Sheffield Wednesday v Plymouth Argyle: A sleepy outing and scary bunnies as Owls draw blank to book faraway FA Cup replay

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‘The magic of the FA Cup’, is the phrase so joyously rammed down our throat every time this weekend comes around.

Well on the evidence of Sheffield Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Plymouth Argyle on Sunday, the magic has dwindled. The stage has lost its sparkle, the magician is pulling the heads off the bunnies and all the kids are crying.

OK, it wasn’t nearly that bad. But in drawing blanks, both sides got exactly what they didn’t want; a cold first round replay in Devon. Wednesday, in particular, will be bemoaning their inability to nick a tight, scrappy affair. You fancy they may have even preferred to lose it. Maybe.

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Everything about the match in its majority was sleepy. The kick-off time, inexplicably changed to a Sunday midday in spite of the 500 hardy Plymouth souls who made the trip, was hardly conducive to a raucous atmosphere. And as those on the terraces stretched and yawned, so too did the match in front of them.

Sheffield Wednesday's Callum Paterson battles for the ball in their FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle.Sheffield Wednesday's Callum Paterson battles for the ball in their FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle.
Sheffield Wednesday's Callum Paterson battles for the ball in their FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle.

There were moments and in fairness, the first 20 minutes or so were the most open. Early Pilgrims half-chances fell to Panutche Camara but Wednesday survived.

An excellent swinging cross from Liam Palmer found Saido Berahino, but his misdirected header was in vain as the linesman flagged for offside. Both sides traded blows, occasionally holding the door open for one another by way of gentle defending.

The Owls showed good composure on the ball and controlled the tempo, the away side dropping deep to set up on the counter.

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Ryan Lowe’s visitors looked a good footballing side and in moments, with a squint and a craned neck, it’s not too tricky to see why they’re top of League One. But it was all in stages.

For all Wednesday’s possession, approaching half-time it was Plymouth who looked the more likely to break the deadlock. They didn’t.

Florian Kamberi ran up and down and up and down, bounced defenders around and delivered another performance worthy of Wednesday applause, of which he got plenty. Dennis Adeniran produced some nice touches in the middle and Callum Paterson was a nuisance as only Callum Paterson can be.

An on-the-hour triple substitution brought saw all three replaced as Darren Moore attempted to inject some life into proceedings. It worked and so followed the Owls’ most potent period of the match; Saido Berahino, Lee Gregory and Liam Palmer of all people going close.

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A smart save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell to deny Jordan Garrick was a highlight moment as Wednesday pushed on. A late penalty shout didn’t go Wednesday’s way. It probably should have done. Lewis Wing fired over.

Moore’s first job this season was to make his side more resolute and he seems to have done that; Plymouth are a good side kept well at bay and the Owls recorded their second clean sheet on the spin.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was another little building block. Confirmation of that cold trip to Devon awaits.

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Johnson, Dunkley, Palmer; Corbeanu (Shodipo, 75’), Bannan, Adeniran (Dele-Bashiru, 59’), Wing, Paterson (Hunt, 59’); Berahino (Sow, 85’), Kamberi (Gregory, 59’)

Subs unused: Wildsmith, Brown, Byers, Luongo

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Plymouth Argyle: Cooper; Wilson, Scarr, Galloway; Houghton; Edwards (Agard, 85’), Camara, Mayor (Broom, 63’), Grant; Jephcott, Hardie (Garrick, 45’)

Subs unused: Burton, Gillesphey, Randell, Law, Shirley, Jenkins-Davies