Wednesday 4-4 Huddersfield Town
17/12/11 - 3pm
On-song Jordan Rhodes stole the show as he hit Huddersfield's equaliser deep into added time as Wednesday and Town shared the spoils in an eight-goal Christmas cracker at Hillsborough.
Rhodes, who's been enjoying a superb season in front of goal netted all four of Town's goals in an epic see-saw encounter between the npower League One promotion hopefuls in front of 28,600 fans packed into S6.
The Terriers stormed into an early 2-0 lead before Wednesday battled back with goals from captain Rob Jones and Reda Johnson to level the scores at the break. Ben Marshall fired the hosts ahead on the resumption and Chris O'Grady seemingly put the Owls in control with their fourth. But Rhodes completed his hat-trick to get Lee Clark's men back into the contest and then fired a late, late leveller.
It was a goal that left Wednesday feeling like the draw was more like a defeat, but it saw Gary Megson's men remain in the top-two positions and Wednesday will have felt they deserved more for their efforts - there were certainly plenty of positives.
Megson stuck with the same starting eleven that defeat Oldham Athletic 2-0 at Boundary Park last time out, with on-loan Arsenal forward Sanchez Watt making his home debut alongside O'Grady in attack.
For Town, it was the chance to show that they're still in the battle for the top two after suffering back-to-back defeats. Former Owls midfielder Tommy Miller was amongst Town's starting eleven.
And Clark's men started brightly, as they did in the same fixture last season where Town ended up 2-0 winners. They enjoyed most of the possession and carved out the first chance when Lee Novak's hard work gave Rhodes an early chance but he sent his header over the bar.
It was an early warning shot and one the Owls didn't take on board, with Town taking advantage of some sloppy defending with two well-worked goals in four first-half minutes.
They were carbon-copy strikes, involving the same two players as Gary Roberts, linked with a January move to Hillsborough, provided the cross for Rhodes to convert on both occasions.
The double salvo put the visitors firmly in control but Wednesday showed their fight and worked their way back into the game.
As Huddersfield did, Wednesday hit back with two goals in double-quick time to get back on level terms and leave the visitors stunned.
After O'Grady came close with an effort, Ben Marshall picked out Jones in the box with an inch-perfect cross and the Owls skipper powered his header into the back of the net to reduce the deficit on 26 minutes.
The momentum was with Wednesday and the leveller came just minutes later. Town failed to clear the ball from their own box when goalkeeper Ian Bennett saved well from O'Grady and Watt had a shot come back off the bar before Reda Johnson finally smashed the ball into the back of the net.
The goal turned Hillsborough into a cauldron of noise and Wednesday were now the dominant force, with Huddersfield chasing much of the ball and failing to spark in their attack.
The chances dried up for both sides, though the entertainment was still there aplenty. The game was very much a midfield battle, but the Owls did have another chance to turn the game on its head only for O'Grady to send his effort into the side netting and bring to an end a thrilling first-half.
Half-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Huddersfield
The first 45 minutes were going to be hard to match, but matched they were in a superb, incident-packed second half.
Wednesday brought on Ryan Lowe in place of Sanchez Watt in the only change at the interval but it didn't change the flow of the Owls' play as they hosts continued to control the game, albeit wary of the visitors' attacking threat.
The Owls looked the most likely to bag the next goal and it came just after the hour mark through wing-wizard Marshall.
The on-loan Stoke City man charged towards goal down the left and beat his marker. With men available to pass to inside the box, Marshall ignored their calls and finished low beyond Bennett to give Wednesday the lead is some style.
Hillsborough was bouncing, the fans literally so, and it seemed as though the Owls were heading for three crucial points.
Even more so when O'Grady's goal gave the hosts a two-goal cushion going into the latter stages of the match. The former Rochdale man looped his header over the top of Bennett and into the back of the net as Town looked down and out.
But Wednesdayites were in for a nervous ending when Town pulled a goal back, and Rhodes completed his hat-trick, in the 79th minute. Town's top-scorer produced a sublime finish from an acute angle to give the Terriers hope.
It prompted the visitors to pour forward in search of an equaliser but the Owls defended well and could have even wrapped the game up at the other end with good chances for Lowe and Jose Semedo.
But a final twist was to come deep into stoppage time as Town grabbed a dramatic equaliser. The fourth official had awarded five minutes of added time and the referee looked ready to blow his whistle as Rhodes broke through and produced a cool, clean finish beyond Bywater to snatched a point from the jaws of defeat for Town.
Wednesday: Bywater, Tavernier, Jones, Batth, R Johnson, Marshall (Bennett 90), Semedo, Lines, Prutton, O'Grady, Watt (Lowe 46). Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, J Johnson, Morrison.
Huddersfield: Bennett, Hunt, Naysmith, Bruce, Clarke, Miller, Gobern, Roberts, Ward (McDermott 71), Novak (Parkin 83), Rhodes. Unused substitutes: Colgan, Woods, Arfield.
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