Wednesday 1-1 Bournemouth
23/10/10 - 3pm
SUBSTITUTE Neil Mellor secured a share of the spoils for Wednesday as they came from behind to draw against Bournemouth in npower League One at Hillsborough.
The loanee got on the end of a superb cross by fellow substitute Gary Teale to level in what Owls boss Alan Irvine described as a 'game of two halves'.
Ryan Garry had opened the scoring for the visitors in a first-half in which they were by far the better team.
But although far from impressing on the resumption, the hosts improved in the second half to share the spoils in a fairly even match on the whole in S6.
Irvine made two changes to the side that beat Yeovil last time out - one forced and one not. Mark Beevers returned to the heart of the defence while Lewis Buxton returned to right-back in place of the suspended Jon Otesemobor, while Giles Coke returned to the starting eleven at the expense of Teale, who dropped to the bench.
Jermaine Johnson wasn't even included in Irvine's squad after having recovered from injury to score as a second-half sub at Huish Park last weekend.
Both sides came into the game in a good vein of form and knowing that victory would keep them in the chase for top-spot in the division.
The opening 24 minutes failed to inspire many of the near-18,000 crowd inside Hillsborough with chances coming few and far between.
Tommy Miller fashioned the best two chances although they failed to trouble former Owls goalkeeper Shwan Jalan inbetween the posts for the Cherries.
Both sides looked cagey in their build-up play but it was the visitors who edged the play and took the lead after 24 minutes.
Wednesday's marking left plenty to be desired when the unmarked Garry drilled home to fire the visitors ahead from a Rhoys Wiggins corner kick in front of the Kop.
It was a goal that lifted Bournemouth and made life even more difficult for Wednesday in front of a home crowd that were growing restless.
Poor passing, a lack of ambition and panic in the defence caused problems for the Owls as they desperately looked for a way back before the half-time break.
It wasn't to be though and, thanks to some good possession play by Eddie Howe's men, the Owls could well have been thankful to be just the one goal down at half-time given the lacklustre first-half they'd served up for the home support.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-1 Bournemouth
Changes needed to be made at half-time and they were as Mellor and Teale were both introduced, with the almost non-existent Clinton Morrison and James O'Connor hauled off.
The impact was imminent as the Owls took the game to the hosts and looked far more comfortable in possession, holding on to the ball for longer spells and asking more questions of the Cherries defence.
It wasn't hard to improve on their first-half display, but improve the Owls did and Darren Potter showed signs of intent when he fired a half-volley over the bar after a decent spell of pressure.
The half-time subs certainly had a positive impact on Wednesday and both Teale and Mellor had done far more than the players who departed at the interval in just the first ten minutes of their introduction.
The Cherries still looked a threat at the other end though as Josh McQuoid fired a low effort just wide of Nicky Weaver's goal.
The Owls were wary that conceding a second goal could prove costly but it was the visitors only real chance in the early stages of the second half as Wednesday continued to be on top in the search for a leveller.
Tudgay was next to test Jalal but the stopper was equal to his effort before Mellor planted a header wide of goal from a Daniel Jones cross.
The Owls left-back was putting in some dangerous crosses for the Bournemouth defence to deal with and Jalal had to be alert to deny a dangerous low cross that was just begging to be steered into the back of the net.
Irvine made his final change when Paul Heffernan was brought on with 13 minutes to go to replace Tudgay.
And the former Doncaster Rovers hitman almost hot lucky just a minute after coming on when Jalal slipped under pressure just at the edge of the box but managed to get a clearance away just before Heffernan could make contact.
Wednesday were upping the pressure but it seemed like Bournemouth were going to hang on for their victory.
That was until eight minutes from time when Teale produced a superb cross from the left and Mellor drove home the equaliser from close range.
Jason Pearce had a good chance to regain the lead and snatch the win for the Cherries just three minutes before half-time but he headed wide from close range.
A draw on the whole was the fair result but it will probably be Bournemouth, despite letting their lead slip late on, who will be the happier of the two sides.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-1 Bournemouth