PENALTY PAIN: Sheffield Wednesday play-off campaign ended in shootout with Huddersfield Town

Sheffield Wednesday v Huddersfield Town
Sheffield Wednesday v Huddersfield Town
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Sheffield Wednesday's play-off campaign ended in heartbreaking fashion as they were beaten on penalties by Huddersfield Town.

Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri saw spot kicks saved by Town keeper Danny Ward as Wednesday lost the shootout 4-3.

Wednesday had led on the night courtesy of a fine header from Steven Fletcher but Nahki Wells' scruffy equaliser set the game on course for penalties.

It was an incredibly tight contest between two evenly matched sides. Clear cut chances were few in number but the action was end to end in an enthralling contest.

Wednesday shook off the shackles they wore voluntarily in the first leg to produce some excellent attacking play, without forcing Danny Ward into too many saves.

And they had looked comfortable on their lead until Town's equaliser left them rattled and looking tired.

Both sides would enjoy strong periods in extra time as each found their second wind but the game would ultimately be decided from the penalty spot.

Carlos Carvalhal opted for one change from the first leg with Sam Hutchinson returning to the side in place of Adam Reach.

But it did not take long for Reach to enter the fray as he replaced Ross Wallace who suffered an injury inside the first five minutes.

The game was a far more open affair than the first leg which saw Huddersfield largely in control of possession.

Wednesday pressed with greater intensity and much higher up the pitch, giving the visitors little of the time on the ball they were afforded at the weekend.

But the Owls were also much more intelligent with the ball, playing neat, crisp passes to work their way up the pitch at a high tempo.

The first real attempt on goal came from Reach. Steven Fletcher headed back a cross into the box with Reach showing superb technique to chest, turn and volley in one fluid movement, only for Danny Ward to block on his line.

Izzy Brown missed a glorious chance to put Huddersfield ahead midway through the half. The former Rotherham loanee made a fine run to meet Nahki Wells' low ball into the box but somehow missed the target from ten yards.

Fletcher brought down a stunning long ball from Barry Bannan to put him into the box but he hesitated rather than shot before a wayward pass inside to Fernando Forestieri ended a promising attack.

Hutchinson was in an excellent position to meet a Tom Lees header across the box but hooked well over the bar as he tried to volley on target.

Huddersfield had a big shout for a penalty as half time neared. Wells appeared to get to a loose ball first before he collided with Keiren Westwood, but referee Andre Marriner was unmoved.

It was honours even and tight as you like at the break.

But Wednesday finally broke the deadlock in the tie with 51 minutes on the clock.

Bannan delivered a stunning ball from the left, Fletcher rose and looped a superb ball past Ward to light up Hillsborough.

Huddersfield pushed hard for the equaliser immediately after falling behind but wayward shooting hurt them.

First, Wells got the better of Lees but sliced his shot well wide.

And Elias Kachunga also failed to hit the target after being played into a promising position on the right corner of the box.

The game opened up immensely as it entered the final half hour. Wednesday counterattacked rapidly thanks to some incisive passing.

But Huddersfield drew level on 73 minutes.

Substitute Colin Quaner was released on the right edge of the box and clipped a low ball inside. Wells and Lees both went in for it and the ball spun over the line.

Huddersfield were rejuvenated while Wednesday were rattled. The visitors

Westwood produced a fine save to keep the scores level as full time approached. Quaner again found space and cut a pass back to Wells who shot first time, only for Westwood to parry at his near post.

There was another nervy moment in the final minute as Wells was played into the box but Westwood rushed out to close the forward down and Glenn Loovens hacked clear.

The remainder of the 90 minutes concluded without further goals, sending the game into extra time.

Brown fired from 40 yards to test Westwood's alertness but the Owls keeper claimed the shot comfortably.

Wednesday enjoyed a purple patch as the end of the first added period approached. Substitute Jordan Rhodes met a knockdown from Reach and hooked a shot which deflected onto the roof of the net.

And Rhodes was involved again moments later, spinning onto a pass in the box and firing low which produced a fine save from Ward.

With seconds of the period to go, Rhodes flicked on a header with Forestieri claiming the ball, turning and shooting only for a crowd of Huddersfield bodies to block.

Wells fired into the side netting in the early stages of the second period as Huddersfield came on strong.

Wednesday rode out the pressure well and Rhodes powered a header wide of the near post after an excellent cross from Hutchinson.

But it petered out to penalties.

Hutchinson missed the Owls' first penalty and Huddersfield showed a clinical touch from the spot until Westwood kept out Jack Payne's attempt to give Wednesday hope.

It meant Forestieri had to score the fifth penalty but Ward produced another save to send his side into the final.

Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil (Nuhiu 108), Wallace (Reach 5), Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan, Fletcher (Rhodes 61), Forestieri. Subs not used: Wildsmith, Sasso, Jones, Winnall.
Huddersfield: Ward, Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Lowe, Hogg, Mooy, Kachunga (Quaner 72), Brown (Payne 97), Van La Parra (Holmes-Dennis 105), Wells. Subs not used: Coleman, Whitehead, Hudson, Cranie.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Attendance: 32,625