Sheffield Wednesday 0 Watford 0 - No goals but plenty of positives for Garry Monk

Four games, four clean sheets, means Garry Monk has plenty to build on at Sheffield Wednesday this season.
Tom Lees heads a first-half header wide of the Watford goal.   Pictures: Steve EllisTom Lees heads a first-half header wide of the Watford goal.   Pictures: Steve Ellis
Tom Lees heads a first-half header wide of the Watford goal. Pictures: Steve Ellis

Admittedly, they still sit on minus eight points in the Championship – they chipped another point off their 12-point penalty with an entertaining draw against newly-relegated Watford – but the Owls have enjoyed a good start to the new season.

This was the first game at Hillsborough - after three away wins to kick-off the new season at Walsall and Rochdale in the League Cup and Cardiff City in the Championship – and Monk will rue two dropped points.

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That was certainly the feeling after a dominant 45 minutes, with good chances for Tom Lees, Dominic Iorfa and Josh Windass – who also had a penalty appeal rejected.

Wednesday's Izzy Brown gets away from Watford's Tom Cleverley.Wednesday's Izzy Brown gets away from Watford's Tom Cleverley.
Wednesday's Izzy Brown gets away from Watford's Tom Cleverley.

Monk knows he needs to bring in at least one more forward before the transfer window closes, to bring more potency up front.

The Owls were unchanged from the starting XI that beat Cardiff 2-0 in their opening Championship game of the season.

That meant a 50th appearance for winger Kadeem Harris, while defender Joost van Aken was playing his first game at Hillsborough since December 2017.

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The 26-year-old Dutchman was something of a forgotten player at S6 – spending last season on loan in the German second division – but has been brought back into the fold by manager Garry Monk.

Owls boss Garry Monk.Owls boss Garry Monk.
Owls boss Garry Monk.

Matt Penney, like van Aken on loan in Germany last season, also started at wing-back for Wednesday.

The Owls started the game with a spring in their step, penning Watford back in their own half for long periods.

Josh Windass raced clear from Brown’s pass, but could not beat Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.

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The former Rangers attacker had a good shot for a penalty waved away by Australian referee Jarred Gillett, going down under the challenge of Christian Kabasele as he outpaced the visiting defender.

Rhodes tried an ambitious lob from 40 yards while defender Tom Lees had the best chance of the first half, but saw his header strike the foot of the post.

Fellow centre-half Dominic Iorfa also planted a headed chance wide, but the sides went in 0-0 at half-time.

The best the visitors – relegated from the Premier League and adjusting to life in the Championship – could muster was a shot from Glenn Murray, which Cameron Dawson palmed away.

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The Owls goalkeeper had to be alert at the start of the second half, diving low to his left to claw away substitute Stipe Perica’s header. That was the culmination of the best bit of football Watford produced.

Wednesday’s high-pressing game had dipped in the second half, unsurprisingly, as their first-half efforts started to show.

Monk brought on Liam Palmer – on his 29th birthday – and Elias Kachunga to freshen up his side.

But the chances had dried up for the Owls, and Watford captain Tom Cleverley forced Dawson into another full-stretch save to keep the games scoreless.

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Despite the visitors having the best of the second half, Wednesday should have snatched a stoppage-time winner.

Palmer’s cross picked out Brown in the centre, but the on-loan midfielder could not direct his header on target in front of an empty Kop.

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