Match report: Burnley 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Chris Maguire runs into the Burnley box, turns past Jason Shackell and goes over his out-stretched leg but no penalty was given and referee Stuart Atwell booked Maguire for diving.
Chris Maguire runs into the Burnley box, turns past Jason Shackell and goes over his out-stretched leg but no penalty was given and referee Stuart Atwell booked Maguire for diving.
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If this was Premier League football then Owls fans’ biggest talking point of an enthralling contest at Turf Moor on Saturday would have been replayed repeatedly, discussed at length and dissected in fine detail before now.

Was Chris Maguire fouled before he hit the ground in the Burnley box?

Yes, was the gut reaction from my viewpoint, a long way off and after just one viewing at normal speed.

He is a forward who loves to shoot, was cutting inside on to his left foot and was about to pull the trigger as he went past Jason Shackell.

Owls players’ angry reaction told what they thought of Stuart Attwell’s decision to refuse a penalty and book Maguire for diving.

When even the opposing manager thinks it was a foul, you know you have a strong case. And one photograph suggests that there was contact.

A goal from the spot would have put the Owls 2-1 up in the 78th minute and raised hopes of them becoming the first team to win at Turf Moor this season.

Instead, there are two remarkable statistics, besides the achievement of a good away point: The number of Wednesday 1-1 draws this season now totals 10 in all competitions, and they have yet to be awarded a penalty.

“It’s par for the course,” said Stuart Gray, “a bit disappointed” with the Maguire no-penalty decision but pleased with the team’s battling performance and a seventh successive game unbeaten.

The caretaker boss also expected a spot-kick at 0-0 after Kieran Lee was about to shoot when he was tackled by David Jones. “I couldn’t believe there was no penalty there, the same with Maguire,” he said.

I was less sure about that first incident. Lee got

up, ran back and did not seem to complain. But there were plenty of decisions that annoyed one team or the other, which was just about the only downside of an gripping tussle.

As you might expect, Burnley made most of the running and were an industrious unit sprinkled with quality.

But the Owls defended with spirit and created enough chances and situations to have nicked a win, very cruel though that would have been on the Clarets.

Gray boldly decided against using the usual 4-5-1 away formation and went 4-4-2, with Caolan Lavery making his full debut alongside Connor Wickham.

Lavery showed pace an eagerness and had two opportunities: one at 0-0 when he sent an angled shot across goal, the other in the second half when he was found by a first-class ball from Lee and his effort was deflected into the air and well saved.

The other debut-maker, Oguchi Onyewu, showed a bit of understandable rustiness early in the game, and his under-hit header towards Kirkland left the keeper and Glenn Loovens having to mop up.

But after that the USA international was steady on the whole and always powerful in the air, alongside another classy show from Loovens, who was captain in the absence of Reda Johnson.

Gray said: “Caolan did okay. It was just his chance in the first half; he normally puts those away. For all Burnley’s strength in (centre-halves) Duff and Shackell, I felt they don’t like the ball down the sides , a bit of pace. It just needed that bit of pace. But our final ball to the front was poor at times ehen we could have slipped them (the forwards) in.

“I thought we’d come here and have a go. We needed to put pressure on their back four and try to get on the front foot.

“Our decision-making in the first half wasn’t as good as it was against Leeds or Macclesfield.

“But sometimes you are in games where you have to defend. The boys put their bodies on the line, and when Burnley have got past the back four, Kirky has made a couple of good saves.

“It was a bit scary at the end. You ask your players to stand up and be counted. Ours did. I’m a great believer that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“Oguchi grew into the game. I think he was just caught out with the tempo at first. In the second half, he and Glenn Loovens were awesome. They dealt with every ball that went forward. Oguchi is comfortable in possession as well; he’s shown that in training.”

Wednesday finished up hanging on. 21-goal Danny Ings missed an inviting cross, hit the post and saw his well-struck shot in the fifth minute of stoppage time turned over the bar by Kirkland.

But just before came one of the incidents where Gray no doubt thought Wednesday could have done better. A marvellous clearance by Joe Mattock sent Wickham away, and he had Atdhe Nuhiu and Maguire up in support but shot wide from 25 yards.

Mattock also figured in the equaliser. An excellent free-kick by Wickham to the far post was headed back across goal by Onyewu, and the left-back nodded it on to Maguire, who half-volleyed his fourth goal in five games.

That was a timely tonic, in the last minute of the first half and two minutes after Burnley pounced on Jose Semedo to nick the ball and lift it over the top for Sam Vokes to notch his 13th goal of the season.

Other Clarets chances saw midfielder Dean Marney, with a close-range shot, centre-back Michael Duff, with a free header from a free kick, and midfielder Scott Arfield, with an angled drive, all miss the target. When Jones did strike a goalbound effort, Liam Palmer was on the line to head a great clearance.

It was a battling show from the Owls and it left them unbeaten in their last eight visits to Turf Moor.