Hud­der­s­field frus­trated in play-off stale­mate

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Hud­der­s­field were un­able to turn their dom­i­nance into a priceless goal as gritty Sh­effield Wed­nes­day held on for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Cham­pi­onship play­off semi-fi­nals yes­ter­day.

David Wag­ner’s side con­trolled pos­ses­sion for long pe­ri­ods at the John Smith’s Sta­dium, but couldn’t find a way past Wed­nes­day goal­keeper Keiren West­wood.

Hud­der­s­field, who fin­ished one place be­low Wed­nes­day in the sec­ond tier ta­ble, saw Izzy Brown hit the cross­bar in the first half, while Nahki Wells twice tested West­wood.

Cau­tious Wed­nes­day failed to muster a shot on tar­get, but the stale­mate means they re­turn to Hills­bor­ough for the sec­ond leg next week as favourites to reach the Wem­b­ley fi­nal for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive year.

Mean­while, free-scoring Ful­ham were kept quiet by the 10 men of Read­ing on Satur­day.

No one scored more than Ful­ham in English foot­ball’s sec­ond tier this sea­son and they thumped Read­ing 5-0 at Craven Cot­tage be­fore Christ­mas.

Yet Slav­isa Jokanovic’s side were un­able to in­flict any fur­ther mis­ery on Jaap Stam’s Read­ing, who saw Paul McShane shown a straight red.

They will have to make do with­out their club cap­tain for the sec­ond leg at the Made­jski Sta­dium to­mor­row after McShane stuck his studs into the knee of Kevin McDon­ald.

“We trust all our play­ers,” Stam said. “McShane is an im­por­tant piece of the puz­zle but other play­ers can do that job as well and we are still con­fi­dent.

“I've seen plenty to­day to say we can still do it. I’m not talk­ing about ad­van­tage Read­ing. We know what we can do.”

Read­ing, who fin­ished third in the reg­u­lar Cham­pi­onship sea­son, took a sur­prise lead through Jor­dan Obita in the sec­ond half but Tom Cair­ney can­celled that out.

Ful­ham, though, left feel­ing frus­trated.

“We can­not be com­plete sat­is­fied,’ Jokanovic said. ‘We didn't win the game. I be­lieve we de­served to score more and win the game but ev­ery­thing is now open for the game on Tues­day.”

The lo­cals here hope the likes of Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur will be the vis­i­tors to Craven Cot­tage next term. Agen­cies

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