Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Burnley: Clarets held at Hillsborough
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/02/16 10:08pm
Sheffield Wednesday proved they are not in the Sky Bet Championship promotion race just to make the numbers up after matching Burnley in a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough.
The Owls are competing at the top end of the second tier for the first time since Premier League relegation over 15 years ago and they remain a point adrift of the top six after Kieran Lee's second-half strike cancelled out Andre Gray's 18th goal of the season.
It was a fair result for Carlos Carvalhal's men, who are now unbeaten at home in 12 league games stretching back to August, and on this showing they can compete on a level with the other promotion contenders.
Burnley are definitely one of those, but will be ruing their inability to hammer home a strong start,with only Gray's effort to show for it.
Sean Dyche's men remain in the hunt for automatic promotion, though, as their good form continues.
Having won their last three Championship games by an aggregate score of 10-2, it is no surprise that the Clarets arrived at Hillsborough full of confidence and that was highlighted in a fast start.
Gray stung the palms of Keiren Westwood from distance with less than 30 seconds on the clock, but just two and a half minutes later he was celebrating his 18th goal of the season.
Sam Vokes spun his marker with far too much ease and was able to roll the ball across the face of goal where Gray had the simplest of tap-ins from three yards.
The visitors were playing with authority and Scott Arfield missed a golden chance to double the lead from 12 yards, but he blazed George Boyd's pull-back well over.
That escape saw the Owls finally kick into gear and they created three good chances to level following a sustained spell of pressure.
Fernando Forestieri was unable to turn Gary Hooper's flick past Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton, former Claret Ross Wallace fizzed a dipping effort just over the bar, while Forestieri struck straight at Heaton from the edge of the area.
Although Wednesday ended the half on top they were grateful to goalkeeper Westwood who produced an impressive save to deny Vokes' header. The Irishman held on to the ball under pressure from Stephen Ward and perilously close to his goal line.
The magnitude of that save became heightened shortly after the restart as the Owls needed just three minutes of the second half to draw level.
Barry Bannan clipped the ball in to Atdhe Nuhiu whose header down was perfect for Lee to finish from eight yards.
That gave Wednesday the momentum and they pushed immediately for a second, with Forestieri dragging a shot wide from 20 yards.
But Burnley weathered the storm had a great chance to regain the lead with 20 minutes remaining as an exquisite cross from Matt Taylor found Vokes free at the back post but he could not make a clean connection and put his effort wide.
Both sides huffed and puffed in search of a winner but they had to settle for a point apiece.