OWLS MATCH REPORT: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bolton 2

Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton......GOAL...Owls Ross Barkley gets Wednesday back into the game equalising from the penalty spot
Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton......GOAL...Owls Ross Barkley gets Wednesday back into the game equalising from the penalty spot
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On Saturday there was a bit of anxiety and a lot of frustration in the air as the losing run stretched to four games and the Owls were beaten by the better side.

It was another harsh lesson about life in the Championship.

Not only could the Owls have defended better at key moments, they also lacked inventiveness and penetration going forward.

And yet they also made enough of the sort of chances that, if converted, could just be the spark that gets them going again.

Another defeat also leaves Dave Jones with decisions to make. After making six changes does he try some more or attempt as much as possible to give players another chance?

Wednesday certainly failed yet again in their defending, on both of Bolton’s goals.

The first came from a free header, with Nejc Pecnik closest to scorer Marcos Alonso. Bolton made other first-half opportunities and deserved their lead.

Analysing the build-up to the second goal, Jones felt that Wednesday unnecessarily gave the ball away by opting for a long throw.

When Bolton countered down the left, Martin Taylor’s best option would have been to put the ball out of play but he hooked it into the middle.

That led to Mark Davies running at Wednesday on the edge of the box, nipping in between Daniel Jones and Jose Semedo and inside Anthony Gardner to score.

After a terrific run, it was also first-class finishing, something that Wednesday could never quite manage.

They went close to taking the lead in the first half, however, when Rhys McCabe’s free-kick clipped a post.

McCabe was playing reasonably well and it was a blow when his thigh injury kept him off at half-time. Jay Bothroyd was feeling his knee. Further problems after Reda Johnson was ruled out in the morning by his foot injury.

Wednesday hustled and bustled in the second half and when Ross Barkley - who showed glimpses of his great potential - stepped forward to put away his penalty after Gardner was fouled following a Pecnik corner, hope blossomed.

But Bolton’s second goal just two minutes later created a gap that the Owls were never able to close, hard though they worked

If only Michail Antonio - the Owls’ biggest threat in the first half - had scored with a free header that he glanced across goal from a Pecnik corner in the 70th minute.

If only Pecnik had hit the target with a later volley after the ball broke to him from an Antonio throw.

If only a penalty had been given when Pecnik’s header from a Kieran Lee cross struck full-back Tyron Mears’s hand. It was accidental - but so was the contact when a cross hit McCabe on the hand in the Huddersfield game and the officials awarded a match-clinching penalty.

All in all, no wonder Wednesday players

feel that nothing is

going their way at the moment and things just have to turn.

“But they have to stay strong, keeping going, keep working, not feel sorry for themselves - and I think they’re doing that,” says Jones.

In wide midfielder Mark Davies and left-winger Chris Eagles, Bolton had the sort of players who show the club’s Premier League background.

Lee, whose previous competitive game was in League One with Oldham, did pretty well, all things considered. Jones agreed: “He grew into the game.

“The two kids in midfield [Barkley and McCabe] were superb, I thought. I didn’t want to take both Rhys and Jay Bothroyd off at half-time. Jay

twisted his knee in the first half; we looked to see how far he could get in the second half before we brought him off.

“Anthony Gardner got stronger as the game went on.

“He’d been out for weeks and all of sudden we’re throwing him back in.”

Bothroyd was booed by a section of the crowd when he came off, which seemed harsh. They will not have realised he had been carrying an injury, and I thought he had received too little support, as the attacking spearhead.

By then Rodri had already departed and had found it hard

going on his return to the side.

Jones has pointed out repeatedly that new players need patience and time to settle in - and even new skipper Taylor will come into category, for he seemed ill at ease on Saturday. But his background suggests that he will be a good signing.

Jones’ policy is not to overdo criticism of anybody because it undermines confidence - and I am sure that he hopes fans are listening. “It’s no good having a go at players and getting on their backs,” he said after the game.

“It’s very difficult times. Everybody has to stick together. We have come up a division. I think everybody got carried away a vbot because of the first couple of results.

“A lot of players have come in, which was needed.

“It’s a case of everybody not losing that patience and not having a go at players, or they will lose their confidence, and that’s one think you don’t want to lose.

“If people thought we were going to take this division by storm, they were kidding themselves.

“People tell me about Southampton and Norwich. But they have built over a very long time, not over a season.

“Everybody, within the club as well, has to take a little reality check, because it’s a hard division.”