Wednesday 2-2 Charlton
15/01/11 - 3pm
It was the proverbial game of two halves at Hillsborough as Wednesday mounted a second-half comeback to take a share of the spoils against npower League One promotion rivals Charlton Athletic.
The Owls' new-look defence, bolstered by the additions of Michael Morrsion, at right-back, and Reda Johnson, at centre-back, collapsed in the opening six minutes to allow the visitors a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Scott Wagstaff and Johnnie Jackson.
But, following a dour half from Alan Irvine's men, Wednesday came out looking a different side in the second half and levelled matters in a six-minute spell on the resumption thanks to goals from half-time substitute Paul Heffernan and home debutant Reda Johnson.
The Owls were unfortunate not to win the game in the closing stages, Heffernan in particular amazed to see his header brilliantly saved by Addicks goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
Irvine named an unchanged starting eleven for the visit of the Londoners following their superb 3-0 FA Cup success at Bristol City last weekend.
Reda Johnson and Morrison both made their home debuts and received a warm welcome from the Wednesdayites inside Hillsborough.
It was the first game at S6 in almost a month due to postponements over the festive period and the home support were desperate to see the Owls bag three points to get them back on track for an automatic promotion spot.
Those top-two places were at the back of everyone's mind though after a disastrous start for the hosts.
The new-look back four, so impressive at Ashton Gate last weekend, failed to click into place and allowed the visitors a two-goal head-start.
First Wagstaff got free to slot his effort beneath Owls stopper Nicky Weaver and into the back of the net just minutes into the game.
And it was 2-0 to Charlton after just six minutes when Darren Purse hauled down Joe Anyinsah inside the box and Jackson slammed the ball into the back of the net with authority.
Hillsborough was in shock and captain Purse was getting most of the blame, with booing directed at the centre-back from some parts of the Wednesday support following the sloppy opening.
It was a superb start as far as Charlton were concerned and the visitors looked happy to sit on their two-goal cushion, despite being only in the early exchanges of the game.
Wednesday improved - they couldn't get much worse - and they enjoyed plenty of the ball in midfield and in the final third, but they struggled to unlock the visitors' defence.
The Addicks, although sitting back, did still look threatening in attack thanks to the pace of their two forward men on the break, and the fragile confidence of the Owls brittle back-line.
But chances were few and far between and Wednesday looked like a lost cause with most of their play in attack.
The hosts did get the ideal opportunity to get right back in the game though before half-time when they were awarded a penalty.
Alan McCormack was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box and Tommy Miller was given the responsibility to get the hosts back in the game.
It wasn't to be though, with the normally reliable midfielder missing from the spot for the first time in his career.
Nothing was going right for Wednesday, and the wind that was blowing against them in the first half did little to help their cause.
The Addicks were well in control of the game at half-time, and it looked as though the writing was on the wall at the interval.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-2 Charlton
Irvine had to make changes at half-time and he did, with Heffernan on to replace Neil Mellor and Jermaine Johnson on to replace Gary Teale, the latter being a somewhat strange decision given the Scot was the only player who looked like creating anything in the first half.
But, they worked, as Wednesday started the second half in blistering fashion to leave Charlton wondering what had hit them.
Irvine's double change got Wednesday immediately back into the game as Johnson's cross found its way to Heffernan, who was well position to drill home from close range at raise the noise level at S6.
The goal lifted the Owls, and the majority of the 19,000-plus crowd, and they went on to level just minutes later.
A spell of pressure in front of the Charlton goal gave the Owls a corner, which Chris Sedgwick delivered and Reda Johnson directed a fine header into the bottom corner to score on his debut and level matters.
The Owls new signing raced away to celebrate with the Kop and Wednesday had the momentum to go on and win the game, especially with the wind now favouring them.
The Addicks struggled to get hold of the ball as Wednesday dominated for long spells of the second half - much like last weekend's cup win in Bristol - and there looked like there was going to be only one winner.
The visitors still posed a minor threat going forward, but the Owls defence looked to have gained a bit of composure and confidence that was drastically lacking in the first 45 minutes.
For all Wednesday's pressure though, the didn't carve out as many chances as they would have liked in the middle spell of the second half and the game looked to be heading for a draw.
That was until the last ten minutes when Wednesday poured forward with wave after wave of attacks as the Addicks goal lived a charmed life.
The winner almost came from the most unlikely of sources when James O'Connor sent a daisy-cutter of a drive just inches wide of Elliot's goal.
Sedgwick should also have done better when he tried to place a low shot into the corner of the goal but saw his effort blocked by a visiting defender.
The chance of the match came for Heffernan though, and he could take little of the blame as his header was brilliantly tipped on to the post by Elliot and the ball was cleared to safety.
Wednesday managed to forced a number of corners in succession late on, but Charlton managed to scramble all the efforts Wednesday had to throw at them late on and the match finished all square.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Charlton
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