Sheffield Wednesday 0 Derby County 0 - Full Time report

Sheffield Wednesday's Kieran Lee in action against Derby County's Bradley Johnson
Sheffield Wednesday's Kieran Lee in action against Derby County's Bradley Johnson

Sheffield Wednesday missed an opportunity to break into the top six as they were held to a goalless draw by Derby County at Hillsborough.

The Owls were on top for most of the game against a team who have lost just twice this season and who currently sit in third place in the Championship, but they failed to make their dominance count.

Sheffield Wednesday's Glenn Loovens gets away from Derby County's Chris Martin

Sheffield Wednesday's Glenn Loovens gets away from Derby County's Chris Martin

Carlos Carvalhal's side do deserve a lot of credit for their performance though. They were missing key players yet still managed to shackle one of the best attacking sides in the division and at least showed that they can compete with those teams also at the upper end of the table, even if a victory against the top six still eludes them

Wednesday are now seventh in the league, level on points with sixth placed Cardiff, who they travel to next week, but with an inferior goal difference.

Carvalhal made six changes to the side that lost to Stoke City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night - some of them enforced.

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Tom Lees, who came off injured in that 2-0 defeat, was replaced in the back four by Sam Hutchinson, with Alex Lopez making a return to the midfield.

Also in the middle of the park the influential Barry Bannan, who had been out of action since the defeat to Charlton last month, was back in the starting line up, with Modou Sougou dropping onto the bench.

Liam Palmer covered for the injured Jack Hunt, Keiren Westwood came back in for Joe Wildsmith in goal and Daniel Pudil came in for Rhoys Wiggins. Fernando Forestieri, who was cup tied for the Britannia clash, was picked ahead of Gary Hooper who also started on the bench.

The opening stages were tepid with neither side really creating any clear-cut chances. The closest either came was on nine minutes when Ross Wallace fed Palmer on the right and the full-back's dangerous cross just evaded the onrushing Lucas Joao.

As the half wore on though, Wednesday began to take a foothold on the game and on 15 minutes almost took the lead in the most spectacular of fashion. Palmer showed great determination to keep the ball in play on the right wing and when the ball eventually fell to Wallace, 25 yards from goal at an angle, the former Burnley player's sweetly struck effort was acrobatically tipped over by Rams keeper Lee Grant.

In the 18th minute, fans stood for a minute's applause in memory of Wednesday fan Caroline Everest whose body was found in a river in Sheffield last month.

The game again lost it's spark for a while, though Wednesday remained in control of proceedings, the Owls midfield in particular working hard to ensure that Derby's normally impressive frontline were given limited opportunity to test a defence that had obviously not played together before.

And when Carvalhal's side attacked, they looked dangerous with Wallace and Bannan the architects in the middle and Palmer providing a decent outlet on the right with his overlapping runs.

However, the visitors were defending well, too, and most of Wednesday's efforts on goal were coming from outside the box.

On 26 minutes Bannan tried his luck from distance but the shot flew well over and two minutes later Forestieri was next up to shoot from range but after cutting in from the left, he too failed to find the target from around 20 yards.

While Wednesday continued to dominate, neither they nor the visitors threatened the opposing goal as the teams went in at the break scoreless.

Derby began the second half with more like the urgency that was expected of them in the opening period.

On 49 minutes Bradley Johnson headed over from a Jacob Butterfield cross and four minutes later, after Hutchinson had received his obligatory booking, Chris Martin saw his free kick from 22 yards deflected away. The resulting corner came to nothing.

That proved to be short-lived though and the home side again began to take control.

On 56 minutes Bannan fed Joao in the box and though the striker's shot was blocked, the ball fell to Pudil who pulled his shot wide of Grant's goal.

On 63 minutes there was an indication of just how hard Wednesday had worked to thwart Derby's attack when the almost anonymous Tom Ince was replaced by Johnny Russell. Defender Stephen Warnock also came off, with Chris Baird coming in in his place for the Rams.

With a little under 15 minutes remaining Carvalhal made his first change, Joao coming off for Hooper, while Derby made their last, Darren Bent entering the fray for Andreas Weimann.

Wallace tried his luck again from distance on 79 minutes, but fired over as the game increasingly looked likely to end with a blank.

The Owls were given a huge scare a minute later when Glenn Loovens passed back to Westwood who rushed out and handled under pressure giving Derby an indirect free kick 15 yards from goal. Johnson received the ball and blasted against the crossbar. Westwood eventually gathered and the home fans breathed a sigh of relief.

With eight minutes remaining Loovens headed wide after rising highest to meet a Wallace corner