Match Report: Brighton 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Loan striker Matty Fryatt scores on his full debut for Wednesday to give the Owls a lead they held until the last few minutes
Loan striker Matty Fryatt scores on his full debut for Wednesday to give the Owls a lead they held until the last few minutes
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Matty Fryatt’s long wait ended last night - and Wednesday’s almost did.

The striker’s first league goal in 18 months set the Owls on the path towards their first win of the season.

But a late equaliser by Brighton midfield man Keith Andrews reduced their reward for a steely performance to one point - and still a good one, despite that anti-climax.

Fryatt, making his full debut, netted clinically in the 43rd minute from a ball by Jeremy Helan.

Brighton had their chances but Wednesday battled all the way.

Manager Dave Jones tailored his line-up to suit this demanding away game against opposition known for fluent football.

In giving Jose Semedo a rare start, the Owls boss opted for extra steel in midfield to combat Brighton and back up Stephen McPhail and Giles Coke.

That meant a switch to the bench for last Saturday’s second striker, Jermaine Johnson, while Fryatt’s full debut up front meant Atdhe Nuhiu getting his customary role for away games, on the bench.

Coke took up an advanced midfield position behind Fryatt and obviously had licence to go forward..

A delicate chip created the first chance in the seventh minute, Striker David Lopez was away through the middle but missed his touch, and the ball ran through to Chris Kirkland.

Wednesday had a similar let-off seven minutes later.

Again they were caught out by a ball over the top; Ulloa got clear but his touch was not perfect and a moment’s delay aided Kirkland, who was speeding out to dive at the forward’s feet just inside the box.

Wednesday largely nullified the home team and prevented them from building up pressure as the first half wore on.

Roger Johnson slid in to block a shot from Andrew Crofts, and Kirkland easily stopped a 25-yard effort by the midfielder.

The Owls had hardly been able to do anything going forward. But it was half a chance when Reda Johnson headed a Lewis Buxton free-kick downwards into the keeper’s arms.

On the break, LuaLua took on Buxton and went down. Play on, ruled the ref, as Kirkland gave the forward a piece of his mind.

A free-kick to Wednesday in their area after pushing and shoving preceded a melee and bookings for Semedo and midfield opponent Andrews.

The Owls grabbed the lead in the 43rd minute. From the right-side byline. Helan made himself half a hard and clipped the ball in to Fryatt.

The striker, with his back to goal, controlled the ball with his left foot, spun and clipped home a low shot with his right from eight yards.

Kirkland was right behind a firm header from a corner by Ulloa in first-half stoppage time.

Seagull sboss Oscar Garcia at half-time took off right-back Inigo Calderon, a natural defender, switched the more attack-minded Bruno from right midfield to full-back and sent on another forward, Will Buckley.

Predictably, the Seagulls tried to up their tempo, but Wednesday kept up sterling resistance.

LuaLua, playing on the left side of a three-man forward line, was the danger man, with his pace and trickery.

He set up a move from which two subs almost profited: Kemy Augustien crossed from the left and Ashley Barnes smacked a good chance wide.

LuaLua also inspired an attack from which Andrews volleyed an 18-yard opportunity off target.

McPhail uncharacteristically put his team in trouble with a loose pass in midfield but Miguel Llera got back to make a great tackle.

The Owls saw off the Seagulls initial push in this half and remained hard to break down.

The fact that they were not able to put together much going forward did not dampen the spirits of the 755 away fans who gave them continual backing.

Coke was taken off the 67th minute and Jermaine Johnson sent on to play behind Fryatt - who was also withdrawn, 10 minutes later, and replaced by Liam Palmer, with JJ becoming the main forward.

Any idea that Wednesday were just looking to shut up shop was dispelled with Palmer pressing forward from midfield when possible.

And Helan made a terrific run that could have brought a second goal. He scorched into the box on the left and with a low strike forced Tomas Kuszczak into a good stop.

But late pressure told, and Wednesday were undone at a set-piece. From a throw on the right, the ball was crossed to the far post and headed back across goal for Andrews, unmarked, to slot it home.

Owls: Kirkland 7, Buxton 7, Roger Johnson 8, Llera 7, Reda Johnson 7, Antonio 6, Semedo 7, McPhail 6 (McCabe 87), Coke 7 (J Johnson 67, 6), Helan 7, Fryatt 7 (Palmer 77). Subs: Dawson, Zayatte, Maghoma, Nuhiu.

Seagulls: Kuszczak 7, Calderon 6 (Buckley ht, 6), Greer 7, Upson 7, Ward 6, Saltor 7, Andrews 6, Crofts 7, LuaLua 8, Ulloa 6 (Augustien 56, 6), Lopez 6 (Barnes 57, 6), Subs: Brezovan, El-Abd, Conway, Ince.

Goals: Fryatt (43), Andrews (86).

Bookings: Semedo, Andrews, Llera, Buxton, Lopez.