Sheffield Wednesday’s desperate survival hopes were dealt a severe blow as they were held by the ten men of Bristol City at Hillsborough Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls are all but relegated as they lie seven points adrift with only four games remaining, it is something that could be confirmed as early as next week depending on results elsewhere.
Darren Moore was absent from the dugout as he recovers from a bout of post-covid pneumonia and he was severely let down by his side, who all wore t-shirts respecting their boss in the pre-game warm-up, as they went down without a whimper in South Yorkshire.
Wednesday led the majority of the match rafter central defender Julian Borner headed home in the fourth minute and their chances of clinching a morale-boosting victory were bolstered when Henri Lansbury was sent off just over 15 minutes later for a handball on the line.
But the Owls couldn’t hold on and were punished three minutes from time when Tyreeq Bakinson slammed the equaliser home from distance.
It could’ve been a very different story had Barry Bannan scored from the spot-kick they were awarded from Lansbury’s red card.
The 31-year-old skipper saw his “weak” penalty saved by Dan Bentley in just one of many squandered chances, so he was certainly one player to massively let Moore down on the day.
Everything the Owls do runs through the Scottish playmaker and evidently, that seemed to be the case once again as he recorded a whopping 109 touches, some 21 more touches than the next best, Adam Reach (88), as per SofaScore.
However, Bannan was simply not his usual self as he made just 79% of his 76 passing attempts, of which just one was a key chance created – he very nearly averages double that, so it shows he was not as creative as usual.
Of the Owls’ 20 shots at goal, the midfielder accounted for four of them, including 25% of their efforts on target and thus, Bannan proved to be equally wasteful in front of goal.
Having missed a crucial chance from the spot, he really needed to make amends with a goal later in the game.
At times, it was bordering on desperate as he lost possession a whopping 32 times in the engine room, comfortably more than any other player on the pitch and way worse than his average of 19 times per league outing this campaign.
This hindered Wednesday dearly in their bid to grab three points.
Bannan’s poorly missed penalty wasn’t the sole reason the Yorkshire strugglers picked up another disappointing result but his ineffectiveness in attack and profligacy on other chances were major factors.
When your key man, captain and leading talisman isn’t performing, the rest of the side falters too.
Bannan was just one of many that let Moore down massively on Saturday but they needed ever so much more from their leader.
The writing is certainly on the wall now.
AND in other news, Owls can finally wave goodbye to “hungry” Luhukay flop, he’s not good enough…