Dawson is a point-saver for lacklustre Wednesday

Wednesday’s stuttering promotion push continued with a goalless stalemate against Oxford at a freezing Hillsborough this afternoon … and it could have been worse but for an added time penalty save by the recalled Cameron Dawson.

The draw sees us remain in third place on 43 points, two behind second-placed Ipswich after their defeat at Wycombe, while Plymouth went back to the top and four points clear of us following a home win over Morecambe. Behind us, another victory for Barnsley takes them to within seven points of the Owls and with two games in hand.

It was another largely disjointed Wednesday display and, in the absence of the injured Barry Bannan, the side was lacking in creativity, energy and the will-to-win.

We are clearly still very much in the promotion shake-up but the lethargic performances of recent weeks is a major worry and, despite stretching our unbeaten league run to 10 games, we have now taken just three points from the last three matches.

Oxford started in lively fashion and we could have fallen behind with just two minutes on the clock when Marcus Browne raced into the penalty area but failed to connect properly from close range and Dawson was able to save.

It took 15 minutes for us to pose a real threat, Josh Windass turning Liam Palmer’s low cross past the post but Oxford went close again almost immediately, Dawson saving with his feet when Cameron Brannagan was left in space inside the box.

However, despite our lacklustre opening we then missed three good opportunities inside five minutes.

The first came on 32 minutes when Marvin Johnson dragged a shot wide of the far post before another low Palmer centre was dummied by both Callum Paterson and Lee Gregory and Windass saw his eventual shot blocked.

Then, to complete the hat-trick of chances, keeper Simon Eastwood saved when Paterson tried for placement rather than power in the penalty area and Windass sent the rebound wide.

Sub Michael Smith just failed to connect with an attempted diving header from Marvin Johnson’s excellent left-wing cross on 72 minutes but it was the visitors who missed the best chance of the game soon afterwards.

Dawson pushed out Yanic Wildschut’s shot, Matty Taylor saw his effort from the loose ball cleared off the line by Mark McGuinness and when the rebound fell to James Henry he somehow managed to sky it over the bar from six yards.

Paterson immediately went close at the other end, bringing a diving save out of Eastwood from just inside the box and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru might have shot rather than crossed as Wednesday began to show some urgency for almost the first time in the game.

Then, deep into into the six added minutes, we looked to have lost all three points when McGuinness dragged down Gatlin O’Donkor in the box but Dawson dived to save Josh Murphy’s spot kick and so preserve both the draw and our unbeaten run.

Dawson, Palmer, Iorfa, McGuinness, James, Vaulks (Dele-Bashiru 60), Bakinson, Johnson, Paterson, Windass (Smith 60), Gregory. Unused subs: Stockdale, Famewo, Hunt, Mighten, Wilks. Att: 22,285.


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