Match Details: 25/01/2011
Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Yeovil Town
npower League One
Yeovil Goals: Dean Bowditch (15), Paul Huntington (57)
Yeovil Line-Up: 5. Paul Huntington, 6. Nathan Smith, 7. Andy Williams, 8. Luke Ayling, 10. Dean Bowditch, 11. Andy Welsh, 12. Oli Johnson, 13. Stephen Henderson, 14. Max Ehmer, 16. Ed Upson, 20. Paul Wotton,
Subs: 1. Richard Martin, 9. Sam Williams, 15. Alex Russell, 17. Craig Calver, 19. Adam Virgo, 23. Billy Gibson, 31. Rhys Baggridge
Substitutes Used: Adam Virgo for Dean Bowditch (66 mins), Sam Williams for Oli Johnson (76 mins), Alex Russell for Ed Upson (90 mins)
Bookings: Luke Ayling (Foul, 53), , , Stephen Henderson (Dissent, 70), Andy Williams (Dissent, 70)
Yeovil Town came within four minutes of embarrassing former Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday on their own patch tonight, when they claimed a 2-2 draw at Hillsborough, despite finishing the game with nine men. With Luke Ayling and Adam Virgo already back in the dressing room, it was only in the 86th minute that Reda Johnson bundled home a loose ball to salvage a point for the home side that at one stage they didn't look like getting, as goals from Dean Bowditch and Paul Huntington had put the Glovers ahead, sandwiched by a Gary Madine equaliser for the Owls.
The Glovers went into the match making one change to Saturday's line-up, and as expected it was Oli Johnson who got his first start for the club, replacing Sam Williams, who has been struggling for form lately. Otherwise, all other aspects were left alone. The home side made six changes from their side that were thrashed 4-0 by Leyton Orient on the weekend, but were still able to name a squad full of big name players.
The opening period was one of largely nothingness. A few balls into each side's penalty area, but without actual consequence. The best fell to Yeovil with Dean Bowditch trying a snap shot from the edge of the box, that Owls keeper Nicky Weaver beat out. On 15 minutes, Bowditch had more luck on goal - in fact a sizeable chunk of luck. His left wing move into the box saw his cross blocked by Owls full-back Tommy Spurr, but the ball looped up and over Weaver into the back of the net for a bit of a freak opening goal.
Inevitably the home side tried to exert pressure on the Yeovil goal, with Gary Teale's near post shot well saved onto the post by Stephen Henderson - only for referee Trevor Kettle to inexplicably award a goal kick. It's a wonder Hendo didn't charge out of his area to complain about his save not being given the credit it deserved. But the Owls drew level on 36 minutes, with a bit of a soft goal - a Tommy Spurr cross that looked to be easy for Luke Ayling to deal with, but he allowed Gary Madine to get his head on the ball first and plant the ball home with the simplest of touches. 1-1.
The half closed with both sides having good chances - firstly Andy Williams missed from six yards out, then with the final move of the half, a flicked header in the box saw Stephen Henderson react beautifully by leaping high to his left to palm the ball away. The Glovers were playing well, although Wednesday looked perhaps a bit more dangerous in front of goal. None of us knew what was going to hit us in the second half though.
We probably should have known we were in for an odd second half, when minutes after the restart, a Wednesday player decided to deposit the contents of his stomach onto the pitch, causing several minutes delay whilst the medical team worked out how to treat him. And how to deal with the mess he'd left behind.
In matters concerning football though, things were going well. Andy Williams had a free kick on the angle of the area deflected out for a corner, and when Andy Welsh sent in the set piece, Paul Huntington was on hand to climb through a crowd of players and head home to put Yeovil's noses back in front, seeing the centre-back celebrate his fourth goal of the season wildly in front of the travelling Glovers fans.
There was a twist in the tale though. Never bet on a match involving referee Trevor Kettle finishing quietly. True to form, the temperature in the game had begun to be turned up just before Yeovil's second goal, when Luke Ayling's foul on Neil Mellor saw him booked, and Giles Coke carded for the home side for throwing a hissy fit in front of Kettle when his efforts to get Ayling sent off didn't succeed. However, on 64 minutes, Ayling's rather unnecessary challenge on Gary Teale close to the byline belatedly got Coke what he wanted, pushing the Glovers down to 10 men with Ayling's second yellow card.
The Glovers brought on Adam Virgo to rebalance the side and give them a back four again, but Virgo's stay on the pitch lasted just three minutes. Stephen Henderson had just parried out a Wednesday shot on goal, and as the loose ball bobbled up, Gary Madine aimed to take advantage, and referee Trevor Kettle ruled that Virgo had stopped Madine from scoring. The general consensus was that it was for a push in the back, although we'll await replays on that one. The end result was a penalty, and Kettle's second red card in five minutes.
Stephen Henderson and Andy Williams were booked for dissent as the Kettle Machine cranked itself into full power. Up stepped Giles Coke to level the game at 2-2 and scored ... only he didn't. Referee Kettle decided that Wednesday had encroached on the first attempt and so Coke was invited to try again. This time though he 'did a Chris Waddle', landing the ball high into the home end and keeping the Glovers advantage alive at 2-1.
Thereafter, with 21 minutes remaining and 11 vs 9 on the pitch, came the Alamo. Wednesday's tactics were odd to say the least, preferring to lump high balls into Yeovil's box, rather than to pass their way around the Glovers team and stretch them out. With Stephen Henderson in inspired form on the night though, giving him more balls to punch away was giving the Glovers the chance of something incredible, and against the odds.
It didn't quite happen though. After Henderson had made another blinding close range save to deny Neil Mellor, and with Wednesday now having four strikers on the field of play in their efforts to bash the door down, they finally succeeded when Henderson made a double save, but couldn't hold onto the ball on either occasion, and Reda Johnson was the first to react on the third occasion by bundling in from close range to pull the scores back to 2-2.
Of course the big fear now was that the Glovers might come out with nothing. With the on-pitch vomiting session early in the half, coupled with two red cards, and a twice taken penalty, the six minutes worth of injury time were to be expected, and Yeovil needed one more outstanding Stephen Henderson save to keep Wednesday out, and to give them a point to take home with them. An incredibly gutsy second half display, and one where on paper Wednesday should have murdered them with eleven players on the pitch, let alone nine. But they held on, and after a lengthy post-match on-the-pitch huddle that continued long after all the disgruntled Owls fans had left the stadium and stopped chanting for manager Alan Irvine's head, the more popular of the two dugout managers led his men down to the away end to take a bow. With Luke Ayling and Adam Virgo, the back four and defensive cover at Griffin Park on Saturday will be thin to say the least, although Jean-Paul Kalala will be back in the reckoning to fill Ayling's slot, but for now let's enjoy another one of those nights to remember.
Final Score: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Dean Bowditch (15 mins, 0-1), Gary Madine (36 mins, 1-1), Paul Huntington (57 mins, 1-2), Reda Johnson (86 mins, 2-2)
1. Nicky Weaver 7. Mark Reynolds 6. Michael Morrison 22. Reda Johnson 2. Tommy Spurr 21. Gary Teale 10. Giles Coke 14. Darren Potter 23. Jermaine Johnson 32. Gary Madine 33. Neil Mellor
25. Arron Jameson (GK) 9. Paul Heffernan (66 mins for Gary Teale) 11. Daniel Jones 15. Mark Beevers 17. James O'Connor 24. Chris Sedgwick (88 mins for Michael Morrison) 30. Clinton Morrison (76 mins for Mark Reynolds)
13. Stephen Henderson
8. Luke Ayling 5. Paul Huntington 14. Max Ehmer 6. Nathan Smith
11. Andrew Welsh 16. Edward Upson 20. Paul Wotton 10. Dean Bowditch
7. Andrew Williams 12. Oli Johnson
1. Richard Martin (GK) 9. Sam Williams (76 mins for Oli Johnson) 15. Alex Russell (90 mins for Edward Upson) 17. Craig Calver 19. Adam Virgo (66 mins for Dean Bowditch) 23. Billy Gibson 31. Rhys Baggridge
Wednesday Bookings: Giles Coke (53 mins, dissent), Mark Reynolds (57 mins, foul), Jermaine Johnson (76 mins, off the ball incident)
Yeovil Bookings: Luke Ayling (53 mins, foul), Andy Williams (70 mins, dissent), Stephen Henderson (70 mins, dissent). Red Card: Luke Ayling (64 mins, second bookable offence), Adam Virgo (69 mins, professional foul).
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Assistants: Ryan Johnson (Manchester) and Peter Wright (Merseyside). Fourth Official: Ricky Wootton (West Riding).
Attendance: 16,618 (including 228 Yeovil fans).