Monday 11 November 2019

Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds share spoils at rainy Hillsborough in entertaining Yorkshire derby

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Leeds United 0

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds United heads the ball against the post whilst under pressure by Adam Reach of Sheffield Wednesday during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds United heads the ball against the post whilst under pressure by Adam Reach of Sheffield Wednesday during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds both spurned the chance to take over at the top of the Sky Bet Championship as they fought out the first goalless draw between the sides for 50 years.

A win for either team would have seen them depose West Brom as leaders - although the Owls required a two-goal advantage. Instead, the Yorkshire rivals were forced to settle for a point apiece in an entertaining encounter at a rain-soaked Hillsborough.

The game started awkwardly for Wednesday manager Garry Monk, who was in charge of Leeds for the 2016-17 season, as he was forced into a change before kick-off when centre-back Julien Borner turned his ankle in the warm-up.

It resulted in midfielder Sam Hutchinson dropping back to partner Dominic Iorfa at the heart of the back four, with Joey Pelupessy stepping off the bench to fill the vacant slot in midfield.

There were a couple of moments in the first half when Hutchinson looked suspect, never more so than in added time, helping to gift Leeds what proved to be their only chance during the opening 45 minutes.

Jack Harrison's cross with the outside of his left foot picked out Patrick Bamford at the far post, as the striker had pulled away from marker Hutchinson, only for his goal-bound header to be brilliantly turned away by Keiren Westwood.

Up until then, Leeds had dominated in terms of possession, yet despite their inventive approach play they failed to carve out anything of note in attack.

Instead, it was Wednesday who created chances, notably with Adam Reach denied by a timely challenge from Ben White in the 10th minute and Kiko Casilla superbly turning away strikes from Liam Palmer and Steven Fletcher in the 14th and 44th minutes.

Despite Leeds' paucity of chances, arguably they could have been awarded a 20th-minute penalty when Atdhe Nuhiu appeared to pull White down by his arm, but referee Tim Robinson was unmoved.

After Kalvin Phillips had curled a 24-yarder just wide early in the second period, Wednesday came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock, only for Fletcher to strike the crossbar with a first-time effort in meeting Morgan Fox's threaded pass, with the ball then cannoning off the back of Casilla to safety to United's relief.

On the hour Leeds were lucky again as they should have been reduced to 10 men when Eddie Nketiah, on for Bamford at half-time, clearly elbowed Pelupessy in the left eye, but the incident was missed by the officials.

The visitors continued to ride the crest of good fortune five minutes later when Fletcher somehow contrived to spurn an open goal with a sidefoot effort from inside the six-yard box after being teed up by a piercing left-wing cross from skipper Barry Bannan.

Leeds finally conjured another chance in the 73rd minute, but Nketiah's angled 12-yard drive was straight at Westwood, sparking a spell that saw Fox clear off the line from Harrison, and Ezgjan Alioski planting a header against the right-hand post.

Wednesday then responded, with Casilla make two further excellent saves to deny Kadeem Harris and Nuhiu, ensuring the spoils were shared.

PA Media

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