Sheffield Wednesday 2 Hull City 2: Dawson's late equaliser stuns Owls but not enough to save Slutsky's job with Tigers

Maybe playing Sheffield Wednesday should carry a public health warning for the next Hull City manager.

Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor puches the ball clear of Sheffield Wednesday's Atdhe Nuhiu (Picture: Steve Ellis).

For Leonid Slutsky, the 2-2 stalemate at Hillsborough proved the head coach’s final chance to keep his job as the Tigers were left hovering dangerously over the Championship drop zone.

But the last time the Owls played Hull, the Championship play-off final 18 months ago at Wembley, it happened to be Steve Bruce’s final game as Tigers boss.

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The former Sheffield United boss walked in the summer of 2016, but at least he left a club looking forward to life back in the Premier League.

Referee David Jones banishes Sheffield Wednesday's head coach Carlos Carvalhal (Picture: Steve Ellis).

This current Hull side look more likely to be playing in League One next season.

Although, they at least showed some fighting spirit to snatch a late draw in stoppage time, thanks to one man who enjoys playing Wednesday – Michael Dawson.

The centre-half helped break Wednesday hearts at Wembley back in May 2016, to pip their Yorkshire rivals to promotion.

And while Saturday’s rematch offered a much smaller reward for either side, it was Dawson who had a huge influence on the game between two of the Championship’s under-performers this campaign.

Referee David Jones banishes Sheffield Wednesday's head coach Carlos Carvalhal (Picture: Steve Ellis).

The 34-year-old defender somehow found himself at the far post, deep into six minutes of stoppage time at Hillsborough, to snatch an unlikely point for the visitors.

But it was in the 83rd minute when Dawson was involved in the game’s biggest talking point.

With the match posed at 1-1, substitute Atdhe Nuhiu’s cross was diverted goalwards by Adam Reach, but Dawson dived in front of the Owls winger to block his shot.

To the naked eye, Dawson appeared to save the ball with his outstretched hands, but referee Michael Jones waved away penalty calls.

The official sent furious Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal stomping to the stands.

“Let’s see the Channel 5 programme and let’s see them analyse and see if it was a Sheffield Wednesday penalty,” growled Carvalhal, after the game.

“It’s a clear penalty and we will see on television.”

Television replays were inconclusive, dividing opinion on social media.

Channel 5 pundit Clinton Morrison – a former Owls striker – claimed the ball actually hit Northallerton-born Dawson in the ribs.

“If you watch it in real-life play it does look like a blatant penalty,” admitted Morrison. “But if you slow it down, Dawson clearly lifts his arm up and it hits his rib cage.”

Nuhiu was one of the closest players to the incident, and believed it warranted a spot-kick.

“It looked like a penalty from my view but I haven’t seen a replay yet but from where I was it looked a penalty,” he said. “The guy is on the floor with is hands out and he’s not the keeper. It was a good save but he’s not the keeper.”

Penalty or not, it was a moment of controversy which helped take the attention away from a game which highlighted the glaring deficiencies of both teams.

Wednesday, despite stretching their unbeaten run to seven games – including five draws –failed, in the first half, to break down a Tigers team who have not won since beating Barnsley back in October.

When Morgan Fox and Gary Hooper did break clear, courtesy of a rare combination of slick passing, the Owls left-back – rather puzzlingly – opted to pass to his team-mate, despite Hooper clearly standing in an offside decision.

Steven Fletcher’s 52-minute strike - the hosts’ first on target – was greeted by ironic cheers by Owls supporters.

It was turning into another frustrating afternoon for the hosts, after Fraizer Campbell – who had earlier blasted over – opened the scoring on 21 minutes, firing low beyond Keiren Westwood.

It took the introduction of giant striker Nuhiu to get Wednesday back in the game.

The hosts bypassed the sideways passes, opting to go more direct to utilise Nuhiu’s physical strength, as Hull – lacking confidence after conceding 15 goals in their six previous outings – dropped deeper and deeper.

With Jordan Rhodes also introduced from the bench, the Owls had three strikers on the pitch looking for an equaliser.

And it was Hooper who fired home – Reach had earlier hit the post – to restore parity on 69 minutes.

Nuhiu then headed down Liam Palmer’s cross for Hooper to drill in his second goal of the afternoon. But there was still time left for Dawson to snatch that late equaliser with a scuffed shot, after Dutch defender Joost van Aken was guilty of a poor initial clearance.

In his final appearance as Hull boss, Slutsky said: “I try to analyse the game and now I understand our problem because when we score a goal we stop trying to play and keep the lead and this is not our strength.

“We don’t have a big forward and have the possibility to keep the ball. In the first half we played really well, we controlled the game and we scored. When we sit deeper it is very dangerous.”