Sheffield Wednesday 0 Luton Town 1: Few positives as Owls slump to home defeat

For a season which started on minus-12 points for Sheffield Wednesday, the Owls can ill-afford to endure many more negative afternoons like this.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk.

Lacklustre in the first half, Garry Monk’s side at least improved after the break, before succumbing to a goal from Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.

The negatives are mounting up. The Owls were down to 10 men when they conceded, Joost van Aken sent off for a reckless high challenge.

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But Wednesday have won just once at home in the Championship in 2020, and this was their fourth winless game at Hillsborough this season.

Two draws, two defeats and just two goals scored. It makes for a worrying trend for Monk, and a long battle against relegation - even without the minus-12 penalty - if home results do not quickly improve.

Luton should have gone into half-time in front, after having the best chances in front of goal.

With their first attack, the visitors caused panic in Wednesday’s makeshift defence - missing four centre-halves due to injury - and should have netted after just 20 seconds.

Luton striker James Hylton squirmed free, beat goalkeeper Cameron Dawson, but saw his shot headed off the line by Aden Flint.

Tom Lockyer fired wide from a good position, before Mpanzu spurned another great chance for the visitors.

He played a neat one-two with Elliot Lee, and with just Dawson to beat, slipped his shot wide of the post.

The best Wednesday could muster in response in the first half, came on 20 minutes, when Barry Bannan chipped in for Moses Odubajo, but the defender fired wide.

Wednesday needed to show more urgency in the second half and a rampaging Kadeem Harris run down the left flank at least hinted at better things to come, but his cross was cleared away.

With an over-worked Bannan in the centre of midfield, Wednesday’s only real creativity was coming wide from Adam Reach and Harris.

But the Owls’ best chance came on 50 minutes, and it was an unlikely source.

Flint found himself out on the wing, and his cross found fellow centre-half Joost Van Aken, but the Dutchman’s header was saved by Simon Sluga, who also thwarted Callum Paterson following another Harris cross.

Bannan hoofed a long-range shot high into the empty Kop, before unleashing another hopeful effort which was deflected wide for a corner.

The resulting set-piece saw Flint head the ball into the net, but the ‘goal’ was disallowed, with Jack Marriott seemingly penalised for pushing off the ball.

It seemed like the game was destined for a 0-0 draw, but Wednesday’s afternoon got worse with 20 minutes remaining when Van Aken was shown a straight red card for a high lunge on Mpanzu.

Two minutes later and the Luton midfielder broke the deadlock, side-stepping Bannan, before firing in from the edge of the box.

Substitute Jordan Rhodes had a chance to snatch an unlikely equaliser, but failed to convert Reach’s cross from close range.

Twice the visitors hit the woodwork, late in the game.

First Rhys Norrington-Davies saw his cross land on top of the crossbar, before substitute Ryan Tunnicliffe broke clear but saw his long-range shot hit the post and rebound to safety.

It was hard to reflect on any positives for Wednesday.