Match Report: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wigan 1 match abandoned

Jermaine Johnson tries to make a splash
Jermaine Johnson tries to make a splash

Torrential rain turned Hillsborough into a paddy field and left referee Keith Stroud with no alternative but to call off last night’s match.

There will be some Owls fans who will think the the weather and the Hampshire official did Wednesday something of a favour.

Wigan supporters were the ones who were booing in frustration, with their team 1-0 up and having largely been the better side.

But Stuart Gray had made a double substitution at half -time and there were signs of his team starting to fight back.

Would they have done enough to earn at least a point and move out of the bottom three?

We shall never know.

Conditions were farcical at the time the match was abandoned in the 60th minute, after a cloudburst early in the second half, on top of rain throughout the first half and a deluge early in the game, created a large amount of surface water.

The ball was sticking on the surface in the second half and it became impossible to pass it.

Mr Stroud tried his best to let the game run.

After Wigans’s Nick Powell splashed towards the Leppings Lane end in the 57th minute and then mis-hit his finish because of the conditions, the ref ran to the touchline to consult managers Gray and Uwe Rosler.

After a brief discussion, play was re-started and the rain eased.

But after a further three minutes of players splashing around and the ball sticking, and no sign of the water draining away, the ref whistled and raised his arms above his head, to signal the end.

Even at the start of the game, heavy rain and a swirling wind made conditions difficult.

It was a not a night for goalkeepers to take any risks and Damian Martinez beat away a 32-yard free kick by Ben Watson rather than trying to catch it.

This came during some slick attacking towards the Kop end by the Latics in a fluid 3-5-2 formation.

Wednesday combated Wigan’s numbers in midfield with the same ploy that worked at Watford:, with Connor Wickham the sole central striker.

Jacques Maghoma, operating more down the right than in the middle, tested ex-Owls loan loan keeper Scott Carson with a firmly struck effort from 30 yards that brought a save similar to Martinez’s a little earlier.

Wigan’s passing and movement posed a threat but they were helped by Wednesday when they took the lead in the 24th minute. An attempted clearance by Roger Johnson on the edge of the box hit a team-mate and the ball ran for forward James McClean to drill a shot along the ground and give Martinez no chance.

The Owls were outnumbered in a raid that could have made it 2-0 five minutes later but an interception by Reda Johnson in front of goal saved the day.

Two minutes after that it was Martinez to the rescue when he stopped a powerful shot form Nick Powell - the chance having stemmed from another Roger Johnson clearance that hit someone and resulted in the ball running free in the danger area.

With more than half an hour gone the Owls had spent most of their time trying to get to grips with the Latics and had built up no attacking momentum - partly due to the way the visitors pressed high up the pitch and worked hard to close them down.

There were also too many errors by the Owls, for example when Seyi Olofinaja lost possession in midfield

Wickham was entitled to feel confident after his goal last Saturday but the range was too far even for him when he sent an ambitious free kick over the bar from midway in the opposition’s half.

For once the Owls played a quality ball into the box in the 44th minute: it came from Liam Palmer, and a long-distance header by Roger Johnson was kept out of the top corner by Carson.

Wednesday at times seemed nervy at the back, and it was a poor ball by Glenn Loovens that gave away possession just before half time.

Fortunately Wigan failed to take advantage on this occasion but they were never slow to hit the Owls on the break.

It was hardly a surprise when Gray made a double substition at half time.

He took off Jeremy Helan and Olofinjana, sent on Atdhe Nuhiu up front with Wickham and put Jermaine Johnson on the right in a 4-4-2.

It had been raining during the first half but a monsoon-like downpour struck early in the second; the rain falling like a curtain.

However it did not stop Wickham slipping a pass to Palmer, and he hit the outside of Carson’s left-hand post.

Martinez did well in holding a firm strike by Jordi Gomez that did manage to fizz along the ground.

Gray made one change to the side that started the 1-0 win at Watford as Olofinjana came in for Stephen McPhail.

Joe Mattock was kept out of last Saturday’s game by a thigh injury but unexpectedly was fit enough to return on the bench.

Gray mentioned beforehand that Wigan had a big squad to help them through this busy period; sure enough his former Southampton player Rosler made five changes though his team beat Bolton 3-2 on Sunday.

Winger Callum McManaman, who starred in that game, was moved to the bench and there was no place at all for ex-Owls striker Grant Holt.

OWLS: Martinez 8, Palmer 7, Roger Johnson 6, Loovens 6, Reda Johnson 7, Lee 6, Olofinjana 5 (Nuhiu ht), Semedo 6, Maghoma 6, Helan 5 (J Johnson ht), Wickham 6. Subs: Kirkland, McCabe, Mattock, McPhail, Llera.

WIGAN: Carson 8, Crainey 7, Rogne 6, Barnett 6, Powell 7, Perch 7, McCann 7, Watson 7, Gomez 6 (Shotton 55), McArthur 7, McClean 6. Subs: Al Habsi, McManaman, Espinoza, Beausejour, Keane, Fortune.

Booking: McArthur.

ATTENDANCE: 22,615

REFEREE: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)