Sheffield Wednesday 2 West Brom 2: Another Reach screamer goes unrewarded

NEVER mind polishing Adam Reach's left boot, as Liam Palmer did after the one-time Sheffield Wednesday record signing had thundered in yet another contender for Goal of the Season.

Liam Palmer kisses the boot of goalscorer Adam Reach (Picture: Steve Ellis)

Maybe the Owls should consider commissioning a bronze cast of what has become arguably the Championship’s deadliest weapon over the past 12 months.

Reach’s stunning 30-yard opener, just five days after a similarly spectacular effort against Leeds United from almost the exact same spot, was a thing of beauty that should have really been the prelude to the Owls claiming all three points.

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Instead, it proved to be merely the first act in a quite remarkable contest that put the 22,150 crowd through the emotional wringer and left Reach a frustrated man at the final whistle after honours had ended even.

Adam Reach unleashes another thunderbolt. (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“We went two goals ahead and we sat back a little bit,” said the £5m signing from Middlesbrough.

“You know a team like West Brom are going to have periods in the game, but we are still disappointed to drop two points.”

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Harvey Barnes, the former Barnsley loanee, was the man who dragged Darren Moore’s men back from the brink of defeat in a crazy 90-second spell.

First, he applied sufficient pressure to Joey Pelupessy as Chris Brunt’s cross fizzed across the six-yard box that Wednesday’s Dutch midfielder could only divert the ball into his own net when trying to clear.

Then, with just three minutes remaining on the clock, Barnes collected possession inside his own half before embarking on a mesmerising run.

Pelupessy, in a vein similar to how Peter Reid and Terry Fenwick should have clattered Maradona en route to Peter Shilton’s goal during the 1986 World Cup, simply had to take one for the team by bringing Barnes down.

But he didn’t, meaning when Tom Lees and Daniel Pudil also hesitated, the Albion man was able to keep going before firing past Cameron Dawson.

As Moore jumped for joy in his technical area, Hillsborough was stunned. With good cause, too, as the three points had seemed to be theirs for the taking.

Until Barnes’ late intervention, the contrasting demeanours of the two managers on the touchline had spoken volumes for not only each man’s character but also how the game had been panning out.

As Luhukay stood motionless, taking in all that was happening in his usually inscrutable manner, Moore was as animated as when marshalling the defences of Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers in the Nineties.

If the ball was there to be won in the air at either end, the Albion chief was up on his toes, almost as if trying to will his players to do what came so easily to him as the defensive colossus who helped the Bantams into the Premier League.

There was nothing, though, that even Moore at his talismanic best could have done to prevent Wednesday’s opener from Reach.

Maybe the Baggies defence could have reacted quicker to the danger when Palmer slipped a pass to the club’s one-time record signing.

But, as was the case with his stunner against Leeds, no goalkeeper in the world would have kept out such a perfectly struck left foot shot from 30 yards.

Sam Johnstone could be absolved of any blame for the home side’s second goal, too.

Atdhe Nuhiu did well to hold off a couple of Albion defenders before rolling a pass to Matt Penney. His cross enticed Craig Dawson into an attempted clearance that merely nudged the ball to Forestieri and the Argentinian did the rest from seven yards.

Forestieri’s first goal since the opening week of the season came just moments after a quite stunning save at the other end by Dawson. The Owls goalkeeper had looked uneasy in Friday night’s draw with Leeds, particularly when asked to come and collect crosses.

His one-handed save to deny Tyrone Mears, however, was every bit as impressive as Reach’s strike had been for the opening goal. West Brom, the Championship’s most prolific attack with 25 goals to their name before heading to Hillsborough, also rattled the crossbar through Dwight Gayle in first-half stoppage time.

It was a timely reminder against complacency for Luhukay’s men. As was Kyle Bartley getting the ball in the net early after the restart only for referee Oliver Langford to rightly rule Craig Dawson had fouled namesake Cameron in the home goal.

Ultimately, though, these warnings went unheeded to leave Wednesday – and Reach – having to settle for a point.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Lees, Hector, Pudil; Palmer, Pelupessy, Onomah (Kirby 82), Reach, Penney; Forestieri, Nuhiu (Joao 78). Unused substitutes: Wildsmith, Fletcher, Thorniley, Preston, Shaw.

West Brom: Johnstone; Dawson, Hegazi, Bartley; Mears (Barry 65) Livermore, Brunt, Gibbs, Barnes; Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu 64), Gayle (Hoolahan 65). Unused substitutes: Myhill, Edwards, Adarabioyo, Field.

Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).