Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Aldershot Town
Sheffield Wednesday will play West Ham United at Hillsborough in the third round of the FA Cup after edging past Aldershot Town with a 1-0 win at home in the second round. In front of a crowd of around 10,162. Ryan Lowe scored the only goal of a game bereft of any real clear-cut chances or excitement.
Aldershot Town can be very proud of themselves as they gave Wednesday a tough ride, Gary Megson even saying after the game that they looked like a League One side for large parts of the game, something which opposing manager Dean Holdsworth must be pleased about.
The away side more than held their own in an otherwise drab first half; Michael Rankine took aim in the 12th minute but his shot was straight at Wednesday keeper O’Donnell, Alex Rodman had his effort deflected behind for a corner and in the 32nd minute on the counter attack. Luke Guttridge looked set to score from a cut-back across the box, only for a last-ditch block from Wednesday captain Rob Jones preventing the ball from hitting the back of the net.
They also defended manfully on the rare occasions in the first-half when Wednesday had any real, threatening attacks; Chris Lines jinked his way around the Aldershot defence only to see his curling shot headed away from goal while on the stroke on the half-time, a brilliant sliding block from Darren Jones prevented Ryan Lowe tapping in from a James Tavernier cross.
However, only three minutes into the second half, all their hard work was undone. Thanks to awful defending from a punt up-field, the ball managed to bounce straight through to Ryan Lowe, who on half-volley slotted past Aldershot keeper Jamie Young to put Wednesday in front. The second half continued in the same vein as the first with few chances; Wednesday right-back Tavernier, on loan from Newcastle United impressed, his jinking run in the 62nd minute led to a brilliant cross which Chris O’Grady unfortunately couldn’t connect with, while on the 68th minute, Wednesday nearly scored a second from a carbon copy of the first, this time though Lowe put his shot over the bar.
Very little happened from then on; Adam Smith had his shot saved well by O’Donnell while down the other end O’Grady had his shot palmed round the post by Young. Things picked up when Jermaine Johnson came on from Chris Sedgwick, and could’ve bagged himself a hat-trick in the final stages of the game. His first contribution came by playing in O’Grady, whose shot was deflected over the bar, before having three chances himself in injury time. In the second minute of injury time, he shimmied his way into the box before hitting his shot straight at Young, and a minute later was put clean through on goal to wrap the game up but put his shot wide. Then just before the final whistle, he dragged his shot wide of goal from far out.
Wednesday will play West Ham United on the weekend of January 7, and while Megson said the club would be pleased with any draw, many will be hoping the Owls get through to play a Premiership side in the fourth round.