Match report: Derby County 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Sheffield Wednesday's quest to secure a top six finish goes on after they were pegged back for a draw at Derby County.

Saturday, 23rd April 2016, 2:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2016, 8:08 am
Barry Bannan scored a stunning effort to put Wednesday in front at Derby

Barry Bannan put Wednesday ahead with a stunning strike midway through the second half but substitute Darren Bent headed home an equaliser with eight minutes to go.

Seventh placed Cardiff City erode Weddnesday's cushion in sixth down to four points after beating Bolton Wanderers courtesy of a 94th minute penalty.

It was a game Wednesday largely spent on the back foot with Derby keen to keep the ball and content to play it around midfield, their own play-off place already secured.

But the Owls had their moments, including an excellent spell midway through the first half before coming out like a train for the second half.

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Carlos Carvalhal made one change to his Wednesday side, bringing in Aiden McGeady for the suspended Ross Wallace.

The hosts started the brighter. Jacob Butterfield and Craig Bryson powered their way through several tackles before the ball found its way to Chris Martin who fired low with Keiren Westwood saving easily.

Richard Keogh fired over the bar with the outside of his boot after a neatly-worked free kick routine for the hosts.

It Wednesday a while to find the gaps in a well-organised Derby midfield. Kieran Lee was the first to have any success, carrying the ball 30 yards to the edge of the Derby box and sliding a pass in for Gary Hooper which had too much on it.

Butterfield smacked a low shot from 25 yards which Westwood did well to hold.

Wednesday began to force their way into the game and find gaps.

A dangerous chipped ball from Aiden McGeady on the byline forced full back Cyrus Christie to chest back to keeper Scott Carson.

And Barry Bannan tested the reactions of the former Wednesday loanee with a low drive after neat interplay around the box. Carson parried and the ball was cleared out before Hooper could pounce.

It was Westwood who had to be alert at the other end just before the half hour mark. Craig Bryson smashed a shot from the right corner of the box with the Republic of Ireland international producing a acrobatic tip over the bar.

Derby reassumed control of the game as the half wore on. They seemed content to play the ball around midfield and defence and wait for opportunities.

One almost came when Johnny Russell was released to the byline and chipped a ball over Westwood but no Derby player could make it.

And on the stroke of half time Tom Ince curled a free kick just over the bar from 25 yards.

Wednesday started the second half brightly though it was Will Hughes for the hosts who had the first chance, drilling wide from the edge of the box.

Forestieri produced a brilliant save from Carson with a fine curling effort that seemed destined for the top corner.

And it took a last ditch block to prevent Hooper from hooking in Tom Lees' knockdown from the subsequent corner.

But Derby roared back and really should have been ahead at some point over a very threatening five minute period.

First they were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty when Alex Lopez clipped Christie from behind inside the box.

Then Bryson was in acres of space to receive Christie's pass inside but put his shot at a decent height for Westwood to parry clear.

The best chance of the lot came to Russell who was released one-on-one but saw his tame attempt at a chip blocked.

It took a superb last ditch sliding block from Bannan to take the ball away from the lurking Martin and send it back to Westwood.

After weathering the storm, Wednesday broke the deadlock on 68 minutes.

Bannan latched onto Hooper's flick and powered to the edge of the box before drilling a shot in off the crossbar.

Chances were at a premium after the goal with the hosts appearing somewhat shellshocked.

Forestieri curled a free kick from wide left which clipped the top of the bar on its way over.

Derby began to threaten once again and sent on Bent and former Owls target Nick Blackman in a double change.

And Bent made an immediate impact.

Russell sent in a cross to the back post where Bent rose to head home with his first touch after coming off the bench.

Wednesday sub Marco Matias saw a scuffed shot deflected wide but Derby's Blackman had the best chance to win the game.

He was put in one-on-one with a ball over the top but seemed to be expecting the offside flag, allowing Westwood to slide in before he could get a shot away.

Bryson volleyed straight at Westwood with the last action of the game as the scores level.

And Wednesday head into a high stakes showdown with Cardiff at Hillsborough next Saturday.

Derby: Carson, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Olsson, Russell, Bryson, Hughes (Hanson 75), Butterfield (Blackman 81), Ince (Bent 81), Martin. Subs not used: Mitchell, Buxton, Camara, Wiemann.

Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, McGeady (Matias 68), Lopez, Lee, Bannan, Forestieri (Helan 86), Hooper (Joao 73). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Sasso, Helan, McGugan, Nuhiu.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Attendance: 31,825