A sorry similar story as Sheffield Wednesday dominate Watford but can't get the win

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Sheffield Wednesday dominated Watford at Hillsborough on Wednesday night, but - in a familiar turn of events - lacked the killer touch.

The first half followed the script for so many of Danny Röhl’s games since taking charge at Wednesday. The Owls looked confident, good on the ball, pushed forwards as much as they could, but couldn’t find the end product that was required.

Barry Bannan was in the thick of it, the Owls skipper rolling back the years with an almost vintage display at Hillsborough as he dictated play in the middle of the park, picking out passes the way that only he can, and very nearly getting on the scoresheet with a fantastic effort from range that was well saved by Ben Hamer.

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The game ebbed and flowed nicely, both teams having good spells, and while the hosts had the most chances to open the scoring it was the visitors who probably should have taken the lead first – possibly twice.

Matheus Martins was everywhere, involved in almost every flash point, and it was his freekick they came off the post and back into play following a wicked deflection that wrong-footed James Beadle, but Bannan was on hand to force the onrushing attacker out of the way. Had it not been for him then it would’ve been 1-0.

Six minutes later Wednesday really should’ve been behind as Martins found himself in front of an open goal – albeit from quite a tight angle – but he couldn’t get it on target. A let-off for Röhl’s outfit.

From there it was all Owls, though. Some lovely bits of interplay saw them work their way closer and closer towards opening the scoring, and right before half time they thought they’d done it… Iké Ugbo, on his first start, caught his strike sweetly from wide of the Watford goal only to see it cannon off the post, and Hamer did brilliantly to make himself big and keep out Anthony Musaba’s header on the rebound. So desperately unlucky.

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There was one change from each side at the break as Yaser Asprilla replaced Martins and Michael Smith came on for Josh Windass. The general pattern of the game remained, but things felt less open than they had in a very back and forth opening stanza.

That was until just after the hour mark, in the 66th minute to be exact, when a lovely floated ball was met at the back post by Di’Shon Bernard. He poked it goalwards, and it looked like it had wriggled under Hamer, but after a glance at her watch to check the goal-line technology Rebecca Welch waved play on. Another close call.

Wednesday were pushing, and moments later Smith saw his strike deflected wide for a corner – they had the upper hand and Röhl decided to strike while the iron was hot. On came Bailey Cadamarteri for Ugbo, who got a good ovation after what had been a solid showing leading the line.

Bannan was running his socks off, creating chances at one end and making tackles at the other - he thought he had an assist, too, as he dinked a delightful freekick onto the head of Smith, but he couldn't keep it down and it went flying over the bar. With 10 minutes to go it was Wednesday who were looking to most likely to get a winner.

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The next change was a semi-forced one, it felt. Bannan seemed to be feeling a cramp in his legs for a little while, and rather than take any risks the decision was made to take him off - Momo Diaby came into the fold, Röhl no doubt hoping his big frame could help the Owls in their late push.

Still the hosts pushed, for huge periods of the game they'd not looked like a team sat in the relegation zone. Musaba thought he'd grabbed the winner as injury time approached, but the only thing better than his long-range strike from the Owls attacker was the save from Hamer - once more he proved his worth to Watford.

Mallik Wilks came on, replacing Musaba, as one final roll of the dice for the Wednesday boss, and it almost immediately paid dividends as he found space in the box and aimed for the far post. This one went past Hamer, but unfortunately the post too.

Wednesday had done everything but score, coming close on so many occasions, but in the end it felt like two points dropped rather than one gained. The Owls are in the end game now, and they can't afford to not win the matches that they deserve to.

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