Sheffield Wednesday 0 Leeds United 0: Owls impress but it finishes honours even in Yorkshire derby
Sheffield Wednesday gave a good account of themselves but had to settle for a point against fellow high-flyers Leeds United.
Victory would have seen Garry Monk’s men leapfrog their Yorkshire rivals into second spot and the Owls caused Marcelo Bielsa’s side several problems.
But they could not find a way past inspired Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and also needed some last-ditch defending of their own to keep out the visitors.
Steven Fletcher went closest to finding the net for Wednesday but was denied by Casilla and the woodwork, while returnee Keiren Westwood pulled off a stunning save to keep out Patrick Bamford’s first half header and Morgan Fox made a vital block on the line to deny Jack Harrison late on.
Garry Monk went 4-4-2 with Fletcher partnered in attack by Atdhe Nuhiu. Westwood was preferred in goal to Cameron Dawson, while Massimo Luongo missed out through injury.
The Owls started the game in positive fashion and had Leeds on the back foot early on.
Adam Reach latched onto Fletcher’s flick on halfway and, after making good progress into the box, saw his attempt blocked by the backtracking Ben White.
Following good wing play from Kadeem Harris down the left, Liam Palmer then saw his powerful hit from just outside the box well saved by Casilla.
Leeds began to get more of a foothold midway through the first period and thought they had a case for a penalty when White went down in the box under the challenge of Nuhiu but nothing was given.
The visitors looked a threat on the break but the closest they went was when Ezgjan Alioski drilled a 20-yard effort just over the bar.
Both sides cancelled each other out for a lengthy spell before two stunning saves at each end kept the game goalless at the break.
Firstly Casilla made an excellent stop to tip over Fletcher’s rasping shot from distance before Westwood was at full stretch to brilliantly keep out Bamford’s header from Harrison’s cross.
Marcelo Bielsa replaced Bamford with Eddie Nketiah at half time and his side were first to go close following the re-start when Kalvin Phillips curled an effort just wide.
Wednesday had again started the half brightly and, on 53 minutes, went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Fox made good ground down the left and fed Fletcher whose first-time effort smacked against the bar and rebounded off Casilla’s back out for a corner.
Fletcher was again in the thick of it midway through the second period but this time the Scot could not connect properly with Barry Bannan’s teasing cross at the back post.
The game continued to hang in the balance entering the final quarter. Leeds had not tested Westwood but with ten minutes remaining they twice went close within a matter of seconds whenFox had to clear Harrison’s shot off the line and then Alioski saw his header come back off the post.
Casilla continued to deny the Owls when he kept out Nuhiu’s close range header from a late corner and the game ended goalless.
Wednesday: Westwood; Fox, Hutchinson, Iorfa, Palmer; Harris, Pelupessy (Lee 84), Bannan, Reach; Fletcher, Nuhiu (Forestieri 86). Subs not used: Dawson, Winnall, Odubajo, Murphy, Thorniley.
Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, White, Berardi, Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Harrison, Costa (Cooper 76), Dallas, Bamford (Nketiah 46). Subs not used: Miazek, Roberts, Gotts, Davis, Clarke.
Referee: Tim Robinson