AN UNEVENTFUL play-off first-leg stalemate ensued as Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday played out a tame goalless draw at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Town had comfortably the better of proceedings and showed far more conviction and assertion, but couldn’t conjure a breakthrough against Wednesday, who produced a disciplined away performance to set themselves up for the second leg at Hillsborough in midweek.
The Owls forward ambition may have been limited, but a yielded a satisfactory result as their unbeaten streak against Town stretched to eight matches, while Huddersfield’s run without a home play-off victory continued.
Izzy Brown clipped the bar in the first half and Kieren Westwood denied Nahki Wells with two second-half saves, but it was an afternoon of perspiration, but not too much inspiration.
Huddersfield had much the better of play in the first half, with Wednesday relatively happy to sit back and wait for an opportunity to counter - showing classic away tactics.
Town’s tempo and urgency put the Owls on the back foot for considerable spells of the half, with the fit-again Elias Kachunga, Wells and Brown all posing problems with their pace and movement.
But for all their territorial dominance, Town could conjure just one telling chance and it almost yielded a 23rd-minute breakthrough.
Rajiv Van Parra’s centre was flicked on by Wells and after Glenn Loovens failed to clear, Brown was afforded a sight of goal, but his miscued effort, on the stretch, clipped the top of the woodwork.
Earlier, Aaron Mooy fired a low shot wide, with the Owls, for whom Kieran Lee was the only player who started the previous week’s game against Fulham, creating next to nothing at the other end.
Dangerman Fernando Forestieri, who had fired five goals in eight previous games against Town, was virtually anonymous for Wednesday, who produced an inhibited attacking performance in the first period, with the focus being on keeping their shape without the ball which they largely did in disciplined fashion
The pattern largely continued on the restart, with Town again pressing back the visitors, but failing to carve out significant chances for all their commendable approach play.
One did eventually did arrive with Hogg finding Wells, whose delicate chip was tipped over in the nick of time by a backtracking Westwood before a rare shot at the other end from Adam Reach flashed wide.
In the final 20 minutes, Town pushed for a breakthrough, with Tommy Smith firing a half-chance over before Westwood can well to block a Wells’ near-post effort after a Van La Parra cross rebounded into his path off Hunt.
But they couldn’t find a way past the Owls hard-working back five.
Huddersfield Town: Coleman; Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Lowe (Holmes-Dennis 90); Hogg, Mooy; Kachunga (Quaner 78), Brown, Van La Parra; Wells (Cranie 90). Substitutes unused: Coddington, Whitehead, Hudson, Payne.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil; Wallace (Jones 63), Lee, Bannan, Reach; Forestieri (Winnall 73), Fletcher (Rhodes 68). Substitutes unused: Wildsmith, L Palmer, Sasso, Nuhiu.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
Attendance: 20,357 (1,992 Sheffield Wednesday fans).