reward for their dominance against a side unlikely to operate in the top half of the table.

Fletcher headed wide then erred for a third and final time before Forestieri produced the moment of the match with a turn and shot that deserved a goal but brought a smart save from David Marshall.

"When you don't win, you don't sit with a happy feeling after the game," said manager Jos Luhukay who would maybe have started with Fletcher on the bench had Lucas Joao not cried off with a groin complaint hours before kick-off.

"We have three or four very good chances to score a goal other than Fernando's penalty. We had good chances to score a second goal. If you do that, I think you win."

Wednesday are a work in progress. Defensively, they're not as tight as they were towards the end of last season, but they carry a threat going forward. Fletcher will improve, Forestieri can undo any backline and Reach's delivery is a match for any player in the second tier.

Atdhe Nuhiu is back after suspension to add to the options, Joao's issue hopefully won't keep him out for long and Gary Hooper is now back in full training after his own Fletcher-esque injury exile.

They're up and running, but one point should be three. Last week they were lucky to keep it at three conceded, this time it should have been three scored.