Huddersfield Town 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Grayson fuming at referee blunder

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A CONTROVERSIAL Yorkshire derby ended with honours even on an afternoon when referee Mick Russell took centre stage after booking Owls player Jeremy Helan twice in the first half - without realising it and dismissing him, writes Leon Wobschall.

The stalemate represented Town’s first clean sheet since November 8 with the draw - their third on the trot at home - extended their winless streak to nine games.

In contrast, Wednesday’s unbeaten league streak was extended to four games as their December upturn continued.

TV replays at half-time confirmed that Russell had cautioned Helan without realising it with the loan player not substituted at the interval and coming onto the field for the second period.

The Owls, roared on by a big 4,000 following, started with intent with Antonio dragging a shot narrowly wide on 46 minutes and eight minutes later, he evaded two home defenders before sending over a tantalising cross which Madine agonisingly just failed to get a final touch to at the far post with the goal gaping.

Town’s first decent foray of the second half saw Keith Southern head straight at Kirkland following a decent cross from Adam Hammill as the hosts sought the breakthrough they so desperately craved.

Jermaine Beckford then hooked over after the ball broke to him in the box following Adam Clayton’s corner as Town belatedly enjoyed a mini-spell of pressure.

At the other end, a dangerous run and cross from Helan went unrewarded before Rhys McCabe fired wildly over.

By and large, the action was scrappy with neither side failing to significantly seize the initiative.

But a dramatic finale did see both sides spurn chances to win it with sub Mamady Sidibe seeing his point-blank header saved by Smithies from McCabe’s corner while fellow replacement James Vaughan fired wide at the other end.

Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson described referee Mick Russell’s blunder as “staggering” and called on the game’s authorities to introduce post-match press conferences for officials.

“As we came off the pitch he came to me to apologise for the error he made,” said Grayson.

“I think he’s probably written the wrong number down in his book, which is staggering and I also think he should have been helped by his officials, who should be overruling because they all know, when a referee makes a mistake like that, who he’s booking.

“The lineman should be helping out. He’s not done it deliberately, but you can’t make major mistakes like that.

“He’s put (Michail) Antonio’s number in his book, but he was nowhere near the incident. I don’t mind referee’s making big mistakes in terms of tackles and sendings off, but something quite simple like that shouldn’t be happening in Championship football.

“I’m not going to say Wednesday going down to 10 men would have guaranteed us winning the game, but it would have certainly helped us and what if the lad had gone on to score or created the winning goal?

“It would have been a massive talking point, which it is already.”

When it was suggested Huddersfield might have grounds to replay the match Grayson added: “I’m not sure about that. No-one has said anything like that. I’d be very surprised.

“I just think referees in general should be accountable for any decisions and have a press conference after the game, whether good decisions or bad decisions.

“It shouldn’t be up to myself or Dave Jones to explain, they should be out and you should be able to ask questions as to why he made certain decisions.

“I’ve not seen Dave, but I’m sure if it was the other way round he wouldn’t have been so calm and as placid on the touchline as he was.”

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