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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:26 10th August 2009

Honours even at Hillsborough

It was honours even at Hillsborough as Wednesday let slip a 2-0 lead to allow local rivals Barnsley a share of the spoils from an opening day thriller.

Jermaine Johnson and Michael Gray gave the Owls the perfect platform on which to build victory in a dazzling first half performance from the hosts. But the Reds regrouped and hit back after the break with strikes from Jacob Butterfield and Jon Macken ensuring both sides started the season with a point.

James O'Connor brought the best out of Luke Steele eight minutes in, forcing a smart diving save from the Tykes keeper. But Steele was beaten just a minute later when Gray sent a looping ball over to the back post, where Johnson pivoted to hit a low volley to give Wednesday a dream start.

The Owls were firmly in the driving seat as the first half unfolded with the visitors only rarely moving out of their own half. And when they did, the Wednesday defence looked organised and confident, comfortably quelling any impetus from Simon Davey's side.

Gray curled a free kick narrowly wide before Barnsley, out of the blue, could and should have levelled on the 20-minute mark. A high ball into the penalty area fell perfectly for Macken, who had a clear sight on goal 12 yards out. But although the striker's shot was on target, Lee Grant dived to divert the ball clear for a corner with his legs.

The Reds went close again three minutes later when Butterfield's accurate free kick found Anderson De Silva in space in the danger zone but the midfielder sent his glancing header wide.

Wednesday continued to press, playing neat, passing football but it was Barnsley that carved the next chance, again through Macken. The former Manchester City man was unmarked at the back post and pulled the trigger but Richard Wood came to Wednesday's rescue with a perfectly timed block challenge.

And the Owls promptly went straight up the other end of the field and doubled their advantage on 39 minutes. Tommy Spurr's throw-in was flicked on by Tudgay and Gray was on hand to apply the finishing touch and post his first goal for Wednesday.

Barnsley needed to make an early impression in the second half to haul themselves back into the game and almost did exactly that four minutes after the break. Kayodi Odejayi won an aerial battle with Darren Purse and the ball landed nicely to Macken but his shot was well parried clear by Grant.

The visitors were not to be denied though and pulled a goal back on 58 minutes. Bobby Hassell's cross from the right evaded the Owls' backline and fell to Butterfield, who had time and space to compose himself before driving low and hard into the Leppings Lane net.

Barnsley began to gain the upper hand having been buoyed by Butterfield's strike and for the first time in the game, the Wednesday defence started to feel the strain.

Owls boss Brian Laws introduced Etienne Esajas in a bid to get his side back on track, Francis Jeffers went off and Johnson took his place up front.

But the move did little for Wednesday as the Tykes continued to turn the screw. And Davey's men duly got their reward in the 76th minute. Odejayi's header sent Macken racing clear and the hitman at last found the target, shooting low across Grant to restore parity.

Darren Potter went close for the Owls with a long ranger at the last but Steele made a vital save to leave Wednesday wondering how they ended with only a point when all three were earlier there for the taking.

Owls: Grant, Buxton, Purse, Wood, Spurr, Johnson (Beevers 88), O'Connor, Potter, Gray, Jeffers (Esajas 71), Tudgay

Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Simek, Hinds, McAllister, Miller

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Kozluk, Foster, Moore, Devaney (Bogdanovic 75), Butterfield, De Silva, Campbell-Ryce, Macken, Odejayi

Unused substitutes:
Preece, Hibbert, Adam, L Potter, Sodje, Hume

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 30,644

    Data provided by Press Association

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