SHEFFIELD Wednesday won their final match before Christmas with a strong all round team performance against Charlton Athletic.
A first half blockbuster from Rhys McCabe and an
injury time strike by Jeremy Helan, playing in his final game on loan
from Manchester City, were the difference between two clubs that were
promoted last season from League One into the Championship.
heavy rain Referee Gary Sutton made two inspections of the pitch around
lunchtime but it stood up remarkable well to the deluge - unlike the
carpark in Penistone Road, opposite the ground which was under water.
the warm up the ball did not seem to unduly effected by surface water
on the pitch and well before kick off the rain had begun to ease up.
Johnson was given a big cheer from the Kop on his return but it was a
baptism of fire when he was twice beaten for pace in the opening minutes
by Charlton’s lively right winger, Lawrie Wilson. On the second
occassion, he committed a foul and earned him a lecture from the
Johnson upended Wilson again and the referee had no option but to book him in the 12th minute.
Lines not playing, Llera took the right side corner at the Leppings
Lane end from which the Owls took the lead with one of the best goals
seen at Hillsborough in many a day in the 20th minute.
was cleared to the edge of the box where MCCABE unleashed a left foot
volley of stunning power which flew past Hamer into the roof of the net.
It was his first ever goal for the Owls and what a way to open his
Wednesday had just the one scare before half time when
Haynes made ground in the are and tried to find Kermorgant in front of
goal. For a moment there was danger but Reda Johnson put the winger off
with a strong tackle and as the ball ran over the line, a goal kick was
to the Kermorgant’s disgust.
Haynes did have the
ball in the net just before half time, but the offside flag was up and
the Owls saw out a fairly impressive first half.
Chris Powell did not appear in the technical area in the second half and
it looked as if he had been sent to the stand after an incident that
followed the half time whistle.
Powell had gone on to the pitch
to confront the referee as was clearly upset about something - perhaps
feeling that has team should have had a penalty for the challenge by
Reda Johnson on Kermorgant which was ruled to be a goal kick to
Wednesday could have had a second in the 57th minute.
Llera delivered a diagonal free kick into the box from the right and
Gardner, around ten yards out jumped for a clear header that from a
certain angle looked as if it was going in but it dropped just wide.
was followed by a big let off for the Owls after a cross into the
Wednesday box and a far post knock down found Haynes a few yards out,
but he somehow missed connecting with the ball. Prutton received a bang
in the face and went off after treatment, replaced by Lines on 66
The visitors brought on Hulse for Haynes and the winger,
Green came on for Frimpong and they kept coming forward, forcing stout
defending from Llera
and Gardner who blocked an on target shot
from Fuller with the subs reaction showing that the ball had been on its
way to the net with Kirkland beaten.
Helan releived the pressure
with an enterprising run. He played a one two with Antonio, kept going
though surrounded by defenders and from the left tried a near post shot
that was held by Hamer.
Jackson who scored the winner with a
great free kick in the top corner at Hillsborough last season, tried his
luck again, this time from 32 yards but Kirkland watched the ball sail a
couple of feet over the bar. Wednesday tried to kill time by keeping
the ball near the corner flags and got close to a second goal when a
chip from McCabe cleared the bar by just inches.
In the last of
the four added minutes HELAN showed great pace on the left side of the
box and smashed home a low shot from an almost impossible angle to make
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland, Buxton,
Johnson (R), Gardner, Llera, Antonio, McCabe, Prutton, Helan, Madine,
O’Grady. Subs: Bywater, Taylor, Lee, Lines, Johnson (J), Maguire,
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Cort,
Seaborne, Wilson, Jackson, Frimpong, Haynes, Kerkar, Kermorgant. Subs:
Sullivan, Dervite, Green, Pritchard, Wright-Phillips, Fuller, Hulse.