Sheff Weds 1 Huddersfield 1: Hold the Bus – it’s Miller time for Terriers

Sheffield Wednesday's Marnick Vermijl heads away from Ishmael Miller, who struck a late equaliser for Huddersfield Town (Picture: Steve Ellis).
Sheffield Wednesday's Marnick Vermijl heads away from Ishmael Miller, who struck a late equaliser for Huddersfield Town (Picture: Steve Ellis).
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NO swinging on the crossbar at the final whistle this time, but there will have been an inward sense of satisfaction for Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell nevertheless.

After his previous club Charlton’s FA Cup win at Hillsborough in February last year, the suited-and-booted Londoner 
showed what he thought of making the quarter-finals by gleefully jumping onto the crossbar in front of the ecstatic Addicks fans.

No such histrionics this time, but a late leveller from the Terriers’ Ishmael Miller will have at least ensured that Powell’s glass of red will have gone down much better on Saturday evening.

On an afternoon when a man called Bus took centre stage, it was shown that sometimes you wait for a goal and then two come along at once.

An eminently forgettable derby burst into life in the final four minutes and while it was not quite the madcap denouement of the New York Stadium a fortnight earlier when four goals arrived in a crazy cameo, it was dramatic all the same.

Several Wednesdayites and Town followers had made an early exit to beat the traffic and, on much of the afternoon’s evidence, few could have blamed them.

But given the prior developments at Rotherham, those of a blue and white persuasion should have known better.

Several missed the bus in the shape of Romanian-born Sergiu Bus, who seemingly secured just the Owls’ fifth home win of the campaign when he bundled home at the second attempt on 86 minutes.

Not quite so. It was Miller time three minutes later when Bus’s fellow replacement fired a shot under Kieren Westwood to secure a point for Town which edges them closer to safety and boosted his own chances of earning a longer-term deal.

Powell has spoken on many occasions about every point in the Championship being important. The psychological merit of Saturday’s late draw following late kicks in the teeth for his side in their previous two matches against Fulham and Norwich should not be downplayed.

For Wednesday, it was the flip side of the coin after incredibly snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at Rotherham, much to the chagrin of head coach Stuart Gray, who was left to rue a lack of ruthless edge from his side and some uncharacteristic sloppy defending.

Hailing Miller’s key contribution, counterpart Powell, whose side welcome Ipswich Town this afternoon, said: “He is a player who, if we make sure he is right, can be a threat.

“It does not always come off for him, but he makes things happen. He is not a target man as such, despite being a big man. But he’s good with his feet and he’s settled in really well.

“The fans have taken to him as well and, hopefully, he will get a few more goals before the season ends and then, hopefully, we will be looking to do something further.

“At this stage of the season, it’s about results and not performances. We have played a lot better and not got anything and it’s about getting points to stay out of the bottom three.”

Offering his take on developments, Gray, whose side have now won just once on home soil since Boxing Day and netted just 13 times in the league at Hillsborough this term, said: “We have suffered a lot at Hillsborough in terms of getting our noses in front and not killing teams off.

“Defending at the end like that was not like us, though. I just felt we should have got a 1-0 win. We have thrown two points away.

“We did not manage the game and see it out and maybe that’s where we missed an older head like (Glenn) Loovens.”

Prior to the tale of two substitutes, little occurred of note at Hillsborough, with the one piece of outstanding play coming from a defender – Joel Lynch making a stunning saving clearance right on the goalline six minutes after the interval when Atdhe Nuhiu seemed to have prodded the Owls in front.

It looked like a second successive stalemate between the derby combatants would transpire, only for Bus to bundle Wednesday in front four minutes from time, netting at the second attempt after Marnick Vermijl’s low cross caused problems.

But Wednesday – who return to action this afternoon at Norwich City – failed to cope with a punt forward three minutes later, with Miller finding time and space to fire past Westwood.

For Bus at least, there was succour in breaking his goalscoring duck for his new club in an Easter development that he is likely always to remember through his first goal in English football.

Bus, who returned to action following a groin injury, said: “For sure, I am very happy, although it’s a pity we didn’t win the game. But it’s a big goal for me and I hope it is the beginning and I hope I can score more goals.

“The last four or five weeks have been very hard for me and it’s hard when you are not on the pitch to help your team-mates. It was my dream to come here. I had offers from other countries, but I always thought about England and it is one of my dreams coming true.

“I have waited for this goal for months. I didn’t score for CSKA (Sofia) because it was the winter break.

“Before I came here, I knew the name of Sheffield Wednesday, but didn’t know they had won cups and championships and were such a big team. But when I came here, I searched on the internet and it’s an honour to play here.”