Sheffield Wednesday 0 Rotherham United 0: Gray rues penalty rejection

Owls' Stevie May.
Owls' Stevie May.
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Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray felt his side should have been awarded a penalty in the South Yorkshire goalless stalemate with Rotherham at Hillsborough.

The Owls have now gone 445 minutes without scoring in front of their own fans but they felt they should have had the chance to break that drought from 12 yards when Kieren Lee went to ground under a challenge from hapless Millers defender Kirk Broadfoot.

Referee Nigel Miller ignored Wednesday’s appeals and the hosts drew yet another blank on home soil.

“There is no need for Kieran to go down, I was looking for the referee to give the penalty,” the Owls boss said. “I was looking at the reactions, it’s not just one player, it’s five players.

“It was a tight, tight game in a local derby and the penalty would have come at the right time to get our noses in front.

“Kieran is not one to talk much but he has said to me that it was a definite penalty.

“Why would he go down? He’d turned the boy with a great piece of skill, his next job was to shoot at goal.

“They are the big decisions, we are disappointed. They are the little margins we aren’t getting at the moment.”

The Owls need all the help they can get to score after another disappointing performance in the final third, with Jeremy Helan and Stevie May having their best chances.

And Gray knows his side have to improve in front of goal.

“I can’t fault the application, I felt it was two honest teams having a good go,” he added. “It was a distinct lack of quality in the attacking third from both sides. Their keeper is probably the busier out of the two.

“It’s decision-making, we worked the ball to decent areas. It might be a little bit of a confidence thing, but I give my players carte blanche in that final third.

“They were just half-chances that we were able to create and you want that ball to be bouncing for you. At the moment it’s not but you’ve got to keep going.”

It could have been even worse for Gray’s struggling side, who are now winless in nine, had the Millers been more clinical in front of goal, as although they were far from their best they created the clearest chances.

Paul Green had the best of those for Steve Evans’ men but he planted his free header wide in the first half while Paul Taylor’s effort was blocked after the break.

And Evans believes his side did enough to take the points across the M1 motorway and back to Rotherham.

“We are disappointed. We have worked on a system and shape that’s worked and for a period in the first half we have almost laid siege in their half,” he said.

“But chances come and if big chances are missed that makes the difference in a derby. We worked especially hard on set-plays.

“We go away a little bit frustrated that we didn’t take advantage in the final third.

“They were two headers that you would expect Greeny to put in the net. He scored a couple in training on Friday which is even more frustrating.

“I could have no complaints other than we didn’t take the points. We have come to Hillsborough and been the better side.”

On the penalty decision, the Scot added: “I didn’t know at the time, if there is contact it’s a penalty. I couldn’t have had any complaint if he did give it because he was so close.

“But I’ve looked on the DVD and it’s a slip. So before people go and write headlines, do what we do and go and look.”