Played seven. Won zero.
That’s the Owls’ miserable record against the Championship’s bottom seven this season. Only two of the meetings have ended in defeats but draws are undermining Wednesday’s attempts to secure a top-six finish for the third year running.
No one can question the Owls’ character and spirit as they battled back from a goal down to lead 2-1 at Hillsborough after a superb brace by Gary Hooper.
But Wednesday let slip two more points deep into added on time when Michael Dawson’s scuffed effort went in off the post to ease the pressure on Tigers boss Leonid Slutsky, who considered his future last week following a dismal run of results.
The Owls only have themselves to blame after a fourth consecutive draw. They should have had the match sewn up long before Dawson’s dramatic leveller, which was the only chance Hull created in a one-sided second half.
Defensively Wednesday looked shaky and unconvincing for long periods and the Tigers, who have triumphed just once on their travels in 2017, punished their sloppiness. Fair play to Hull. They kept going to the end.
Yet rather than focusing on his own team’s failings, boss Carlos Carvalhal launched an extraordinary post-match tirade at referee Mike Jones. Carvalhal was left seething with the Premier League official after Jones decided not to award the Owls an 82nd minute penalty when Dawson appeared to block Adam Reach’s low shot with his arm.
Jones waved play on and sent Carvalhal to the stands following his protests. It is the second time Carvalhal has been dismissed this term.
As he trudged into the press conference room to conduct his post-match interview with the written media, Carvalhal cut an angry, frustrated figure.
He sat down on his chair and poured himself a glass of water and, unprompted, went into rant mode.
“I need water because I’m very upset,” he said. “I’m very upset, not about my players, because we did everything we had to do, not about myself because I did everything I had to do.
“But there was an unbelievable penalty, the defender acted like a goalkeeper, it is very clear. I am very upset because everything comes to me.”
Real time, I must admit I thought it was a spot-kick and it looked another big call that had gone against the Owls.
Carvalhal said: “With these kind of decisions, it’s not just about the points. The fans are not happy with the score, we are not happy, the players are frustrated in the dressing room and it is not about the decision.
“We lose points, one point here, two points, one point, three points, two points in this case.
“In the last 10 games we have been living with these kind of situations and you know this is not something I imagine. You know that, I am not talking about something which I imagine.
“Let’s see the Channel 5 programme and let’s see them analyse and see if it was a Sheffield Wednesday penalty.
“It’s a clear penalty and we will see on television.”
Speaking on Football on 5: The Championship, ex-Wednesday striker Clinton Morrison felt Jones made the correct decision. Having watched the footage in greater detail and from multiple angles, Morrison claimed Reach’s drive struck Dawson in the ribcage.
A BIG PLUS POINT
After an inept showing in the opening 45 minutes where the hosts were predictable and easy to defend against, Carvalhal made a double substitution at half-time and quickly switched to a midfield diamond. Wednesday adopted a direct approach and Atdhe Nuhiu’s 55th minute arrival swung things their way.
Nuhiu was outstanding, working tirelessly with and without the ball. He was a handful in the air and gave the Owls a focal point up front. He created Hooper’s second with a neat knockdown and a goal would have capped off a fine individual performance.
“The manager told me to use my strength; he knows what I can do and what I can bring to this team,” said Nuhiu. “It is up to him whether he wants to use me or not.
“I’m not bothered about that; I keep focussing on the way I am. At the moment it is good for me, but I don’t forget the times that it isn’t. It is hard sometimes; it is not easy for any footballer when they are not involved.
“Luckily for me I was still invited to play for the national team, the coach there believes in me and it gave me a confidence boost.”