Date:Saturday July 29 2006
Strikes from Malcolm Christie and Yakubu were enough to give Premiership Middlesbrough victory at Hillsborough in the Owls' only home friendly match of the pre-season.
Owls boss Paul Sturrock said his side showed improvement from the embarrassing 4-0 defeat at League Two side Mansfield Town on Wednesday night despite some poor defending for both Boro goals.
He told the official SWFC website: 'It was better - it couldn't have got much worse than Wednesday night. I was pleasantly pleased with the individual performances although dissapointed with the type of goals we lost.'
Former Derby County striker Malcolm Christie gave the visitors the lead just after the half hour mark after breaking free of the Wednesday defence and slotting home when one-on-one with Chris Adamson in the Wednesday goal.
Gareth Southgate's men could already have taken a 1-0 lead after just 15 minutes when Yakubu was felled in the Owls box by Graham Coughlan. But Adamson made a comfortable save from the former Portsmouth hitman to keep the scores level.
It wasn't all Boro though and former Middlesbrough trainee Chris Brunt saw a rocket of a free-kick smash against the underside of the bar and cleared to safety by the Boro defence.
Sturrock made two changes at half time, bringing on Steve Maclean to replace Kenny Lunt and revert to two strikers in attack. Lunt had been operating behind Deon Burton who was acting as a lone striker in the first half. Glenn Whelen also replaced Burton O'Brien in the centre of midfield.
And the changes worked immediately for the Owls as Maclean was felled in the box by former Arsenal man Ray Parlour on 48 minutes. Maclean gave the opportunity to Brunt to score against his former colleagues and he obliged by smashing the ball in to the all-new European 'box' nets.
The goal gave Wednesday the confidence to push forward and Brunt could have given the Owls the lead with another impressive free-kick which struck the woodwork and was again cleared to safety. Lee Bullen also broke free down the right hand side after some neat play by the home side but his near post effort was well save by Ross Turnbull in the Boro goal.
The visitors regained their lead on the hour mark after some poor defending by Graham Coughlan. The Owls players of the season's attempted back pass was foiled by Yakubu who had the simple job of slotting the ball passed Adamson to make it 2-1.
Sturrock gave some of the Owls' youngsters a chance and the impressive Tommy Spurr was replaced on 73 minutes to give John Hills the opportunity to regain his fitness ahead of the Championship opener against Preston next weekend.
It was an improved performance by Wednesday in front of their own fans but Sturrock still knows things need to be done before the big kick-off next Saturday. Hopefully with the signing of a new goalkeeper, and maybe even a striker things may slot into place. Hang on, this IS Wednesday we're talking about isn't it?
Wednesday: Adamson, Simek, Spurr (Hills 73), Bougherra, Coughlan, Folly (McAllister 79), Brunt, Bullen, O'Brien (Whelen 45), Lunt (Maclean 45), Burton. Subs not used: O'Donnell, Boden, McClements.
Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Parnaby (Williams 70), Arca (Goulon 76), Ehiogu (Hines 20), Bates, Cattermole (Walker 45), Boateng (Owens 82), Parlour, Yakubu, Christie, Taylor. Subs not used: Knight.
Visit Vital Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow for pictures from the game!...
Date:Saturday July 29 2006
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