Westwood saves day for out-of-sorts Owls

Wednesday’s outside hopes of the play-offs took a setback in a goalless draw at Stoke on Saturday.

The point sees us slip a place to 11th and we are now three points behind sixth-placed Derby – but we could have no complaints about the result at Stoke, with the home side dominating for long spells and Wednesday thankful for two saves from Keiren Westwood to keep us level in the second half.

Steve Bruce went with the returning pair of Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper up front but his pre-match plans were upset before kick off with Rolando Aarons turning his ankle in the warm-up and being replaced by George Boyd.

And it was Boyd who looked to have put us ahead in the first half as he finished off a flowing move in excellent fashion, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Steve Bruce said afterwards: “We think Boyd was onside for the disallowed goal. The linesman took an eternity to make the decision and when you look at it, I thought the rule was to benefit the attacker, not the other way.”

However, that was a rare threat from Wednesday in a first 45 minutes that saw neither side manage a shot on target.

After the break, it was Westwood who saved the day, producing a fine stop to deny Bojan and then turning away a header from ex-Owl loanee Benik Afobe.

Wednesday’s only shot on target came late on when Liam Palmer was foiled by Jack Butland and it was Stoke who were threatening again in the closing stages with Danny Batth, another former Hillsborough loanee, heading wide when he looked certain to score.

On the plus side, the point stretches our unbeaten league run to 12 games but our passing game let us down on the day and we failed to put the home side under any periods of pressure,

Westwood, Iorfa, Hector, Lees, Palmer, Reach (Matias 89), Hutchinson, Bannan, Boyd, Hooper (Nuhiu 69), Forestieri (Winnall 58). Unused subs: Dawson, Fox, Thorniley, Pelupessy.

Att: 26,398 (2,890 Wednesdayites).

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