FULL TIME: Wanderers 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
WANDERERS are still searching for their first home win of the season and were forced to scrap all the way for a point against 10-man Wednesday.
Jermaine Beckford netted his third goal of the season to give Dougie Freedman’s side the lead 15 minutes in but Alex Baptiste’s own goal quickly levelled matters.
Wednesday came close on a handful of occasions but when Jose Semedo was sent off with seven minutes to go the way was clear for a final onslaught from the Whites.
But thanks to two brilliant late stops by Chris Kirkland the Owls went away with their seventh draw of the season.
Wanderers looked bright in the early stages with Liam Feeney sending in two crosses from the right to spark havoc in the Wednesday box.
But the on-loan Millwall winger became gradually starved of possession as the half went on, and Dave Jones’s visitors were able to stamp their authority on the game.
Wanderers had two big let offs when Giles Coke pulled a shot just wide and Adam Bogdan brought off a fine save from Matt Fryatt, who had chased on to a neat pass from Jeremy Helan.
Then, rather out of the blue, the Whites seized a lead. The ball was played quickly from back to front and Neil Danns flicked a pass through for Beckford to nudge past advancing keeper Chris Kirkland.
Tails up, Wanderers briefly looked like doubling their advantage as Alex Baptiste drilled a shot to make Kirkland work at his near post.
But Wednesday muscled their way in again, and when Helan was allowed too much space to cross from the left, Baptiste got his angles wrong to put a header through his own goal at the far post.
The Yorkshiremen remained on top heading into the second half and had two clear chances to take the lead within five minutes of the restart.
Helan beat McNaughton for pace and saw a shot bounce off Bogdan’s chest and off the post, and the French midfielder then turned provider for Michail Antonio, whose lashed volley went just wide.
Freedman threw on Chung-Yong Lee for Liam Feeney and the game did start to even out.
Wednesday still had chances with Antonio causing panic in the six yard box with one cross from the right, but the Whites started to play some football of their own and Eagles will feel he should have done better with a shot from the edge of the box after Chung-Yong did the hard work on the right.
Wednesday then had a goal controversially disallowed when Steve McPhail’s free kick was half-cleared and Jermaine Johnson’s looping header drifted over Bogdan and the covering defenders into the net.
Referee’s assistant Sian Massey raised her flag immediately but it was not immediately clear whether offside or a foul had been given.
It later emerged that Reda Johnson had been deemed offside and interfering with Bogdan's line of sight.
Dave Jones’s deteriorating mood on the touchline would have been calmed had Helan hit the target with a relatively simple chance a few moments later – but he was denied by a sprawling last-ditch challenge by Matt Mills.
At the other end, another glit-edged opportunity went by the wayside as Chung-Yong capitalised on some indecisive defending from the visitors to give Beckford a clear shot on goal – but his effort went tamely into Kirkland’s hands.
Wanderers had a big penalty shout when substitute Rob Hall looked to have been bundled over on the edge of the box by Lewis Buxton.
Seven minutes from the end a passionate contest boiled over completely as Jose Semedo was given a straight red card for a horrible tackle on Jay Spearing in the centre circle.
The Portuguese midfielder then got embroiled in a pushing and shoving contest in the middle of the park involving around 16 players before heading for the tunnel with his head in his hands.
Wanderers needed to make their man advantage tell but Kirkland proved the hero of the hour with two brilliant saves from two Mills’ headers in injury time.