Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Derby: Bradley Johnson comes closest in stalemate
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 06/12/15 5:01pm
Derby were unable to keep pace with the top two in the Championship after being held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
In a game of few clear chances, Bradley Johnson went closest to breaking the deadlock late in the second half when he crashed his shot against the underside of the bar from an indirect free-kick.
Lee Grant made a good save to keep out Ross Wallace's dipping half-volley at the other end as both sides had to settle for a point.
The draw means Derby remain third behind Middlesbrough and Brighton, both of whom won over the weekend, while the Owls move up a place to seventh.
Neither side was able to find the finishing touch in a cagey game, with Wednesday shading the first half and Derby improving after the break.
The hosts made five changes from their Capital One Cup defeat to Stoke in midweek while Grant replaced injured keeper Scott Carson for Derby and Johnson returned from suspension.
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It was Grant who was involved in the best moment of the opening 45 minutes as he pulled off a fine one-handed save to keep out Wallace's half-volley.
Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri failed to trouble Grant with long-efforts while Derby struggled in the final third and did not muster a shot on target before the interval.
They made a more positive start to the second half as Johnson headed over from Jacob Butterfield's free-kick.
Daniel Pudil fired across goal at the other end before Johnson forced Keiren Westwood into his first save of the afternoon in the 67th minute.
Westwood then handled a Glenn Loovens back pass to give Derby an indirect free-kick just inside the area, with Johnson smashing a shot against the bar from Johnny Russell's lay-off.
Wednesday could have won it late on but Loovens headed wide from a corner as the game finished goalless.
"I analysed the game and I think they played very well, but today I think we played better than the opponent. I am not saying we are better than Derby, but today I think we had more quality on the pitch. This is good for us, this is good for the future."
"I didn't think we played very well today - I was very disappointed at the end of the first half. It was slightly better in the second half and in the end we were only a crossbar away from nicking it, but I think overall it was probably a fair result. It might prove to be a very valuable point at the end of the season."