Sheffield Wednesday were held to a draw at home against Millwall as the two promotion-aspiring sides battled through a gritty encounter at Hillsborough.
Wednesday came into the game hoping for an improvement in form, having lost three of their four league fixtures last month.
Meanwhile, Millwall come into the fixture hoping to close the gap towards the promotion playoff spots, being just five points off sixth place.
The game got off to a quiet start as both sides failed to get a shot goal-wards in the first 20 minutes.
The first real chance of the game was when Kadeem Harris hit a low struck shot toward Bartosz Bialkowski’s net but it was just wide.
Meanwhile, Millwall’s first chance of the half came when left-back Mahlon Romeo took a shot right outside of the Owl’s box but it sailed wide of Cameron Dawson’s goal.
Wednesday nearly got the goal to go ahead before the break as Harris whipped in a cross from his left-hand side but Adam Reach’s header went just wide of the far post.
Not the most exciting half of football, with neither side really creating anything that test either side.
As the second half recommenced, it continued as gritty as the first.
Wednesday came close in the opening five minutes, as a cross from Barry Bannan looked dangerous, but no one could get their head to it before Bialkowski collected it.
Garry Monk’s side looked a different team the longer the half went by, attacking with a much greater sense of urgency and speed. Fernando Forestieri made his first appearance since November when he came off the bench and his pace would turn out to be instrumental for the remainder of the half.
Millwall looked to go ahead, as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson found himself through on goal, but a perfect tackle from Dominic Iorfa right outside of the Owl’s box saw the danger being averted.
Alessio Da Cruz made his debut for his new team when he came off the bench replacing Jacob Murphy. Moments later the debutant looked to make an instant impact, as his pass to Foresiteri who was lurking outside the six-yard box looked dangerous, but the Italian was unable to connect with the ball.
Yet again the Owl’s looked dangerous but was let down by poor finishing, as 15 minutes from time they broke forward and found Forestieri open down his left-wing who cut inside but was only able to produce a weak effort that Bialkowski easily saved again.
Millwall almost got the winner at the death as in the 92nd minute, a poorly headed back pass found Bodvarsson, who was completely unmarked as he ran through on the Owl’s goal. Dawson ran out in an attempt to make himself look big and the Icelandic international tried an audacious chip over the keeper but it went over the goal entirely.
The referee blew the whistle shortly after, ending a gritty game between two sides with promotion dreams.
Millwall manager Gary Rowett said: “I think it was a fair reflection before that last chance. If you look at the game, they got into a few more chances but overall either team didn’t have that many chances.
“The chance at the end summed up the lack of quality. We worked hard to get the clean sheet but I’m disappointed with our lack of composure.
“I thought it was a really difficult game for the referee to manage. One minute we’re complaining about a decision, the next minute they’re complaining about a decision. It felt like quite a subdued atmosphere and I’m not blaming the home fans, but it probably had to do with the quality on the pitch.
[Regarding departing transfers] “There wasn’t really anything close or anything that we felt was appropriate. We’ve left two young players out the squad and two coming back from injury so we don’t really have that big of a team.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk said: “My overall feeling after this game is better than what I felt some of the games in the last month. I knew that the team wouldn’t be as confident as you would like.
“I thought it was a fair result, quite an even game, but overall I was looking more for at the attitude of the team. I thought we saw a team in that second half desperate trying to give the fans three points.
[Regarding Bodvarsson’s chance at the end] “If it had happened like that, I don’t think the players would’ve deserved that.
“It’s a platform to build upon and the players should take confidence from that performance. The most important bit today was to see a team that didn’t want to give up.
“I thought they both [Alessio Da Cruz and Fernando Forestieri] made an impact today. They showed good link-up play and good quality at times and that’s going to be important going forward.
[Regarding not scoring at home for the past three games] “I think it’s step by step. If I’m honest there were other things I needed to see today.
[Regarding incoming transfers] “I’m delighted to get them across the line. I look forward to working with them and integrating them into the group. The main thing that’s stuck out with me about the three lads that have come here is their attitude to be here, they all wanted to be here.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Odubajo, Borner, Iorfa, Palmer; Harris (56’ Forestieri), Bannan, Pelupessy, Murphy (66’ Da Cruz); Nuhiu, Reach. Subs not used: Wildsmith, Winnall, Lees, Hunt, Uroghide.
Millwall: Bialkowski; Wallace, Cooper, Hutchinson, Romeo; Ferguson (61’ Mahoney), Woods, Williams, Wallace; Bradshaw (79’ Molumby), Smith (61’ Bodvarsson). Subs not used: Steele, Pearce, O’Brien, Skalak.
Referee: David Coote
Bookings: Sheffield Wednesday: Reach (22’), Bannan (32’), Iorfa (52’)
Millwall: Williams (18’), Wallace (49’)
Scorers: Sheffield Wednesday: N/A
HT: 0 – 0
FT: 0 – 0
Man of the Match: Dominic Iorfa