The only pure things about the equaliser – a deep free-kick touched goalwards by a stretching centre-back and knocked into the net off team-mate Callum Paterson by Keiren Westwood – were the emotions they produced – delight for the Terriers, despair for a Sheffield Wednesday side who ended their seven-match losing sequence but needed the three points Josh Windass had set them up for, even notwithstanding a surprise win for Birmingham City.
As one might expect in a game between hosts who had lost their last seven and visitors whose results had picked up with two draws and a win, it was Huddersfield who saw more of the ball but they lacked the quality to do much with it and a moment of brilliance between two of their former players put them on the back foot.
The Owls lacked the belief to go for the throat and it was only when the Terriers grew in stature – not metaphorically, but by bringing on more physically imposing substitutes – that they were able to take something from a poor-quality game.
Both sides started with 3-4-3 formations, though Town’s wide forwards were much more tucked in and it was in the space behind the wing-backs on the far side of the field where both sides had most joy until the formation changes began in the second half with both coaches looking for a way to open the door, but lacking the tools to do it.
The Owls played Kadeem Harris in down their right flank a couple of times in the opening minutes but Jordan Rhodes was not quite able to get on the end of his third-minute delivery.
Lewis O’Brien was causing the home side plenty of problems with runs from inside to out from his left central midfield position and he dribbled along the byline in the 11th minute before a pull-back and a blocked Duane Holmes shot. Juninho Bacuna’s effort from his next delivery was weak and inbetween time good work by Holmes teed up Fraizer Campbell, but his shot was weak.
That was the Terriers in the first half, bright in mind like their yellow shirts, but lacking the quality to work Westwood.
The Owls were poorer, but occasionally showed flickers, like when Windass put a cross over that was just a fraction behind Harris, who headed it over as a result. Richard Keogh was forced into a good block when the winger shot after Holmes had surrendered the ball trying to break out from a Barry Bannan free-kick.
Darren Moore switched his wingers over and it would be decisive.
Rhodes had shown a willingness to drop off and link play and he did it to terrific effect in the 36th minute, playing the ball over his head for Windass to outsprint and hold off Sarr before producing a composed finish. It was a goal out of keeping with the standard of football produced by both sides, despite their willingness to do things properly.
Windass might have had a second after 55 minutes, but rather than helping him, Rhodes got in his way, causing him to balloon his shot at the end of a move started by a Westwood header.
Paterson had been brought on to get a goal when Sam Hutchinson, injured trying to deal with Pipa’s curling ball, was one of three Owls to make way early in the second half and he did, but not in the way planned.
Town brought Yaya Sanogo on at the same time to allow them to go more direct, and had introduced Isaac Mbenza at the interval. It was the latter’s deep free-kick Sarr stretrched to, and Westwood deserved more luck from his save than he or Paterson got.
With more than 20 minutes left once stoppage time was added, the game was there for the winning.
Wednesday showed the desire but Huddersfield goalkeeper Ryan Schofield was pretty untroubled. O’Brien went the closest with three long-range effort. After a wild one with 10 minutes to go, he had one deflect just wide right at the end of the game, and saw his effort from the corner blocked.
Neither side deserved a win but one at least will be glad of the point. Huddersfield are creeping to safety, Wednesday sliding towards League One, nine points adrift of safety with games running out.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Lees, Hutchinson (Urhoghide 60), Borner; Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach, Harris (Shaw 60), Rhodes (Paterson 60), Windass (Kachunga 81). Unused substitutes: Marriott, Penney, Green, Wildsmith, Hunt.
Huddersfield Town: Schofield; Edmonds-Green (Mbenza 46), Keogh, Sarr; Duhaney (Stearman 81), Hogg, O’Brien, Pipa; Bacuna, Campbell (Rowe 90), Holmes (Sanogo 60). Unused substitutes: Vallejo, Ward, Brown, Pereira, High.
Referee: R Jones (Merseyside).
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