Owls earn City replay
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sheffield Wednesday held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in their FA Cup third round tie.
Sheffield Wednesday held Premiership side Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in their FA Cup third round tie at Hillsborough.
Following a goalless first half, Georgios Samaras gave City an undeserved lead from the penalty spot late on before Steven MacLean earned a replay with an equaliser seconds later.
The result was the least that the Championship side deserved, as Wednesday looked more threatening throughout the game, but their finishing lacked quality at critical stages.
City boss Stuart Pearce named a strong line-up for the trip to South Yorkshire, while Owls boss Brian Laws made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Hull City, as Graham Coughlan and MacLean replaced the suspended Madjid Bougherra and Yoann Folly.
In front of a large and passionate Hillsborough crowd, which included Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton and Derby County manager Billy Davies, it was the home side that started brightly.
Tommy Spurr had the first effort for Wednesday, but his shot flew high and wide of the target.
Chris Brunt then had an even better chance on the counter-attack, but he completely misconnected with his strike in the City box after initially being released by Glenn Whelan.
Kenny Lunt was then successful in testing City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, but his long-range effort flew straight at the visiting shot-stopper.
Wednesday's will to battle was clear to see all over the pitch, with Deon Burton receiving a yellow card from referee Graham Poll for a foul on City right-back Hatem Trabelsi.
From the ensuing free-kick, Samaras knocked the loose ball into the Wednesday net, but Poll had already blown his whistle for a dubiously-looking foul on Owls goalkeeper Mark Crossley.
In fact, the on-loan Fulham custodian had very little to do in the opening 45 minutes, as City failed to muster up a single decent goalscoring opportunity.
City's Micah Richards, who has been the subject of January transfer speculation, was fortunate to stay on the pitch when he threw Whelan to the ground following a tussle for the ball, with Poll only giving him a yellow card.
The half ended with Wednesday creating chances, with both Lunt and Burton striking shots wide of Weaver's goal from the edge of the box.
The second half started in a lively fashion, with Sylvain Distin fortunate to see his mis-hit clearance to a Frankie Simek cross from the right fly away for a corner.
From the ensuing corner, Lee Bullen thought he had given The Owls the lead, but Samaras proved City's saviour after he cleared away the Wednesday captain's header on the goal line.
Moments later, City finally created their first real chance of the game, as Darius Vassell went in one-on-one on Crossley, but the veteran keeper was able to divert the City striker's close-range shot away to safety.
The home side kept pressing for the opening goal, but Brunt was only able to find the side-netting from close range before striking a rasping drive just over Weaver's crossbar later in the half.
Whelan also struggled to find the target with a similar, ambitious effort after playing a one-two with striker MacLean.
City started to create more chances in the second half, with Distin woefully volleying Richard Dunne's downward header from a corner over the Wednesday crossbar from close range, while Dunne himself failed to punish a poor Owls clearance when he struck his shot high and wide of the target.
Vassell then had another one-on-one chance with Crossley after being put through on goal by Richards, but Crossley was again equal to his strike before DaMarcus Beasley struck a shot well wide of the target.
Wednesday fans then had shouts for a penalty when MacLean looked to have been brought down by Dunne in the City box, but Poll waved away any appeals from the home side.
He then had no hesitation in giving a spot kick seconds later at the other end, as Lunt was adjudged to have brought down Richards in the Wednesday box.
Samaras stepped up to slot his penalty under the diving Crossley and give City a somewhat undeserved lead on 78 minutes.
The scoreline was harsh on The Owls, but MacLean soon restored parity when he curled a fine finish past a diving Weaver and off the far post to delight the Hillsborough crowd.
The Owls deserved to be level for their performance on Sunday, and MacLean should have given Wednesday the lead, but he mis-hit his shot from close range after having the goal at his mercy, while Owls substitute Wade Small struck a weak shot wide of Weaver's near post.
The last chance fell to City, but Crossley was on hand again to save Dunne's header and force the third round tie to a replay at The City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday 17th January.
|Sheffield Wednesday||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||2|