HOMESICK OWLS NOT GUD ENOUGH
One win in nine at home for Owls
STUART GRAY commendably defended leading scorer Atdhe Nuhiu after a glaring late miss summed up Wednesday’s frustrating season in front of their suffering home fans.
Nuhiu was instantly subjected to howls of derision after bouncing a point-blank header wide of goal from Stevie May’s perfect far-post cross ten minutes from time.
“Atdhe has apologised to his team-mates afterwards – he thinks he has cost us two points,” said Gray. “He will relive that moment 100 times. He has really got to put that away.
“It’s a tight-knit dressing room and nobody means to miss chances. We haven’t scored enough goals all season. We’ve gone 1-0 up and needed to get a second but credit Charlton for sticking at it.
“Caolan Lavery has got goals in him. His all-round performance was excellent and his movement for the goal was good.”
Owls combined the sublime with the ridiculous in front of goal after the excellent Lavery provided them with an interval lead.
Goalkeeper Stephen Henderson saved twice from Lloyd Isgrove before he saw his woodwork rattled twice within 30 seconds after Charlton had equalised.
Lavery’s first effort was stunning and brilliant – a 25-yarder that smashed against a combination of post and bar with Henderson a mere spectator; Isgrove’s overhead wasn’t far behind as his effort from six yards came back into play off the bar.
But Nuhiu’s miss will haunt goal-starved Owls fans. May’s right-wing cross, stood up to the far post, was spot on. But the fellow substitute was left hanging his head after failing to take advantage from very close range.
Charlton fans will argue their first-half efforts deserved some reward – and would have done so but for a dubious offside flag. Chris Eagles finished the move off well after referee Darren Bond had wrongly nailed his colours to the mast.
In addition, Keiren Westwood made two outstanding saves with the score still blank. Deflecting a Simon Church shot wide in the 37th minute was good enough but his next intervention a minute later left Morgan Fox visibly stunned.The unmarked defender got plenty behind his six-yard shot only for Westwood to instantly dive to his left and save brilliantly.
Wednesday, who had seen Lewis McGugan denied by Henderson, broke through in the 42nd minute. Lewis Buxton threaded in a low cross and Lavery netted simply from inside the six yard box.
The equaliser came ironically after yet another good save from Westwood to deny Eagles. Wednesday could not clear the danger and Johann Berg Gudmundsson kept his cool to steer in the rebound.
The near misses that followed mean that Owls have only scraped 15 goals in the Championship at Hillsborough all season – a problem Gray will have to correct in the summer if they are to push on.
For the second Saturday in succession, they were on top and the number of chances created will encourage Gray that better times are around the corner.
Charlton manager Guy Luzon said: “In the first half we have had three or four great chances and Eagles had been ruled offside when he was onside. That would have changed the game completely as the fans may have lost patience.
“Over the last couple of months we have shown a lot of character in coming back in games. Sheffield have raised the tempo and played better in the second half when they had three or four great chances themselves. It was a fair result overall.”
OPENER: Caolan Lavery scores Sheffield Wednesday’s side’s first goal
LEVEL: Johann Gudmundsson hits the equaliser for Charlton