Wednesday 2-2 Hartlepool United
21/01/12 - 3pm
Wednesday were left disappointed at home for the second week running as Antony Sweeney's late leveller gave Hartlepool United a share of the spoils at Hillsborough.
It was a case of two points dropped as far as Gary Megson's men were concerned as Sweeney produced a superb late lob over Owls stopper Nicky Weaver to give the visitors a point.
Neale Cooper's men had taken the lead early in the second half through Peter Hartley, who was lucky to be on the pitch following a first-half foul on Gary Madine, before the Owls hit back to take the lead through Jermaine Johnson and Madine.
But Sweeney's late strike saw Wednesday drop vital points at home for the second week running after Charlton Athletic inflicted a first home league defeat on the Owls last weekend.
Lewis Buxton made a welcome return from injury to plug the gap left by Ben Marshall in midfield, while Madine continued in attack and Mike Jones made his second start of the spin following his move from Bury.
The blustery conditions were going to make any kind of free-flowing football difficult for either side but it was Wednesday who started brighter when Chris O'Grady sent an early effort wide of goal.
The Owls continued their attacking threat towards the Leppings Lane end and Mike Jones was twice thwarted in a glorious position. The new man got on the end of a Buxton cross and saw his first effort blocked by a defender before Scott Flinders, the Pools stopper, did well to block his second shot.
Despite having most of the early chances Wednesday let their standards slip as the half wore on. First, Weaver had to be alert to deny former Owl Steve Haslam, and then Reda Johnson rushed back to clear the danger after a sloppy back-pass put the Owls in unnecessary danger.
The hosts soon got back in control and Madine will have felt he should have done better when his flick from a dangerous Johnson cross beat Flinders but drifted the wrong side of goal.
United were lucky to go into the interval with all eleven men on the pitch after Hartley hauled down Madine when the Owls' top-scorer was through on goal. The home support called for a red card but the officials only decided on a yellow after consultation.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Hartlepool United
Wednesday were slow out of the traps in the second half and the visitors took full advantage by stealing into the lead.
The visitors won a corner kick and Evan Horwood swung his set-piece on to the head of Hartley, who powered his header beyond Weaver to make it 1-0 in United's favour.
It gave the visitors a big lift and helped push Wednesday, or should that be Jermaine Johnson, introduced as a second half substitute in place of Reda Johnson, into the next gear.
Pools led for just eleven minutes when the Jamaican produced a superb leveller for Megson's men. He charged towards goal on the right and beat four men before unleashing an unstoppable low shot beyond Flinders and into the back of the net.
The goal gave the Owls the lift they needed in search of three crucial points. Danny Batth headed just inches over the bar from a Paul Lines cross before Miguel Llera, introduced for the inured Rob Jones, also came close.
Wednesday looked the more likely to bag the next goal and that came with just over 15 minutes to go through that man Madine. The Owls' top-scorer was well-positioned inside the box and he waited for a loose ball to drop before slamming it into the back of the net to put the hosts in control.
It looked like there was only going to be one winner as Wednesday dominated possession. Ryan Lowe came close to grabbing Wednesday's third when he chipped his maker before drilling a low effort wide.
But the Owls were hit with a sucker-punch with just three minutes to go. Weaver was caught off-guard and Sweeney produced a pin-point lob over the Owls' number one to give the visitors a point.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Hartlepool United
Wednesday: Weaver, Otsemobor, R Jones (Llera 65), Batth, R Johnson (J Johnson 46), Buxton, Semedo, Lines, M Jones (Lowe 56), O'Grady, Madine. Unused substitutes: Bywater, Morrison.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Liddle, Collins, Horwood, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Haslam (Brown 80), Murray (Humphreys 67), Hartley, James. Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Boyd, Baldwin.