Championship Analysis – Sheffield Wednesday still winless after Bolton stalemate

Championship football returned on Saturday after the international break but there was no change of fortune for Sheffield Wednesday, who remain without a win this season. Dave Jones’ team came from behind to gain a point against fellow strugglers Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

The 1-1 scoreline wasn’t exactly a surprise as both sides have proved to be draw specialists so far – for Bolton it was number six, drawing level with Middlesbrough on the stalemate front, and the Owls have now taken the lead with seven. All of which provides the perfect tonic for debate amongst the glass-half-full and half-empty divisions of each set of fans, who, despite needing to glance at the bottom end of the table, have actually seen their teams avoid defeat more often than not.

Wednesday’s four losses in 11 games suggests they are a tough side to beat – indeed, the Owls have conceded three goals fewer than 8th placed Derby – but ultimately draws alone don’t save teams from relegation. The powers-that-be at both Hillsborough and the Reebok appear to be declining top-ups from the bar for the time being.

The match itself provided several talking points, most notably a Wednesday goal disallowed for offside and a red card for defender Jose Semedo, both decisions that infuriated Jones but, being close calls, were unsurprisingly countered by Bolton’s Dougie Freedman.

The point proved more valuable to Bolton, keeping them just above the drop zone, while the Owls dropped to 23rd after being overtaken by Barnsley, whose win over Middlesbrough was their first since August. The two teams meet at Oakwell in a lunchtime kick-off next Saturday in what could be a crucial clash.

At the top of the table Burnley opened up a two-point lead after grinding out a late win over Ipswich in a match described by manager Sean Dyche as being “all about small margins”. It marked Burnley’s seventh consecutive win and the club’s best start to any season since 1897.

Until the third minute of injury time QPR were still running side by side but conceded an equaliser to Millwall. The two goals scored by the Lions were the first shipped by QPR since 10th August. For Steve Lomas’ side it was a welcome result after surrendering a two-goal lead in a 5-2 crushing by Bournemouth and then suffering a 4-0 reverse to Birmingham in their previous two matches.

Next Saturday the top two go head to head at Turf Moor in a potentially season-defining encounter. Victory for Burnley will see the Clarets take full charge of the division for the first time as currently QPR currently have a game in hand. Both, however, need to be wary of Leicester, whose win over Huddersfield was their sixth in eight matches and keeps the Foxes just a point behind the top two. Nottingham Forest, in fourth spot, lost ground after being held by Bournemouth.

In Sunday’s action Leeds hammered Birmingham 4-0 at Elland Road, catapulting the hosts to ninth while leaving Lee Clark’s side 20th.

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