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Sheffield Wednesday frustrate Huddersfield in Championship play-off semi-final
Sheffield Wednesday will consider themselves to have the advantage after holding Huddersfield to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Terriers, who finished the regular season in fifth, bossed the entire 90 minutes but were unable to find an elusive goal, with Izzy Brown clipping the crossbar in the first half and Nahki Wells twice testing Keiren Westwood in the Wednesday net.
David Wagner’s men have had a brilliant season, flirting with automatic promotion for much of it, but they will see this as a missed opportunity given their total domination of their home leg.
In contrast, it was a classic containing away performance from the Owls, who failed to muster a shot on target and showed little ambition to win the game.
But the stalemate means they return to Hillsborough for the second leg on Wednesday favourites to reach the Wembley final for a second successive year.
The pattern of the game was set early on and after a tense start, the Terriers began to take the ascendancy and had a chance to break the deadlock midway through the first half.
Wednesday defender Glenn Loovens failed to clear Wells’ header across goal and the ball landed to Brown eight yards out, but he was falling backwards when he connected with his shot and it skimmed the crossbar and went over.
That turned out to be the best moment for either side in the first half, as although Wagner’s men dominated the ball and territory, Wednesday’s resolute defending prevented them from creating anything remotely dangerous.
Indeed, the opening 45 minutes ended with neither side managing a shot on target.
The second period followed an identical pattern, with the hosts in control and finally they tested Westwood in the Wednesday goal 10 minutes after the restart.
The dangerous Wells turned his marker and produced a chip that had Westwood back-peddling before tipping over from underneath his crossbar.
It was all Huddersfield and Tommy Smith fired over before Wells had another chance when a loose ball fell kindly to him eight yards out but Westwood was out quickly to deflect it wide.
There was a sense that Huddersfield really needed a goal to take to Hillsborough in midweek, but Wednesday were remaining defiant and continued to restrict their hosts, who threw everything forward in an attempt to break the deadlock.
It was certainly not pretty from the Owls, who did not force Town goalkeeper Joel Coleman into a save, but it was effective as they are now just a home win away from a Wembley return.
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