Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0
By Tim Hodges from The Amex
The Seagulls and the Owls were the epitome of a dull wet evening in Falmer. A goalless draw with few clear chances or vital saves from either keeper.
Steve Sidwell replaced the ‘rested’ Beram Kayal and Albion appeared to lack that vital bite in midfield.
Jamie Murphy had Albion’s best two chances in the first half. The first and best of these saw the winger fire a shot from 25 yards , which took a touch from a defender and get a touch over from Kieran Westwood in the Wednesday goal.
Liam Rosenoir was seeing plenty of the ball on wide postions but his crosses were failing to find thier intended targets in Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed.
Conner Goldson showed why he is keeping club captain Gordon Greer out of the team , as he sprinted back to dispossess Lucas Joao. Soon after striker aimed a kick at the young Albion defender, referee Drysdale issued only a yellow card after Goldson appeared to appeal for clemency for the tall Owls striker.
Drysdale was certainly not a ‘homer’ and he and his assitant Robert Hyde made a few decisions that incensed the otherwise half asleep Albion crowd.
Wednesday’s black and light blue shirts and shorts was not that easy to distinguish from Albion’s navy stripes. And it was likely the officials got confused by the ‘last touch’ more than once.
Murphy’second chance of the half fell to him from a corner, but he flashed it wide.
Surprisingly Albion made no changes at half time and early on after the break Stockdale finally got his gloves dirty , clawing out Barry Bannan’s on target curling effort.
Albion tried to get going but Stephens looked a little lost without Kayal. Sidwell a brilliant defensive midfielder, allows the ball to run across him and play ot out wide. Kayal puts his foot on it and drives forward at every opportunity and Albion missed that.
Kazenga Lua Lua , Bobby Zamora and James Wilson all came on for Albion as Baldock , Hemed and Knockaert eventually made way.
Soon after his arrival Zamora was feeling his lower back and looked less mobile than he has recently.
Wilson ran after everything, but had few touches , Zamora won a few knock downs but was well marshalled by Tom Lees
It was Wednesday who look more like scoring as the match wore on . Lewis Dunk trying to save throw in on halfway blasted the ball out for a corner , luckily the set- piece came to nothing for Wednesday.
Stockdale had to make a few routine catches and takes under pressure. Atdhe Nuhiu on as a sub for the Owls put himself about and made life difficult for Dunk. Nuhiu has quite a good touch for such a big man.
Albion almost broke through towards the end . Lua Lua with a snap shot from outside the area, that was deflected up and over. And a couple corners , which Stephens lofted in but Wednesday easily cleared. But the stalemate could not be broken.
This season is becoming a little remiscent the 1990/91 edition. With the Seagulls within touching distance of the automatic places in March, but not quite getting there at the business end.
Let’s hope 25 years later the Seagulls can take that leap forward without the lottery of the playoffs.
Beating Reading at the Amex next Tuesday is a must , followed by a victory at MK Dons on the following Saturday to cement themselves in automatic promotion contention.
April with Burnley and Derby due at the Amex could be Albion’s biggest month since the corresponding one in 1983.