Survival fight goes on as Owls grab two late goals to earn point

Two goals in the last 12 minutes saw Wednesday salvage a battling point in a 2-2 draw with play-off chasing Norwich at Hillsborough on Tuesday evening to keep alive our Championship survival hopes.

The chances of a draw looked remote to say the least at half time with the Owls trailing to two early Norwich goals and only wasteful finishing from the Canaries 0preventing the game being done and dusted by the interval.

However, manager Danny Rohl made four changes at the break, the team began to show the stomach for the fight which was absent in the first half and we were rewarded with two late headed goals to preserve our chances of staying in the second tier, with fellow strugglers Stoke at Hillsborough on Saturday.

The draw takes us onto 43 points, moving us above Birmingham into 22nd and a point ahead of Brum, although they could be back above us after they entertain Cardiff on Wednesday evening. We are also now only in the bottom three on goal difference, behind 21st-placed Huddersfield who went down 4-1 at Preston on Tuesday.

We began the Norwich game in encouraging fashion and Bambo Diaby missed a good early chance when he headed over from eight yards out.

However Norwich, buoyed by Saturday’s win over rivals Ipswich, looked confident in possession and we also began to cause our own problems by continually trying to play out from the back.

James Beadle saved fromĀ  Marcelino Nunez and Ashley Barnes sent the rebound over the bar before the Canaries took the lead on 11 minutes when Barnes was allowed free to flick on from a throw and Josh Sargent lost his marker at the far post to score with ease.

Beadle then went full length to save from Borja Sainz but the keeper was at fault for Norwich’s second goal after just 16 minutes, his poor pass out being seized on by the visitors and Sainz doubled their lead.

At this stage, Norwich were threatening to finish the game by half time but they lacked the killer instinct in front of goal, Nunez wasting the best of these openings close to the interval when he shot just wide.

Wednesday had hardly troubled the visitors for the rest of the half after that early Diaby opening and, not surprisingly, Rohl shuffled his pack at the break.

The introduction of Pol Valentin, Kristian Pedersen, Will Vaulks and Callum Paterson for the second half immediately made us more combative, lifted the atmosphere and saw us start to pose a problem or two at the other end of the pitch.

Beadle made another good save to keep out Jack Stacey and then pushed away a Nunez free kick before Gabriel Sara dragged a shot across goal but wide of the far post as Norwich continued to threaten a third goal.

At the same time, Wednesday were more energised, this illustrated by Paterson whose determination on 72 minutes saw him shake off the attentions of two Norwich defenders, only to see Angus Gunn block his shot as he bore down on goal.

It was an effort that further lifted the home crowd and we were back in the game on 78 minutes when Michael Ihiekwe headed home a Will Vaulks’ corner at the far post, his maiden goal for the Owls and our first from a corner this season.

Then, with five minutes of normal time remaining, Hillsborough was roaring as Vaulks sent overĀ  another left-wing corner to the back post and this time Michael Smith was there to head the equaliser in front of the Kop and ensure that valuable point.

It was a second-half rally which was fitting on a night which saw us playing our 5,000th league game at Hillsborough and the majority of the 28,516 crowd were quick to show their appreciation on the final whistle after such a fightback at this crucial time of the season.

The immediate focus now turns to our other relegation rivals in action on Wednesday evening. As well as Birmingham at home to Cardiff, Blackburn are at Bristol City and Swansea at home to Stoke.

Beadle, Iorfa, Ihiekwe, B Diaby (Paterson 46), Famewo, Palmer (Vaulks 46), Bannan, Windass (Pedersen 46), Musaba (Cadamarteri 76), Gassama (Valentin 46), Smith. Unused subs: Dawson, James, Hendrick, Fletcher. Attendance: 28,516.








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