Wednesday 2-2 Yeovil Town
25/01/11 - 7.45pm
ALAN Irvine's reign as Wednesday manager is hanging by a thread after his Owls side failed to beat nine-man Yeovil at Hillsborough.
Irvine was under huge pressure to get a convincing victory against a side in the npower League One relegation places going into the game but Wednesday could only get a point in an entertaining affair at S6.
Striker Gary Madine, on his home debut for the Owls, had levelled a Dean Bowditch opener in the first half before Paul Huntington fired the Glovers back in front in the second half.
The visitors were reduced to nine men when Luke Ayling was given his marching orders before Adam Virgo followed suit, the latter giving Giles Coke the chance to level from the spot only for him to miss after being forced to retake a penalty he initially tucked away.
Reda Johnson did fire a leveller for Wednesday to rescue a point, and the hosts could have bagged all three as they piled the pressure on late on, but it wasn't to be.
The result leaves Wednesday adrift of the top-six positions and chairman Milan Mandaric with a big decision to make over Irvine's future at the club.
Irvine made six changes to the side that fell to a 4-0 defeat at Leyton Orient on Saturday.
Neil Mellor returned in attack in place of Clinton Morrison, while Mark Reynolds made his debut in defence and Giles Coke, Darren Potter, Jermaine Johnson and Tommy Spurr all started.
And the changes seemed to work in the early exchanges as the Owls started brightly, although not really carving out any great chances in front of goal.
The Owls, backed by their 'home, away' support in the West Stand upper - Wednesday had given the usual away end to home fans - were clearly keen to make amends for Saturday's poor show in London and they were taking the game to their visitors.
But it was Yeovil who scored the opener against the run of play and with the help of a big deflection.
Former Ipswich Town man Bowditch pulled the trigger and saw his short deflect off Spurr and wrong-foot stopper Nicky Weaver to end up in the back of the net to give the visitors the advantage.
It was the last thing Wednesday, and Irvine, wanted in the circumstances and it gave Yeovil a huge lift after a difficult start.
The hosts regained their attacking threat soon after though and Gary Teale came close to levelling when he smashed a low effort against the post and Jermaine Johnson hit a powerful shot into the side netting as Wednesday got closer to a leveller.
The home support didn't have to wait too long though and it came through the new-man, Madine.
The former Carlisle United rose high to meet a Spurr cross and place a firm header beyond Yeovil stopper Stephen Henderson and into the back of the net.
It was what Wednesday deserved, but they could have so easily thrown their hard work getting level away five minutes before the break when Andy Williams was gifted with a great chance for the visitors only to fail to find the back of the net.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-1 Yeovil
The Owls will have fancied their chances of grabbing all three points in the second half but they made a sluggish start and were made to pay when Town regained their lead on 57 minutes.
Andy Welsh was the architect as he swung a dangerous ball into the box and Huntington was on-hand to smash home a powerful header which Weaver could do little about.
Wednesday upped their tempo to get into the game and were given a boost just after the hour mark when the visitors were reduced to ten men.
Ayling got his marching orders for a second bookable offence after hauling down Teale.
And they were down to nine men just eight minutes later when substitute Virgo upended Madine in the box just as he was about to pull the trigger and was shown a straight red.
It also gave the Owls the chance to level but, despite Giles Coke drilling in the spot-kick, the referee asked for it to be taken again for encroachment and the same player lashed his second attempt over the crossbar.
It looked like it was going to be one of those days for Wednesday, and possibly a last as Wednesday boss for Irvine, as Yeovil looked to be holding out for an historic first league win over the Owls.
The hosts started to throw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at the Yeovil goal - with Potter and Mellor both going close late on, and Clinton Morrison being thrown on as a substitute.
But the Owls did get a deserved equaliser five minutes from time when Mellor saw another shot well saved before Reda Johnson was well placed to steer home the rebound.
Wednesday could have even gone on and won it at the death but they couldn't beat Henderson for a third time.
It brought an end to an entertaining game, but for all the wrong reasons for Wednesday.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Yeovil