Pilkington class cuts through Owls again

Last updated : 03 January 2011 By C. Morris

Sheffield Wednesday huffed and puffed on their return to action after a 16 day break but couldn’t find a way past Huddersfield keeper Alex Smithies and were beaten by a fine first-half strike from Anthony Pilkington as Town went above the Owls in the League One table.

Wednesday welcomed right-back Jon Otsemobor back into their starting line-up but the defender had a difficult time against the likes of Pilkington and Roberts before having to be substituted in the 2nd half due to injury.

Huddersfield looked to catch the Owls cold early on and Weaver had to make a smart save at the feet of Rhodes in the first minute but the visitors then began to get a foothold in the game and almost went ahead when Beevers headed a Teale corner against the post with the keeper beaten.

Weaver was again called into action to deny Pilkington with an excellent low save after the winger had breezed past Otsemobor to create an opening for an angled shot. Back came Wednesday, Johnson dragged a shot wide after a good run and an exchange of passes with Morrison before Teale fired a powerful free-kick down the throat of Smithies.

The first-half was an open affair with both sides looking lively but the decisive moment came on 27 minutes. Having switched wings Pilkington cut inside from the right as both Spurr and Teale followed the runner and the space this created gave the wide man the opportunity to shoot which he did from the angle of the penalty area, beating Weaver to score into the opposite top corner.

The Owls continued to press after falling behind with Smithies tipping Miller’s free-kick over the bar and he then rushed out of the goal to deny Mellor an opportunity. Kilbane was booked for a lunge on Purse that was clumsy rather than malicious which may have saved him from a straight red as the challenge was over the ball with studs showing.

Beevers set up Mellor for a strike on goal but Smithies saved then parried the ball to safety with Purse lurking and Beevers headed a good chance over as the half drew to a close. Wednesday had given as good as they had got in the first 45 minutes and could count themselves a bit unfortunate to go in behind. Purse and Beevers had nullified the threat of the home sides front two but the Owls looked vulnerable in wide areas.

Wednesday made a bright start to the 2nd period and thought they had levelled matters within 5 minutes. Morrison lashed a superb strike into the top corner in front of the strong away following but he had done so from an offside position. Perhaps understandably, both sides were eager to deny the other the space they had allowed in the 1st half and as a result chances were harder to come by. Teale was replaced by Sedgwick with 20 minutes to go and 5 minutes later the Owls spurned a good chance as Weaver’s long clearance fell to Mellor but the striker skewed his effort over the bar with the keeper out of position.

Weaver saved well from Arfield as Huddersfield looked to wrap up the points and the Owls keeper went forward to try and cause mayhem as Wednesday forced a late corner followed by a free-kick but it was to no avail as the home side held out to do the double over their Yorkshire rivals this season.

Wednesday have dropped to 6th place in the table and are likely to be out of the play-off positions by the end of play on Bank Holiday Monday. They travel to Bristol City in the F.A. Cup at the weekend and their next league fixture is against fellow promotion hopefuls Charlton at Hillsborough the following Saturday.