One win in nine at home for Owls

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

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.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

OPENER: Caolan Lav­ery scores Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s side’s first goal

LEVEL: Jo­hann Gud­munds­son hits the equaliser for Charl­ton

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