Extra eyes on Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City but no winner at Hillsborough

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Sheffield Wednesday will play Coventry City for a fourth time as they head to an FA Cup replay next month.

Extra eyes were on Wednesday’s game tonight, and not for good reasons. The racist abuse of Kasey Palmer in their league meeting last week shone a light once more on an issue that still rears its head in football as it does in society, and led to the arrest of a man for a ‘a racially aggravated public order offence’.

There were question marks over whether Palmer would feature, but when he was named in the Coventry XI there will have been more than a few wondering about the reception he was going to get. Wednesday’s players had said their piece on social media, Owls captain, Barry Bannan, had slammed the behaviour in his pre-match press conference, and Danny Röhl made it clear that it was not welcome at the club.

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So when some – a vocal minority it has to be said – booed as Palmer and his teammates took the knee in front of Wednesday’s players linked arm-in-arm on the centre circle, it left a sour taste. And that was before a ball had even been kicked.

Wednesday were hoping for third time lucky against the Sky Blue having lost in two Championship games in recent weeks, and there were sparks that they could get something this time around as Djeidi Gassama’s dancing feet drove the Owls forward and the hosts put on some pressure.

It was Coventry who got the first real chance though, and Matt Godden will have been disappointed not to have done more with it as he fired over from close-range. Pierce Charles, on his debut, got a high-five from Akin Famewo as it blazed over – acknowledgement of a bright start and, you’d think, his good positioning.

Gassama drilled one wide of Ben Wilson’s net, Iké Ugbo came close to nudging a Bannan cross goalwards, and Anthony Musaba kept trying to drive at the opponents, but it was to no avail. And just like last week it took a screamer to open the scoring.

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This time around it was Victor Torp who got it, having all the time in the world to set himself about 25 yards out, and with his right foot he rifled it home past the young Owls goalkeeper. Ben Sheaf’s was placement, this one was all power. And just before the break, too.

Röhl, seemingly happy enough after what had been an even first half, made no changes at the break, and the decision to stay as they were nearly paid off. Within four minutes Ugbo came desperately close to levelling things up as a wicked strike cannoned back off the post, and he wasn’t far off again moments later as a looping effort went narrowly over the crossbar.

It was better from the Owls, but without that cutting edge, and as they started to fade their manager delved into the bench. First it was Michael Smith on for Ugbo, then came Mallik Wilks and Ashley Fletcher for Bailey Cadamarteri and Antony Musaba.

Still no change, though, despite Wednesday huffing and puffing against a side seemingly content to ride out the game. Liam Palmer came on for appearance number 418 – taking him 12th in the club’s all-time list – as did young Gui Siqueira, who picked up the ball in the 85th minute.

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He fed Smith, who slotted it through the legs of an opponent towards Bannan. The Owls skipper slid it left through to Gassama, who cut onto his right and hit it low towards the goal. He had to get it just right to beat Wilson, and he did just that. In off the post, and nestled into back of the net. 1-1, and game on.

After that it was all Wednesday, the hosts trying their best to avoid a fourth meeting with the Sky Blues, but it wasn’t to be – and could’ve ended up going the other way if not for debutant Charles.

The 18-year-old pulled off a fine save from close-range kept Jamie Allen out, and things ended level.

Another trip to the Coventry Arena anyone?

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