TOOTHLESS OWLS TROUBLING GRAY
SHEFFIELD Wednesday gave plenty of indication as to why they have the unwanted status of the league’s worst attacking outfit, and boss Stuart Gray wants an instant improvement.
Substitute Atdhe Nuhiu summed up their efforts with a terrible miss in the last minute of a game in which Wednesday dominated the chances against relegation-threatened Albion.
This result marks Wednesday’s eighth goalless draw of the season, their ninth home outing without scoring, and leaves them with just two goals from open play in 24 hours of league football.
But they remain 11th in the Championship table thanks to a defence that is second-best only to promotion contenders Middlesbrough.
That gives Gray hope that his side can halt a winless run of six games by finding their shooting boots. He said:“In the second half I thought we dominated the game on a difficult pitch.
“On a normal pitch Nuhiu would just stroke that chance in, because he’s created his chance excellently well.
“It is like Groundhog Day. We had it against Cardiff where we dominated the possession and the chances.
“But credit to the boys. On Tuesday night we were very poor against Ipswich, so I can’t fault the effort. We just need to find that final piece of the jigsaw.
“We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. If we weren’t creating chances I’d be a little bit concerned, but one thing we do know is it’s going to take somebody to stick away the chances we’ve created.
“At the moment we are creating clear-cut chances but we’re not converting them.”
The first half featured just two chances of note: two headers from Kieran Lee crosses, both well-saved by Brighton keeper David Stockdale, from Wednesday’s starting strike partnership of Sergiu Bus and Will Keane.
The second half was inevitably an improvement, with Wednesday looking increasingly threatening as the game wore on before a weary Hillsborough faithful. Bus went close again five minutes in, but his flick from Jacques Maghoma’s low cross went wide.
Lee continued to look the most likely to make something happen, and he had two decent scoring chances in quick succession 20 minutes from time.
Inigo Calderon got back superbly to make the block to keep out the first one, and winger Lee forced another Stockdale save with a shot on the turn moments later.
The Seagulls’ best chance came five minutes later when Joao Teixeira pulled back a cross for Bruno Saltor, but the midfielder overshot his run and could only turn it over the bar with his trailing leg.
Nuhiu should have wrapped up the points in the 90th minute after taking down Jeremy Helan’s excellent ball in the box, but having triumphed in the difficult task of shrugging off his marker, the Austrian shinned it well over the bar.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton said:“We’ve had two tough away games this week at Cardiff and here, so we always knew it’d be difficult.
“It’s a difficult pitch to play how you would like, and it was always going to be a close encounter. “But that’s two clean sheets on the road in the last two games, and as the away team you have to be pleased with that.
“Our keeper has pulled out a couple of good saves and the two centre halves were very good.
“But we need to start winning points at home, and that’s been difficult for us.
“With most teams it’s the cornerstone of how your season is. You try and get points away from home if you can, but you’ve got to accumulate points at home.”
WILLING IT IN: Sheffield Wednesday’s Will Keane sees his header saved by Brighton’s David Stockdale
HANDS OFF: Wednesday’s Liam Palmer, right, tussles