As the Owls underlined in securing a point at Reading, the class of 2016 is made of stern stuff.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men were forced to soak up lots of second half Royals pressure, having deservedly gone ahead through Gary Hooper’s seventh goal in as many matches. It was a serious test of their promotion credentials.
Lesser sides would have crumbled.
But Wednesday showed grit and determination to grind out a result and stretch their unbeaten run in the calendar year to five.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is the sort of fixture would have lost in previous seasons.
Captain Glenn Loovens, who conceded a first half penalty after upending Reading dangerman Matej Vydra, told The Star: “Sometimes you have to be honest and say Reading had 60 to 65 minutes of the game.
“I thought we started well, played some good football, scored and then we dropped back. We gave them the chance to get into the game. They didn’t create so many chances but they got the initiative.
“In the second half, it was tough. We had a good chance to make it two nil through Fernando [Forestieri] but we basically defended for over an hour of the game.”
The Owls showed loads of attacking intent early on, with Barry Bannan’s left foot piledriver hitting the post before Hooper’s well-taken opener. They looked in control and it was hard to see Reading troubling them.
However, Wednesday failed to build on their advantage and encouraged the Royals to throw lots of players forward by sitting deep and allowing them to dominate possession.
Defensively the Owls kept their shape and discipline well for the vast majority of the contest.
But Carvalhal’s side were undone, again, by a set play and could have left Berkshire empty-handed had Yann Kermorgant headed in late on.
“I don’t know why we backed off after we scored,” admitted Loovens. “Football is sometimes a strange game and it is difficult to put your finger on why these things happen.
“Reading are a good side so you have got to give them credit. Sometimes you just have to take a point away from home and move on. At least we didn’t get beat.”
Consistency is the big thing for Carvalhal.
“In this kind of competition, it is very important you win points week by week,” said the Portuguese head coach. “We will see in the future if we won a point or lost two at Reading.”
Carvalhal has turned Wednesday into a difficult side to beat. Following a sluggish start, the Owls have only lost three of their last 22 league fixtures, racking up 41 points out of a possible 66.
Carvalhal has spoken of his pride at the progress the team have made under his tutelage.
He said: “We are in a very good way. We have lost few games and are still winning points which is important for our confidence.”