Match report: Cardiff 2 Owls 2

Sheffield Wednesday staged a stunning second half comeback to claim a 2-2 draw at play-off rivals Cardiff City this afternoon.

Sunday, 13th December 2015, 9:11 am
Fernando Forestieri shoots wide from distance

Second half strikes from Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan rescued Carlos Carvalhal's men a point in a South Wales.

Cardiff, who started the day only above the Owls on goal difference, looked on course for maximum points after a penalty by Craig Noone and Anthony Pilkington's third goal of the campaign.

Lee Peltier, left, competes with Daniel Pudil for the ball.

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But Wednesday staged a super fightback after the re-start to maintain their play-off push. The result sees them fall to eighth, one point adrift of the Championship's top-six.

Carvalhal made just one change to his starting line-up, recalling Michael Turner at centre-back. It was the experienced defender's first outing since October 17, having been out of action due to a knee injury.

Turner's return meant Sam Hutchinson reverted to his defensive midfield role, with Alex Lopez dropping to the bench despite a solid performance against Derby County.

Neither side looked particularly threatening in early stages and Lee Peltier became the first player to be yellow carded after the full-back unceremoniously upended Daniel Pudil.

Forestieri had the first sight at goal, dragging a shot well wide after a good spell of pressure by the visitors.

Cardiff wasted a glorious chance to go ahead in the 16th minute when the lively Tony Watt fed Aron Gunnarsson, who drilled a low shot straight at Westwood from just outside the penalty area.

Wednesday were forced to rejig their midfield before the Bluebirds made the breakthrough, with Hutchinson brought off after picking up a knock. The former Chelsea youngster was replaced by Lopez.

Following that substitution, the Bluebirds opening the scoring through winger Noone, who coolly slotted home from 12 yards after Westwood was adjudged to have brought down Watt.

Moments later, the Owls almost levelled things up when Liam Palmer scampered forward down the right and whipped in a dangerous delivery which struck Lucas Joao's knee and cannoned off the post.

As an attacking unit, Carvalhal's side continued to ask questions of Cardiff's backline and Ross Wallace cut in from the flank before unleashing a fierce effort which David Marshall gathered expertly.

Pilington claimed his second goal in as many matches to double the Bluebirds advantage in the 34th minute. After racing on to Joe Ralls' punt upfield, the Republic of Ireland international coolly rounded Westwood before tapping into an unguarded net.

Things could have got even worse for the Owls had Westwood not produced a fine stop to deny Watt before Kenwyne Jones' header was ruled out for off-side.

With their tails up, Cardiff pressed hard for a third before the interval and Pilkington should have done better with a free header following a lovely run and cross by Noone.

Carvalhal made a tactical substitution at the interval, throwing on Gary Hooper for Kieran Lee. The striker's introduction meant Bannan moved into the centre, with Forestieri utilised in the number 10 position just behind Hooper and Joao.

Playing three forwards left Wednesday vulnerable defensively and Watt had a penalty appeal turned down following a collision with Loovens.

Cardiff were in the ascendency and Jones' scuffed attempt forced Westwood into a stop following a promising break by Watt.

Forestieri seized on a wayward pass in the 52nd minute and waltzed forward before seeing his rasping 25-yard shot gathered at the second time of asking by Marshall.

Things were opening up and Gunnarsson ought to have tested Westwood after latching on to a lovely through ball but the Icelandic midfielder lifted his shot over.

The chances kept coming for both sides, with Glenn Loovens, given a standing ovation by his old club before kick-off, heading Ross Wallace's corner at Marshall before Noone jinked past two defenders and blasting a shot from distance narrowly over.

After Forestieri's great finish, Wednesday poured numbers forward and Wallace curled a free kick inches off target after Joao had been bundled over.

Cardiff were incensed when Ralls was penalised following a challenge with Lopez. It sparked a scuffle between the two sets of players. After referee Charles Breakspear had calmed down the situation, he dished out cautions to Ralls and Sean Morrison, who had squared up to Joao. Bannan sent the resulting free kick over.

But the Scottish midfielder was not to be denied in the 76th minute, rifling a low shot out of Marshall's reach. His strike went in off the post.

It set up a thrilling finale and Watt side-footed wide before Westwood pulled off an outstanding save to tip Noone's long range drive behind for a corner.

Wednesday played some lovely football in the second period and Bannan came close to snatching an unlikely winner, forcing Marshall in a good stop in the dying minutes.

Cardiff: Marshall; Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone; Noone, Ralls, Gunnarsson, Pilkington (Fabio 89); Jones (Ameobi 68), Watt. Substitutes: Moore, Manga, Whittingham, Macheda, O'Keefe.

Wednesday: Westwood; Palmer, Loovens, Turner, Pudil; Wallace, Lee (Hooper HT), Hutchinson (Lopez 20), Bannan; Forestieri, Joao (Nuhiu 90). Substitutes: Wildsmith, McGugan, Helan, Sougou.

Attendance: 14,526

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)