Sheffield Wednesday duo offer a positive spin on 0-0 stalemate with Millwall

The nearest the Owls came to scoring when Adam Reach's first-half header flashes across the Millwall goal. Pic Steve Ellis
The nearest the Owls came to scoring when Adam Reach's first-half header flashes across the Millwall goal. Pic Steve Ellis
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Sheffield Wednesday endured another frustrating afternoon at Hillsborough with a 0-0 draw against Millwall.

With chances at a premium, the Owls could at least take some consolation from a clean sheet and avoiding a fourth successive league defeat at Hillsborough.

The second-half appearance of substitutes Fernando Forestieri – back after injury – and midweek signing Alessio D Cruz at least offered some hope that the Owls’ attacking fortunes may improve in the weeks ahead.

Throw in the deadline day signings of Connor Wickham and Josh Windass and Wednesday may finally have the firepower to build on a woeful home record which has seen them score just 14 goals in 15 matches at Hillsborough – the worst record in the Championship.

Just one win in their last six Championship outings had seen Garry Monk’s men slide from third to 12th in the table.

The latest loss – a 2-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic in midweek – had seen Monk launch a scathing attack on his players, and he was desperate to see a response.

The Owls recalled Liam Palmer and Fernando Forestieri after injury lay-offs – the latter was named a substitute – with Morgan Fox ruled out after limping off at Wigan in midweek.

It took the Owls 20 minutes to muster their first effort at goal. Moses Odubajo, switched to left-back due to Fox’s absence, fired his 25-yard shot low and wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s right-hand post.

The hosts looked fragile – no surprise given their recent poor run - but neither side showed much quality in a gritty opening.

The closest Millwall came to threatening Cameron Dawson’s goal saw Mahlon Romeo smash his long-range effort wide.

And it was a similar result when Adam Reach – playing just behind lone striker Atdhe Nuhiu – cracked a hopeful shot into the Kop.

The first bit of quality finally came four minutes before half-time. Barry Bannan allowed the ball to reach Kadeem Harris, whose cross found Reach at the near post, but his header skimmed across goal and wide of the goal.

Wednesday fans have had little to cheer at Hillsborough this season, in terms of goals, with just 14 in as many games before kick-off.

No other team in the Championship had scored fewer home goals, so it was no surprise to see the teams trot off for a half-time brew at 0-0.

Wednesday – encouraged by the visitors gifting them possession on several occasions - hinted at a bit of urgency at the start of the second half, forcing a couple of corners.

Forestieri – out since November – replaced Harris on 55 minutes and his appearance certainly injected some energy into the game.

Both sides started to attack with more belief, and Dominic Iorfa saw his effort fly wide after a goalmouth scramble.

Monk gave Da Cruz his debut off the bench – replacing Jacob Murphy on 66 minutes – and the two substitutes showed some neat combinations in attack.

Nuhiu failed to spot an unmarked Da Cruz on a counter-attack, and when the ball finally arrived at the feet of Forestieri, the striker fired straight at Bialkowski from 20 yards.

Lions substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson spurned a glorious chance to snatch a stoppage-time winner, racing clear with only Dawson to beat, but his attempted chip sailed high and wide.