Date: 26th November 2006 at 5:05pm
Written by:

Brian Laws’ first game in charge of Wednesday in front of the Hillsborough faithful ended with a hard earned point against league leaders Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls gaffer made two changes to the team that fell to defeat at Coventry last weekend with new loan signing Wayne Andrews and Burton O’Brien coming in for the suspended Wade Small and Chris Brunt respectively.

Laws was desperate to upset the form book and take something from his first match in charge at Hillsborough, and it was the Owls who made the early running.

Wayne Andrews looked keen to impress his new boss in his first outing in the famous blue and white stripes and was causing former Sheffield United left-back Alan Wright problems before earning the Owls a dangerous free-kick at the edge of the Cardiff box.

And the in-form Kenny Lunt almost opened the scoring as a result only to see his well-struck free-kick go straight in to the arms of Neil Alexander in the Bluebirds goal before Wayne Andrews and Yoann Folly both had efforts on goal.

But the Owls’ impressive start was halted just after the half-hour mark as Deon Burton went off with concussion to be replaced by Steve Maclean in the Wednesday attack.

The first half saw referee Phil Dowd brandish five yellow cards with John Hills and Kenny Lunt cautioned for the Owls while Alan Wright, Kevin McNaughton and Stephen McPhail saw yellow for Dave Jones’ men.

Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Cardiff

After the break the league leaders upped a gear and took the game to Wednesday as they looked to get their stuttering form of late firmly back on track and put to bed last week’s disappointing home defeat to QPR.

Despite not having any cleat-cut chances, former Newcastle United and Barnsley man Michael Chopra was looking lively in the Cardiff attack while former Owls target Kevin McNaughton got forward at every opportunity to cause the Owls defence problems.

But the first chance of the second half fell to Wednesday as Frank Simek raced down the right-hand side to provide a fast-paced cross which just eluded Burton O’Brien and Yoann Folly in the City box.

The Ninian Park club had their first real opportunity of the match through Michael Chopra – but it was all down to a comedy of errors in the Wednesday defence.

Madjid Bougherra’s over hit back pass saw the on-loan Mark Crossley mis-control to give Chopra a golden opportunity to open the scoring. But he wasted his chance and the impressive Lee Bullen raced back to block Chopra’s effort and clear the danger.

At the other end birthday-boy Wayne Andrews had the owls’ best chance of the game as he raced forward in a swift Owls counter-attack only to see his low effort comfortably saved by Alexander.

Mark Crossley was called in to action again for the Owls minutes later as the game heated up when he forced in to a point-blank save from Joe Ledley after a dangerous cross from Chopra before Kenny Lunt made a goal-line clearance from a Paul Parry effort.

And Wednesday managed to hold to pick up a well deserved point against the league leaders and get Brian Laws’ Hillsborough reign off to a sound start.

Wednesday: Crossley, Bullen, Bougherra (Coughlan 78), Simek, Hills, Lunt, Folly, Andrews (Whelan 73), O’Brien, Tudgay, Burton (MacLean 36). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Spurr.

Cardiff: Alexander, Wright, McNaughton, Purse, Johnson, McPhail, Scimeca, Parry (Kamara 81), Ledley, Thompson (Campbell 87), Chopra. Subs Not Used: Howard, Glombard, Gunter.
Brian Laws told BBC Sport:
‘We’ve got a new lease of life and a never-say-die attitude. The team ethic has been fantastic.

‘It wasn’t fluent but the old Sheffield Wednesday would have crumbled against the league leaders and lost.

‘We restricted them to half-chances and maybe with a bit of luck we might have got a goal ourselves.’

Dave Jones told BBC Sport:
‘Because we’ve been scoring freely the expectancy level is that we should do that every week.

‘In the second half we took it to them, they cleared two off the line and their keeper pulled off two great saves.

‘I don’t think the referee allowed the game to flow, he was too whistle happy, it wasn’t a dirty game, just two teams giving it a go.’