Caretaker boss Sean McAuley made it four points from six on Saturday as the Owls picked up a deserved point at high-flying Wolves in a thrilling game at Molineux.
Goals from Wade Small and Chris Brunt saw Wednesday come from a goal behind to take the lead against Mick McCarthy’s men – and it looked like McAuley would guide the Owls to two successive victories, only for a Leon Clarke strike 15 minutes from time see the hosts take a share of the spoils.
McAuley stuck with the same side that swept aside Queens Park Rangers last week with striker Deon Burton shaking off a knock picked up last weekend to continue alongside Marcus Tudgay – a partnership that ripped Wolves to shreds in last season’s 3-1 victory at Molinuex.
The hosts made the faster start as they looked to make amends from last week’s 3-0 defeat away at rivals West Brom and Jay Bothroyd saw an early header go over the bar just seconds after the kick-off.
But Wednesday soon got into their stride and Wolves’ stopper Matt Murray did well to turn Marcus Tudgay’s long range effort wide before strike partner Deon Burton also saw an effort of his own easily saved by Murray from close range.
But it was Wolves who opened the scoring on the half hour mark through Leon Clarke – who was making only his fourth league start for McCarthy’s men this campaign. Jamie Clapham floated a perfect cross in for Clarke to beat Jones with a bullet header.
But Wednesday heads didn’t drop and just six minutes later the scores were level once again as former MK Dons winger Wade Small netted his first for the club after a mazy run through the heart of the Wolves defence to sweep his shot by Murray to send the travelling Wednesday faithful barmy.
All credit to Small – the tricky winger could well have tumbled for a penalty after a crunching late challenge inside the box – but he carried on and was rewarded with a neat finish to make it 1-1.
But there was still work to do for the stubborn Owls defence as Seyi Olofinjana came close for the hosts with a header but Yoann Folly did well to put the tall midfielder off. And former Newcastle hitman Carl Cort also saw an effort go wide of goal.
Half Time: Wolves 1-1Wednesday
Both sides will have been desperate to pick up victory to boost their respective league positions and it was McAuley’s rejuvinated Wednesday team that came out all guns blazing in the second half as they looked to complete their comeback with a winner.
And it was just six minutes in to the second half when Wednesday took the lead after Small was denied a second of the afternoon by a fine Murray save. Marcus Tudgay couldn’t get to the rebound but Chris Brunt arrived in time to smash an unstoppable left-foot effort into the roof of the goal and turn the game on its head.
Wolves were failing to cope with the sharpness of the Owls team all over the pitch and it was the aerial aspect of their game that was troubling McAuley’s men the most with Jody Craddock and Leon Cort posing the biggest threat from set pieces.
Craddock and Leon Clarke both saw headers fail to toruble Brad Jones but the on-loan Middlesbrough stopper was forced to make an important save from a low Rohan Ricketts shot with 20 minutes to go.
And it was youngster Ricketts who created the equaliser for the hosts as John Hills failed to clear his cross and Clarke hammered home to double his tally for the afternoon and bring the scores level with 15 minutes remaining.
The goal lifted the hosts and for the remainder of the match it looked like it was the Molineux club who were the more likely to go on and win the match. Lewis Goburn was looking threatening down the Wolves right and Leon Clarke was denied his hat-trick by Jones.
One sour point for the Owls on a positive afternoon at Molinuex was the sight of young defender Tommy Spurr being stretchered off the field unconcious. But Wednesday managed to hold on to pick up a valuable point and continue McAuley’s unbeaten stint as caretaker boss.
Wolves: Murray; Edwards, Breen, Craddock (Little 66), Clapham; Potter (Gobern 57), Olofinjana, Henry, Ricketts; Clarke, Bothroyd (Cort 11). Subs: Ikeme, Davies.
Wednesday: Jones; Simek, Bougherra, Spurr, Hills; Small (Whelan 60), Folly, Lunt, Brunt; Tudgay (Talbot 81), Burton (MacLean 81). Subs: Adamson, Bullen.
Sean McAuley told the official SWFC site:
‘We definitely deserved a point. When we were 2-1 up you’d possibly say it was two points dropped, but the way they battled at the end with ten men pleased me. I’m more interested in the performance. I thought they performed really well.
‘We’re training on Sunday and we’ll prepare for Tuesday’s game. I think I’ll be taking it but if somebody comes in I’ll help in any way I can.’
Mick McCarthy told the official WWFC site:
‘The first goal we conceded was disappointing because we were in possession and the ball was nicked off us. With Jody Craddock off the field for treatment we were at sixes and sevens for the second.
‘It wasn’t our best performance, so I’ll take a point.’