Owls FT: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bournemouth 2

Giles Coke
Giles Coke
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Sheffield Wednesday players were met with boos at the end of both halves today as they lost 2-1 at home to Bournemouth.

Sand scattered in an area in front of the South Stand was the only obvious legacy of Wednesday night’s waterlogging.

Stuart Gray

Stuart Gray

The pitch seemed to be playing normally but it was an unusual Owls lineup after the bombshell of Wickham and Loovens being ruled out by injuries.

Stuart Gray started with 4-4-2, with JJ partnering Nuhiu, and the Owls took the game to Bournemouth, stringing passes together and showing a willingness to shoot on sight.

But yet again Wednesday fell behind early to a simple goal.

Coming on his left foot in the 10th minute, midfielder RITCHIE was not closed down properly and from the edge of the box he drilled a shot into Martinez’s bottom left-hand corner, though the keeper got a touch.

Green Un Online: Owls latest news

Green Un Online: Owls latest news

The Owls were too loose again seven minutes later as Surman worked the ball on to his left foot and let fly from similar range: the ball was deflected and Martinez made a terrific save, diving low to his right to touch the ball for a corner.

Wednesday looked edgy and there was anxiety in the crowd, but JJ had the confidence to shoot several times, even if the visitors did get bodies in the way every time.

Centre half Ward should at least have hit the target with a chance from a Ritchie corner in the 22nd minute: he put a free header wide.

This was a worrying start for the Owls - and it got worse in the 27th minute.

A fine ball down the right released GRABBAN into plenty of space; Llera tried to get back, but the ex-Rotherham striker was quick and clinical and smashed a shot just inside Martinez’s near post, for his ninth goal of the season, with the keeper beaten by power.

At least the Owls summoned something of a response.

JJ raced away into space on the right and might have looked towards Lee to his left; he tried an ambitious effort from a narrow angle, and Camp touched it for a corner.

With pressure staying on, Semedo crossed from the left, Nuhiu got in a glacing header and Camp turned it around the post.

JJ and Coke took responsibility with long range drives but both missed the target.

The Owls were having strikes at goal but struggling to create clear chances; Bournemouth were comfortable when defending, and had O’Kane as a screen in front of their back four, in their usual 4-1-4-1 system.

The first half fizzled out and then came the inevitable boos when the whistle sounded.

Further analysis at half time, on the club TV system, confirmed poor defending on both the goals and suggested that Martinez should not have been beaten at his near post for the second one.

Early in the second half the keeper made an athletic catch from a 27-yard free kick by Arter but he had plenty of time to react. Gray was trying something different: Maghoma was pushed into the middle to support Nuhiu, JJ switched to the right and Lee to the left. Injuries had left the Owls with limited attacking options: Savic, the on-loan youngster from Sampdoria, was the only striker on the bench. Then Nuhiu was down in pain, after falling awkwardly following a challenge in the 61st minute.

Savic began to get changed, but Nuhiu, after a couple of minutes’ treatment to his left shoulder, saw the sub being readied and signalled that he wanted to stay on.

But he was taken off in the 66th minute, holding his shoulder. On went Savic, for his debut, and so did Helan, for Semedo. It became Savic up front with Maghoma, Lee in the middle and Helan on the left. The crowd deplored a wild, long-range shot by JJ that sailed into the Kop. Llera was closer, with a 27-yard free kick, but it dipped over the bar, and the centre back lost possession midway in the Owls half just after that: Ritchie took over and smacked a half-chance over the top. Wednesday huffed and puffed but could not find the necessary quality - the story of much of their season.

Bournemouth looked in no danger of losing the points and were homing in on only their second win in 10 games.

But hoped flared for the Owls in the 82nd minute: MAGHOMA poached his first goal for the club, hooking the ball into the roof of the net from close range after a penalty-area scramble.

Gray had just sent on Mattock for JJ and pushed Reda Johnson up front as a third striker. Wednesday pressed - but they had left themselves with too much to do, and Grabban should have made in 3-1 on the break in the last minute.