Bond’s error hands Owls and Carvalhal slice of luck

Owls' Modou Sougou hits home late equalising goal.Owls' Modou Sougou hits home late equalising goal.
Owls' Modou Sougou hits home late equalising goal.
EVERY new manager needs a spot of luck early on in their reign – and Carlos Carvalhal certainly received a large piece last night.

With his side deservedly trailing heading into the dying stages of the match, the Portuguese head coach was facing the proverbial reality check following the excitement of the opening salvos of his regime.

But fortunately for him, redemption was at hand to cancel out Danny Williams’s 49th-minute opener.

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It was thanks in no small part to Reading goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, who had virtually nothing to do all night, but made a terrible mess of a regulation left-wing cross from Rhoys Wiggins as the clock showed 90 minutes.

Modou Sougou celebrates with Jack Hunt after his Owls equaliser.Modou Sougou celebrates with Jack Hunt after his Owls equaliser.
Modou Sougou celebrates with Jack Hunt after his Owls equaliser.

The grateful beneficiary was substitute Modou Sougou, although the winger did deserve credit for maintaining his composure after firing the loose ball high past Bond from 15 yards out – to the immense relief of Carvalhal and the Kop.

The cameo from Sougou and his provision of a welcome reprieve on an immensely below-par night for his team-mates with his first league goal for the club was perhaps the sole redeeming feature on the evening.

It was a night when the positivity engendered by the Owls plundering a combined haul of six goals at S6 in entertaining and comprehensive victories in league and cup against Bristol City and Mansfield Town dissipated somewhat in the evening drizzle.

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Ahead of last night’s game, Carvalhal spoke passionately about his Wednesday side feeding off the power of the Hillsborough crowd, who had bought into his team’s free-flowing early-season efforts.

But equally, he will have realised that it is a two-way street with his side offering little, if anything, for the home punters to get energised by, with Wednesday’s battery pretty flat on the night – until the end.

Big-money arrivals Marco Matias and Lucas Joao failed to shine on an evening when Wednesday looked a yard off the pace in a laboured performance which lacked conviction.

A first-half that was eminently forgettable from a Wednesday perspective yielded nothing in the way of substantive chances, with both sides cancelling each other out until Reading conjured some belief.

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The first half-hour was a virtual non-event, with keeper Lewis Price – chosen in preference to teenager Joe Wildsmith to replace the injured Keiren Westwood – and his counterpart Bond being almost total bystanders.

The first noteworthy attempt came when Ollie Norwood’s free-kick whistled over the top. A few minutes after the half-hour mark, the Owls suffered a blow when skipper Glenn Loovens hobbled off after landing awkwardly.

It was the prelude to the hosts losing their way with Reading ending the half on top; Williams seeing a low shot deflected wide.

The interval came at an opportune time for the Owls to regroup, but it was Reading who gleaned the first opportunity, with Price spilling Orlando Sa’s shot and Robson-Kanu firing the rebound over under pressure.

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The goal that the Royals had been threatening arrived not too long after with good work by Sa on the left ending in him supplying Williams, whose right-footed strike beat Price, who was making his Owls debut.

Carvalhal had to do something and did by replacing Lewis McGugan with Sougou in a bid to reinvigorate his charges.

Norwood then saw a free-kick held by Price before Jack Hunt and Sougou helped to piece together the Owls’ best move with 20 minutes to go. Sougou’s cross found Matias in the box, but Bond gathered his close-range effort.

Sergiu Bus was thrown on in the final 10 minutes in a last throw of the dice by Carvalhal, who did not involve Stevie May or Atdhe Nuhiu in his squad.

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It was fellow sub Sougou who saved the day although it is fair to say Carvalhal will have probably learned more about his charges last night than he did in their opening three matches.

Carvalhal said: “To have a little luck, we must fight. And the positive thing was that we fought and won one point.”

Sheffield Wednesday: Price; Hunt, Lees, Loovens (Sasso 35), Wiggins; Hutchinson; Wallace, McGugan (Sougou 57), Lopez, Matias (Bus 82); Joao. Unused substitutes: Wildsmith, Semedo, Helan, Lee.

Reading: Bond; Gunter, McShane, Ferdinand, Taylor (Obita 76); Williams, Tshibola, Norwood, Quinn, Robson-Kanu (Hector 84); Sa (Blackman 84). Unused substitutes: Al-Habsi, Cox, Stacey, Fosu.

Referee: P Tierney (Lancs).

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