Bristol City 1-1 Wednesday
Ashton Gate, Bristol
31/10/09 - 3pm
Wednesday managed to avoid a Halloween horror show as they put in a much improved performance to bag a share of the spoils at Bristol City.
Nicky Maynard's strike looked to be sending the Owls to yet another defeat before Luke Varney rescued a deserved point for Brian Laws men, who put in a battling performance against a Bristol side flying high in the league.
Owls boss Laws said he was going to make changes and he totally revamped the back four, bringing Frank Simek in at right-back, Richard Hinds in at centre-back, and moving Lewis Buxton to centre-back, with Darren Purse and Mark Beevers making way.
Tommy Miller also returned to the midfield alongside James O'Connor and Darren Potter, while Luke Varney headed an attack which also included Jermaine Johnson and Marcus Tudgay.
It was a bold move by Laws and one which he was to come out of well.
Tommy Spurr was also handed the captain's armband in the absence of Purse, something which may become more of a regular occurrence.
Wednesday were keen to make a good start to the clash following recent poor performances, and they did just that.
Miller forced City stopper Dean Gerken into a comfortable save before some good play resulted in Varney hitting the woodwork, an effort which would have been chalked off thanks to the linesman's offside flag regardless.
As good as Wednesday were going forward, it was their defensive qualities that we going to come under scrutiny, and it almost did 13 minutes in.
Marvin Elliott was free to direct a powerful header which looked to be giving the Robins the lead before Lee Grant did superbly well to tip the effort over the bar.
City were coming more into exchanges as the game wore on, but Wednesday were dealing with all they had to throw at them in the first half.
And, as well as deserving a share of the spoils at half-time, Wednesday could well have been leading had Varney done better with a golden opportunity which he fired straight at the City goalkeeper.
Marcus Tudgay also came close as the first-half drew to a close, and Wednesday could be pleased with their first 45 minutes.
Half-Time: City 0-0 Wednesday
Too many times this season Wednesday have let good work go to waste with poor finishing and even poorer defending, Preston being a prime example of that.
It could have been the same against Gary Johnson's Bristol side, a side who're ranked among the best at home in the Championship.
Johnson had to shuffle his side at the interval, wary that Wednesday were more than matching his troops, and it seemed to have a positive effect on the Robins, matching their visitors' 4-3-3 formation with two half-time substitutions.
There was little in the way of chances on the resumption, but it was more of the hosts calling the tune and they found the breakthrough in pretty much their first real attack of the second half.
Richard Hinds was well positioned to clear an effort off the line as City poured forward, but Maynard pounced to scuff the rebound into the back of the net for the opening goal on the hour mark.
The Wednesday side of the last few weeks could well have crumbled after seeing their hard work go to waste.
But this side was different, and the Owls showed a battling spirit which has been lacking in previous weeks as they stayed in the game and continued to cause City problems.
Laws brought Leon Clarke into the mix for Miller, and he almost had an immediate impact when he saw his goalbound effort brilliantly saved by Gerken.
Wednesday didn't have to wait long for their just rewards though and it was Varney, struggling to find the back of the net recently, who found it with 15 minutes to go.
O'Connor and Tudgay linked well and the latter fed Varney, who drilled a low shot by Gerken to get the Owls back on level terms.
Both sides had good chances to win the game, Varney again coming close for the Owls, but both goalkeepers were at the top of their game to ensure no further goals were scored.
Full-Time: City 1-1 Wednesday