OWLS TRIB­UTE IS SIX-GOAL SHOW

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Liz Byrnes To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

SH­EFFIELD Wed­nes­day boss Stu­art Gray says this six-goal draw show­cased all that is good about foot­ball on the day that marked the 25th an­niver­sary of the Hills­bor­ough dis­as­ter.

An equaliser by At­dhe Nuhiu in the fifth minute of in­jury time earned Wed­nes­day a draw af­ter they had been 3-1 down and dealt a blow to Rovers’ play-off as­pi­ra­tions.

The minute’s si­lence be­fore the game was im­pec­ca­bly ob­served, the sig­nif­i­cance height­ened by the fact that just yards away 96 people died on April 15, 1989.

Sh­effield Wed­nes­day had in­stalled 96 white seats at the front of the Lep­pings Lane End where the dis­as­ter un­folded.

A red rose was placed on ev­ery seat, each in­di­vid­u­ally in­scribed with the names of those who lost their lives.

Fol­low­ing the minute’s si­lence Gray and his Rovers coun­ter­part Gary Bowyer, who was at Hills­bor­ough as a Not­ting­ham For­est fan that day, placed wreaths.

Rovers went ahead through Jordan Rhodes’ 24th goal of the sea­son af­ter some woe­ful Wed­nes­day de­fend­ing be­fore Lewis Bux­ton equalised on the half hour.

Craig Con­way and Michael Keane gave Rovers a 3-1 half-time lead be­fore Nuhiu struck twice to clinch a point – and even had time to nar­rowly miss claim­ing all three at the end.

“I think both clubs played their re­spects,” said Gray.

“At the end of the day no fa­ther, no mother, no son, no daugh­ter should lose any­body at a foot­ball game so I think it was well and truly re­spected by the fans.

“It was a sad, sad oc­ca­sion when you think what hap­pened 25 years ago but I think the play­ers played their part, the fans played their part and both clubs played their part.”

Rovers took the lead fol­low­ing some woe­ful home de­fend­ing af­ter quar­ter of an hour.

Miguel Llera swiped at it and an un­marked Rhodes pounced in front of goal to sim­ply slot the ball home.

Nuhiu then shot straight at Paul Robin­son who also tipped over Michail An­to­nio’s header.

From the re­sult­ing cor­ner, Bux­ton poked home.

How­ever, there was par­ity for just six min­utes as Rovers re-took the lead, the home de­fence fail­ing to close down Con­way and the mid­fielder sent a low shot into the bot­tom left-hand cor­ner from 25 yards.

It was too easy min­utes later as Rovers got a third, Ja­son Lowe whip­ping in a ball from the right which found Keane in front of goal and he headed past Chris Kirk­land.

The Owls gave them­selves hope though with 18 min­utes re­main­ing when Robin­son could only palm out An­to­nio’s low cross from the by­line with Nuhiu pounc­ing.

An­other Wed­nes­day at­tack saw the ball bob­bling around in the area and with Rovers un­able to clear Nuhiu pounced to slam the ball high into the net.

Robin­son then re­pelled him with sec­onds to go with Caolan Lav­ery fir­ing over.

Rovers boss Bowyer could not hide his dis­ap­point­ment: “You’re never safe – we have just proved that,” he said.

“If you look at the game as a whole we had enough chances to win it and put it to bed.

“We can’t keep go­ing away from home, scor­ing three goals and then go­ing away with a point.

“At both ends of the pitch we have not done it prop­erly.”

Of his side’s play-off chances, he added: “I am still think­ing about this game re­ally but with four games to go we have just got to try and win all four and that is all we can con­trol.

“We can only go about do­ing the things we can do.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LATE DRAMA: At­dhe Nuhiu, third left, scores the equaliser for Wed­nes­day in in­jury time

DE­LIGHT: At­dhe Nuhiu af­ter scor­ing the third Owls goal

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