Saints 0-0 Wednesday
St Mary's, Southampton
04/12/07 - 19:45
Just last month Wednesday nailed five goals by helpless Southampton, but goals were not the order of the day in a dull game at St Mary's just weeks later - although the Owls will be more than happy with a point following the shock home defeat to Colchester at the weekend.
Saints came in to the clash looking to make amends for the 5-0 drubbing at S6 last month, and also on the back of an impressive 2-1 victory away at Leicester City at the weekend.
Southampton boss George Burley announced the defeat at Hillsborough as the lowest point of his Southampton career to date, and although it was a vast improvement to that free-scoring day at S6, Burley will still be feeling the heat of the Saints fans, with only 17,981 attending St Mary's for the clash.
Wednesday's task was made harder going in to the match with the news that Michael Johnson was still unavailable for selection through injury, so youngster Mark Beevers continued at the heart of defence, while Frank Simek was also missing through injury, with Lee Bullen stepping in.
Wade Small also stepped in to the side at the expense of the out-of-form Marcus Tudgay, while former Saint Yoann Folly returned in place of Steve Watson as Laws switched to a 4-3-3 formation.
The Saints came flying out of the traps, forcing a corner in the early minutes and a harmless Rudi Skacel free-kick, while Richard Hinds dealt with the pacey threat of Bradley Wright-Phillips early on.
But the chances were coming few and far between for both sides, with a single goal looking likely to back three points for either side in a tight, and dull, contest on the south coast.
Not that the Owls will be complaining, although they did manage to create some chances of their own in an even opening, as Burton O'Brien saw his effort well saved by Kelvin Davies, and in-form Akpo Sodje laced a low effort just wide of goal.
Wednesday were relying on Sodje for some power in attack and to hold the ball up, but Laws had to change his game plan before the half hour mark as Sodje limped off the field to be replaced by Tudgay on 28 minutes.
But the St Mary's faithful will have felt they'd done enough to earn a half-time advantage after Wright-Phillips had a goal chalked off for offside, while Richard Hinds was somewhat fortunate to get away with a penalty appeal minutes before the break.
Half-Time: Southampton 0-0 Wednesday
The hosts started and finished the first half in control, and they mirrored their first 45 kick-off with another high-paced start to the second when Wright-Phillips burst through on goal only to be denied by a fine save from Lee Grant.
The Owls can well take pride from the fact they've managed to keep four clean sheets from five matches in recent weeks - a feat not imaginable at the start of the season.
The Wednesday chances in attack were very few and far between, but Lee Bullen powered forward as he looked for the breakthrough, only to lash his shot wide, while Glenn Whelan hit a long-range effort straight in to the arms of the quiet Davies.
The Owls came in to their own with a superb spell midway through the second half in the return fixture back in November, but such an onslaught this time, from either side, looked possible, with a draw always looking the likely outcome.
The Saints did start to enjoy the bulk of the possession and put the Owls defence under pressure in the final 15 minutes, but they couldn't find their way through the makeshift defence.
Marek Saganowski almost found his way through on goal after a neat through ball but saw any-such effort thwarted by the impressive Mark Beevers who denied the substitute with a magnificent tackle.
But after all the late Saints pressure, it could well have been Wednesday who were taking all three points with them back on the long trip up to Hillsborough had Marcus Tudgay poked home a close range effort which he should have done better with.
Full-Time: Southampton 0-0 Wednesday
Wednesday: Grant, Bullen (c), Hinds, Beevers, Spurr, Folly, Jermaine Johnson, Whelan, O'Brien, Sodje, Small (Esajas 84). Substitutes: Burch, Boden, Lunt.
Southampton: Davis, Wright, Davies (Viafara 28), Bennett, Skacel, Hammill (Lallana 74), Surman, Safri (c), Euell, Wright-Phillips (Saganowski 66), John. Substitutes: Bialkowski, Rasiak.
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