Owls set to have a big say in League One relegation battle
24 April 2011 12:07
Wednesday take a point at Walsall with two more strugglers still to play With the Owls clear of relegation trouble and the play-off places sadly a distant dream that ended far too early there seems to be little more than pride for the team to play for. With 3 games to go Gary Megson will no doubt have his team focussed on trying to pick up a maximum haul in these games to give the beleaguered fans something to cheer and some of his players will still be playing for their futures at Hillsborough. Wednesday’s run in will have a major say in which teams are relegated from League One and Exeter could yet come to Hillsborough on the final day of the season with a play-off place in sight. The Owls travelled to Walsall on Saturday to face Dean Smith’s side, who started the day in the bottom four. Giles Coke, recalled to the starting line-up in place of Jermaine Johnson, saw an early effort saved by Walsall keeper Walker after good work from O’Connor but it was the home side that were generally in the ascendancy in the early exchanges and they took the lead just inside 10 minutes. Julian Gray’s cross was headed back across goal by Taundry and veteran striker Jon Macken made no mistake from close range. Wednesday were level after 25 minutes when Walker could do no more than parry a fierce strike from Lewis Buxton and Neil Mellor was on hand to put home the rebound. Having got back on terms the visitors finished the half strongly and twice went close in the closing stages with Madine headers. Buoyed by their strong finish to the 1st half Wednesday started the 2nd period in good fashion with Buxton again causing problems coming forward from full-back, his weaving run ending with a shot on goal that Walker did well to tip round the post. With 20 minutes to go the Owls spurned a fine chance to take the lead as Gary Madine somehow contrived to head Teale’s cross down into the ground and up over the bar with the goal at his mercy. The home side struggled to create many scoring opportunities in the 2nd half with the best chances coming from set-pieces. Matt Richards, the Saddlers top scorer this season, tried his luck from 2 free-kicks in promising positions in the final 10 minutes, one of which was comfortably saved by O’Donnell in the Owls goal with the other hitting the wall. James O’Connor had the final chance of the game in the last minute but Walker was equal to his low strike and Wednesday had to settle for a point in a game they should perhaps have won. Time will tell if the point will prove to be a valuable one for Walsall as they remain in the relegation places but only on goal difference. Wednesday’s next game is at home to Swindon Town on Easter Monday. Swindon are bottom of the table and a defeat at Hillsborough could see them relegated if results go against them. The Owls then travel another club currently in the relegation zone, Bristol Rovers next Saturday.