John Ashdown on 12 January 2018
Jos Luhukay made a moderately successful start to his tenure at Sheffield Wednesday, with his struggling Owls side holding on for a 0-0 draw at their Steel City neighbours United, despite being reduced to 10 men midway through the second half.
The former Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin manager was a surprise appointment as successor to Carlos Carvalhal and was handed the toughest possible start to his tenure – an away trip to Wednesday’s city rivals, who had left Hillsborough with a 4-2 win in September.
Chris Wilder’s play-off chasing side, though, could not find a way past Joe Wildsmith in the Wednesday goal even after Glenn Loovens was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.
Both sides were indebted to their goalkeepers for superb saves to preserve the deadlock in the second half.
After an even first half full of intensity but little incident United came close to taking the lead five minutes after the break. Clayton Donaldson’s looping header was arcing towards the top corner but Wildsmith somehow reached back to claw the effort over the bar.
Loovens’ red card soon followed after a trip on Donaldson but Wednesday came closest to snatching victory in the closing stages. Ross Wallace’s deflected effort was superbly kept out by the Sheffield United goalkeeper, Simon Moore, and as 90 minutes approached Adam Reach’s dipping volley seemed set to give Luhukay a winning debut only for Moore, still groggy after running into a defender during the previous attack, to react to tip away once more.
The point takes the Blades back into the play-off places, albeit temporarily, while Wednesday are now seven points clear of the relegation zone.