Sheffield Wednesday need to find ways to win ugly

Sheffield Wednesday must come up with a ‘Plan B’ if they want to get out of League One this season.

Given space, Darren Moore’s Owls are one of the best footballing teams in the division. Just ask Burton Albion and Cambridge United, who were beaten 5-2 and 6-0 this month.

But Wednesday struggle when they face more physical sides, teams who get men behind the ball, use a low block, and do not allow the Owls time on the ball.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The evidence was there on Saturday, a dour 0-0 draw at Gillingham, which followed a 1-1 stalemate with Accrington Stanley four days earlier.

Owls defender Jordan Storey. Picture: Steve Ellis

And it’s a common theme. In eight matches this season –against the Gills, Shrewsbury Town, Oxford United and Lincoln City – Wednesday have picked up a measly four points from a possible 24.

Next up at Hillsborough is games against Cheltenham Town and AFC Wimbledon – who the Owls failed to beat in the reverse fixtures – and Wednesday know games are running out in their pursuit of a top-six finish.

“It was very frustrating,” said defender Jordan Storey, after a testing afternoon at Priestfield Stadium. “We knew what they were about and their threats.

“We knew we had to come and get a result, put on a decent performance, unfortunately it wasn’t the case. We struggled to cause a threat in the final third.

“You look at the last two fixtures, they have been hard-to-beat teams – ugly teams, if you like – not pretty football, and we have got to come up with an answer. For a club like us, and where we want to be, we have got to be getting two wins there.

“The next few fixtures are going to be massive for us. there’s going to be a lot of games where it’s not pretty, teams are going to sit in, and we have got to find a way to break then down.”

Despite dominating possession on Saturday, the closest Wednesday came to scoring saw striker Lee Gregory have his effort scooped off the line late on.

Charlie Kelman was a constant threat for the hosts, and deep into stoppage time, former Owls youngster Vadaine Oliver almost snatched a late winner but his effort dropped the wrong side of Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s left-hand post.

Gillingham: Chapman, Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, Jackson, O’Keefe, Lee, Thompson, Tutonda, Oliver, Kelman. Unused substitutes: Dahlberg, Dickson-Peters, Lintott, Maghoma, Akehurst, Chambers.

Sheffield Weds: Peacock-Farrell, Storey, Dunkley, Hutchinson, Hunt (Mendez-Laing 61), Byers (Dean 79), Luongo, Bannan, Johnson, Paterson (Berahino 62), Gregory. Unused substitutes: Iorfa, Kamberi, Wildsmith, Sow.

Referee: G Ward (Surrey).