Southend 0-0 Wednesday
09/09/06 - 15:00
Glenn Whelan hit the woodwork twice for the Owls who again had to point towards missed chances as the sole reason they didn't come away from the seaside with all three points on Saturday afternoon.
On a plus note, the Owls are the first team to take points from the Shrimpers on home soil this season, and the welcome return of striker Marcus Tudgay and Steve Adams will boost Paul Sturrock's squad as they prepare for two crucial games in four days.
Owls stopper Brad Jones lined-up in goal for Wednesday after his red-card picked up against Leeds was overturned by the FA in midweek - clearing the on-loan Boro' stopper for action at Roots Hall.
Meanwhile, Steve Adams returned from injury to play his first game of the season for the Owls. Chris Brunt was dropped to the bench with Burton O'Brien moving out wide. Marcus Tudgay also returned to action after his freak pre-season injury to partner Deon Burton in the Owls attack.
Billy Paynter partnered Freddie Eastwood in the Southend attack as Michael Ricketts was sidelined and new-signing Matt Harrold could only find a place on the Southend bench. Former Owl Lee Bradbury was also out through injury.
Southend: Flahavan, Francis, Barrett, Gower, Maher, Eastwood (Hooper 83), Guttridge, Clarke, Campbell-Ryce, Hammell, Paynter (Harrold 83).
Wednesday: Jones, Coughlan, Whelan, Tudgay (Lunt 86), O'Brien, Burton, Adams (Bullen 60), Simek, Bougherra, Spurr, Sam (Brunt 60).
Wednesday came out of the blocks the quickest desperate to amend their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Yorkshire rivals Leeds United with victory over the Shrimpers, and Frank Simek nearly gave the Owls an early lead after his mazy run ended in the American slicing his close-range shot wide of Flahavan's goal.
And Wednesday were creating the better chances when Glenn Whelan left the Southend 'keeper standing when he rattled the cross-bar with a fine long range effort after 20 minutes.
Southend did have their chances but the stubborn Owls defence refused to allow the hosts any clear-cut opportunities in front of goal. Mark Gower had the hosts best chance from a Hammell corner but his header failed to trouble Brad Jones.
Owls boss Paul Sturrock must have wondered just where Lady Luck was at Roots Hall when Whelan again saw a chipped free-kick effort come off the underside of Flahavan's goal before being cleared to safety.
The Owls defence was doing well to keep hitman Freddie Eastwood at bay but the former Grays Athletic and West Ham United product came close when he fired a low shot by Jones' far post just before the break.
Half-Time: Southend United 0-0 Wednesday
Although the scoreline didn't suggest it, both sides were going for all three points and it made for an entertaining match. Glenn Whelan saw an early header float harmlessly in to Flahavan's hands just after the break.
And then danger-man Eastwood pounced on a fine cross from the right-wing - but his header went straight in the arms of Jones, with the Southend faithful appealing for a hand-ball from Frank Simek.
As the game wore on the hosts created more chances as the 9,000+ crowd roared the Shrimpers forward. And Wednesday had Jones to thank when Billy Paynter laid off a low Simon Francis cross to tee up Maher - but his excellent volleyed effort was palmed away by the Aussie stopper.
Luke Guttridge then saw another fine long-range effort tipped over the bar as the home side began to take control of the game.
Paul Sturrock introduced Chris Brunt and Lee Bullen on the hour mark to replace Lloyd Sam and Steve Adams respectively. And within the seconds the Northern Ireland international shot just wide from a fine long-range effort.
As the game wore on it looked as though both sides would settle for a point but the Owls had a claim for a penalty with just five minutes remaining when a Southend defender fell on a Frank Simek cross - seemingly causing an obstruction but referee Beeby waved away the Owls protests.
Referee: Richard Beeby
Attendance: 9,639 (1,749 away)
The Owls may have felt they could, and should have come away with all three points from Roots Hall but boss Paul Sturrock will be happy with his side's efforts against a Southend side that had previously won both their Championship matches.
The welcome return of Steve Adams and Marcus Tudgay will give the Owls boss a big boost ahead of an important week which sees the Owls up against Stoke City and Hull in the space of four days - both winnable games which could see Wednesday shoot up the table with two victories.
The Republic of Ireland under-21 international keeps improving as the season progresses and is surely worthy of being pulled off the transfer-list following a promising start to the season. Hit the woodwork twice from fine long-range efforts and should be rewarded with a goal or two shortly.
Paul Sturrock told the official SWFC site:
'Maybe our lack of goals is playing on peoples' minds. Deon Burton had a chance that he would have buried nine times out of ten. The competition for places up front isn't there yet but we definitely seemed to have a penalty at the end.
'We're carrying so many players who are half-fit and not match-fit. We tired dreadfully. But Marcus Tudgay did very well, Steve Adams worked very hard and that was only Deon's second game since pre-season.'
Steve Tilson told the official SUFC site:
'Sheffield Wednesday had a couple of chances in the first half, they've hit the crossbar, but we got better as the game went on.
'I was pleased with our second half performance and it's another point towards our target. On another day - with a bit of luck - we might have scored, but we look onwards and upwards.'
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