Scunthorpe 1-1 Wednesday
Glanford Park, Scunthorpe
05/04/08 - 15:00
Wednesday wasted another golden opportunity to drag themselves away from relegation trouble as they failed to overcome relegation-doomed Scunthorpe United on a cold and windy day at Glanford Park.
With Barnsley in FA Cup action and Southampton and Leicester both facing difficult tasks, a win could have put the Owls in pole position in the battle against the drop but instead leaves them hovering dangerously close to the drop zones.
With all due respect the Brian Laws' former club, the lunchtime clash would have been one Wednesday fans earmarked as a 'must win' in the remaining games of the season, but Laws' charges put in another lacklustre performance to make Wednesday the current draw specialists of the league with five draws on the spin.
Saying Wednesday have gone with just one defeat in eleven games sounds like play-off form, but with the huge amount of draws in there, the Owls have done themselves no favours with their cautious approach to recent matches.
But Wednesday were dealt a blow in the build-up to the game as Mark Beevers fell victim to a knee injury which had been troubling him in recent weeks and Peter Gilbert stepped in to replace him at the last minute at left-back, while Tommy Spurr moved in to the centre.
Steve Watson also returned to the fold at right-back, while Jermaine Johnson moved on to the wing and Burton O'Brien dropped to the bench, while striker Bartosz Slusarski again had to settle for a spot on the subs bench.
Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins will have been keen to get one over former boss Laws, and he included former Blade Geoff Horsfield in his attack, but top-scorer Martin Paterson could only manage a spot on the bench after recovering from injury.
Going in to the game the hosts knew it was going to be do or die in terms of their survival in the Championship, while the Owls also knew that they needed a positive result to keep their more-realistic hopes of survival in tact.
And the start of the game looked more like a League One clash than one which was to merit the Championship, with neither side looking over adventurous in search of a breakthrough.
But the breakthrough came for the hosts with a superb strike from Ian Morris, as the Iron midfielder burst by two defenders before launching an unstoppable long-range effort by Grant - who Laws later admitted could have done better with the shot - and in to the back of the net.
Wednesday lacked any creativity, as has been the theme in recent weeks, and they took a further blow when Franck Songo'o had to leave the pitch after a collision to be replaced by Wade Small midway through the first half.
Songo'o had enjoyed the best chance for Wednesday in the opening exchanges, smashing a low free-kick by Joe Murphy's goal.
And although Scunthorpe had a chance to extend their lead, again through Morris who smashed his effort wide when he should have done better, it was Wednesday who created the best chance of the half but failed to find the back of the net.
Deon Burton had broke through the Iron defence and rounded 'keeper Murphy before seeing the ball come out to the on-rushing Ben Sahar who saw his effort turned away by the Scunthorpe defender with the goal at his mercy.
Half-Time: Scunthorpe 1-0 Wednesday
Wednesday needed an instant response after the break, and a rocket from the Owls boss after what had been a below-par performance in the first 45 against a poor Scunthorpe side.
And the half-time team-talk seemed to work as Wednesday got back on level terms two minutes after the restart.
Deon Burton saw his long-range free-kick came back off the wall and in to the path of Jermaine Johnson who smashed a low drive towards goal and Ben Sahar was in the path to divert the effort in to the back of the net and sent the travelling Wednesday fans in to hysterics behind the goal.
But although both sides were desperate for the three points neither looked as though they were capable of, or they wanted to, go on and get the winning goal in one of the most lacklustre matches of the season.
Grant McCann came close for the hosts in the most fortunate of circumstances as his free-kick floated by Lee Grant and came back off the bar to the relief of the Owls number one.
Wednesday did start to carve out some chances as the match wore on, Wade Small getting to the byline and putting a fine cross for Deon Burton to head over, while skipper Richard Wood also headed over the bar as Wednesday forced some late corners.
Slusarski came on to replace Ben Sahar in the latter stages and the West Brom loanee almost made an immediate impact when he saw his long-range thumping effort go just wide of the goal with Joe Murphy well beaten.
But Wednesday had to again be content with a point against a side that they should have been looking to beat to help their survival hopes.
Full-Time: Scunthorpe 1-1 Wednesday
Wednesday: Grant, Watson, Wood, Spurr, Gilbert, Johnson, Kavanagh, Bolder, Songo'o (Small 34), Burton, Sahar (Slusarski 65). Substitutes: Burch, McMenamin, Wallwork.
Scunthorpe: Murphy, Williams, Byrne, Iriekpen, Goodwin, Weston (Paterson 60), McCann (Hayes 86), Forte, Butler, Horsfield (May 86), Morris.