Date: 1st April 2008 at 11:14pm
Written by:

Wednesday missed the chance to pick up three vital points against relegation rivals Coventry City and in the end were fortunate to get a point as captain Richard Wood bagged a late, late leveller.

Owls boss Brian Laws made a bold move by putting winger Jermaine Johnson at right-back with Frank Simek, Richard Hinds and Lee Bullen all out through injury.

But it almost cost him, with the Jamaican being at fault for the Coventry goal in a lacklustre game of football which neither side really looked like winning when both would have given anything for three crucial points.

Laws made two changes to the side that drew with Stoke City at the weekend, Johnson filling in at right-back and Burton O’Brien coming back in to the starting line-up with Wade Small out.

The Sky Blues switched ends to start the match, leaving the Owls attacking the Kop end for the first half, and Wednesday made the brighter start forcing a number of early corners which saw skipper Wood head over Kasper Schmeichel’s bar.

Michael Mifsud must have been earmarked as a danger man by the Owls boss and it was he who created the first chance for the visitors with a shot which was comfortably saved by in-form Owls stopper Grant.

But Wednesday edged the first half and created the more clear-cut chances, mostly through the impressive Franck Songo’o, and it was the Portsmouth loanee who beat two markers before drilling the ball back for Graham Kavanagh to send just wide of the goal after Deon Burton had dummied.

Coventry’s response at the other end came as Mifsud and Robbie Simpson linked well for a second time to see the latter lash a powerful shot across the face of goal which Grant palmed away for a corner.

Youngster Sean McAllister had been impressive in recent matches since being drafted in by the Owls boss and the youngster was having arguably his best game in a Wednesday shirt, more than making up for the poor passing of his more experienced midfield colleague Kavanagh.

McAllister was a real engine in the centre of the Wednesday midfield but he had to go off just minutes before the break after a clash in the midfield, a blow for Wednesday, with Adam Bolder coming on to replace him.

Wednesday did have a late chance in the first half but Richard Wood sent another header over the bar from a Kavanagh set-piece – with the Owls’ set-pieces leaving little to be desired in the first-half.

Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Coventry

Both sides attacked for a breakthrough in an even and end-to-end opening 45 minutes but it couldn’t have been any different in a poor second half where both sides looked relatively happy with a point with the performance on the pitch.

Franck Songo’o had other ideas though, and the Portsmouth man was putting in another man-of-the-match performance and becoming the biggest, and probably only, threat for the Owls down the right wing with Johnson also offering his pace in support.

Songo’o produced another sublime bit of tricky to fool two Coventry defenders before neatly turning another, but his team-mates failed to be on the same wavelength as the move ended with nothing to show for his efforts.

And it was Songo’o who fired the first shot on goal of the second half with an angled drive which went comfortably over Schmeichel’s goal minutes later.

Chris Coleman’s men had a half-shout at a penalty at the other end after Tommy Spurr looked to have felled Richard Duffy in the box, but the referee waved play on to the bemusement of the Sky Blues’ boss. Mifsud again tested Grant at his near-post in response.

But makeshift right-back Johnson was to have two defining moments of the match in a matter of minutes.

First, he recovered well to produce a top-drawer goal-saving challenge after Coventry had played with the ball at the edge of the box.

But just minutes later he mis-kicked Robbie Simpson’s corner straight to City substitute Zavon Hines who made no mistake in lashing his first goal for the club in to the roof of Lee Grant’s goal to open the scoring.

Chances for the Owls had come few and far between, with the front two of Deon Burton and Ben Sahar struggling to make any kind of impact, which was made harder by the route one approach.

But to their credit, Wednesday continued to push forward in the four minutes of time added on and it was Wood who arrived in the nick of time to nick a point and head his effort by Schmeichel to the delight of the 21,000+ Owls’ faithful.

Despite the late leveller, Coventry will have been the happier team coming away with a point, although it does lift Wednesday out of the bottom three for the first time in a number of weeks and above Southampton and Barnsley.

If they continue to play like this, with a bit more creativity and some luck on the injury front, Wednesday will be enjoying Championship football again next season.

Full-Time: Wednesday 1-1 Coventry

Wednesday: Grant, Johnson, Wood, Beevers, Spurr, Songo’o, Kavanagh (Watson 76), McAllister (Bolder 44), O’Brien (Slusarski 83), Burton, Sahar. Unused substitutes: Burch, Gilbert.

Coventry: Schmeichel, Duffy, Fox, Dann, Ward, Tabb, Hughes, Doyle, Gray (Osbourne 90) Mifsud (Hines 75), Simpson. Unused substitutes: Marshall, Hall, Thornton.