But even Steve McQueen might have turned his nose up at such an unlikely script after the Owls tossed away two precious points, the latest chapter in a season of lows.
Leading from Julian Borner’s fourth-minute header, and playing against 10 men for 70 minutes after Bristol City’s Henri Lansbury was shown a straight red card, Wednesday created chance after chance but failed to kill the game off.
So when Tyreeq Bakinson fired in a 25-yard effort in the 87th minute, it was almost inevitable.
This is a Wednesday side who all season – through three permanent managers – have contrived to throw games, and points, away.
Like losing at Luton Town 3-2, after leading 2-0 at half-time, conceding a stoppage-time winner to 10-man Rotherham United at Hillsborough, or Macauley Bonne’s late equaliser which denied Wednesday a home win over QPR.
When the full-time whistle blew on Saturday, the body language of the Owls players – like Keiren Westwood, sat dejected at the Leppings Lane end – said far more about the mood than the words from assistant manager Jamie Smith.
“It’s a point but not enough, we should have won the game,” said Smith, standing in for manager Darren Moore, who was at home suffering from pneumonia, triggered by his contraction of Covid-19.
“It feels like a defeat. I know it’s a point but it’s not enough. Looking at the chances, we should have won the game.”
Wednesday got off to the perfect start on Saturday. Barry Bannan’s corner was hooked back in by Josh Windass, and Borner was lurking to head in from close-range.
The Robins were reduced to 10 men on 21 minutes when Lansbury was sent off, after jumping to scoop Callum Paterson’s header over the crossbar. Video replays were inconclusive in proving if Lansbury made contact, but by stretching his hand towards the ball gave referee Tony Harrington a decision to make.
But Barry Bannan failed to punish the visitors, his penalty saved by Daniel Bentley, diving low to his right.
It was the prelude for what was to come, as Wednesday spurned numerous opportunities.
Liam Palmer smashed a shot against the post, from Bannan’s teasing cross, before the latter dribbled through the City defence but dragged his effort wide.
In the second half, Windass broke but opted to shoot – despite options on either side through Kadeem Harris and Bannan – and his effort was charged down.
Harris escaped his marker, but one-on-one with Bentley, the recalled winger failed to get the better of the visiting goalkeeper.
The visitors – before and after Lansbury’s red card – hardly troubled the Owls goal, their best effort seeing Westwood saving from Famara Diedhiou, before Bakinson’s late equaliser.
And even in stoppage time, Wednesday had a moment to atone for their missed chances, but substitute Jordan Rhodes scuffed his shot inside the box.
“Barry is obviously disappointed but there’s no blame in missing the penalty because it happens,” said Smith.
“The penalty miss wasn’t the reason why we didn’t win the game. It was other chances as well that could have settled it.
“We had enough chances to win the game and that makes it feel like it was a defeat more than a draw. Until relegation is mathematically impossible, we’ll keep fighting still. How else do you expect us to be?
“We can’t just give up and not turn up. We still have to work.
“We knew before that this was a big one for us that we needed to win. We haven’t won and we look to move on and win on Tuesday night.”
If Wednesday – seven points adrift of safety – are to avoid a third spell in League One since relegation from the Premier League, they will need to win their final four games, starting tomorrow with the visit of Blackburn Rovers. Now that would be a Great Escape.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hutchinson (Kachunga 89), Lees, Borner, Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach, Harris (Green 73), Windass, Paterson (Rhodes 73). Unused substitutes: Van Aken, Dele-Bashiru, Urhoghide, Wildsmith, Hunt, Brennan.
Bristol City: Bentley, Hunt (Nagy 81), Vyner, Kalas, Rowe, Lansbury, Massengo (Palmer 88), Pearson (Janneh 56), Bakinson, Semenyo (Sessegnon 56), Diedhiou (Wells 56). Unused substitutes: O’Leary, Mariappa, Towler, Conway.
Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).
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