Owls 0-0 Rams

Two teams that both won their opening games by a solitary goal played out a goalless draw at Hillsborough yesterday as much fancied Derby County were held to a stalemate against a seemingly improving Sheffield Wednesday side. The Owls were the better team in the first half, without creating many clear cut chances. Adthe Nuhiu will be disappointed that he didn’t score when he hit a shot straight at Derby custodian Lee Grant, while Chris Maguire’s deflected free-kick that rattled off the crossbar was as close as either team got to breaking the deadlock in the first period. In the second half it was the visitors who had two golden opportunities, which both fell to energetic substitute Johnny Russell. The former Dundee United winger got in behind the Owls’ backline in the dying embers of Saturday afternoon’s contest, only to be superbly denied on both occasions by the impressive Kieren Westwood, who managed to keep a second clean sheet in as many matches for his new club.

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Sheffield Wednesday

Kieren Westwood – Underworked in the first half, Westwood pulled off two superb stops to thwart Johnny Russell in the second half. Those saves win you points in tight games. Distribution was spot on. 8.0
Liam Palmer –Still young and still learning, last season’s player of the year was caught out of position a few times. Looked a handy threat going forward and put in some decent crosses. 6.5
Tom Lees –Has slotted in like a glove next to Loovens. Defended solidly and was comfortable on the ball. 7.5
Glenn Loovens –Dealt with everything that was thrown at him in a composed manner. Organises the back four well in his role as skipper. 7.5
Joe Mattock – Didn’t put a foot wrong defensively, kept Ward very quiet. Could maybe have overlapped Maghoma a little bit more to give the Owls another attacking outlet, but his defend-first mentality was understandable. 7.5
Chris Maguire – Produced a sloppy performance by his very high standards. Misplaced a few passes and his decision making wasn’t great. Still looked eager to get on the ball and make things happen. 6.0
Kieran Lee – Put in a quiet performance before he departed prematurely due to injury. 6.0
Sam Hutchinson –Absolutely ran his socks off, constantly breaking up play and hassling the opposition, making some great tackles. Didn’t give Derby’s creative outlets time to settle and cause problems and he passed the ball well. 8.0
Jacques Maghoma – Caused County a series of problems in the first half, but his influence died down after the interval. 7.0
Adthe Nuhiu – Held up and protected the ball well, more so in the first half. Missed a great opportunity and needs to improve his finishing however. 7.0
Stevie May –Didn’t get a clear sniff of goal, but the debutant worked hard and ran the channels pretty well. Showed a few nice flicks. Will need to adapt to the intensity of Championship football. 6.5

Substitutions

Giles Coke – Replaced the injured Lee and produced a steady performance. Rarely gave the ball away. 7.0
Gary Madine –Looked quite sharp but didn’t get any goal scoring opportunities during the 19 minutes that he was on the pitch. 6.0

Derby County

Lee Grant – Claimed plenty of crosses and demonstrated excellent handling. Didn’t need to pull off any great saves. 7.5
Cyrus Christie –Started off very poorly and he couldn’t handle Maghoma for the first 25 minutes, but the recent acquisition improved as the game wore on. Offered an attacking threat at times. 6.5
Richard Keogh –So dominant in the air especially during the second half, Keogh was combative and his distribution was fairly decent. 7.5
Jake Buxton – He and his defensive partner had a tough job trying to mark Nuhiu, but like Keogh, Buxton was physically strong as well. Wasn’t as busy as Keogh in the second half but he did his job effectively. 7.0
Craig Forsyth – Defended solidly in the first half and he managed to keep Maguire quiet. Gave the ball away a lot and was perhaps below his high standards overall after enduring a poor second half. 6.0
Will Hughes – His creativity was wasted as the sought after youngster was deployed as a defensive midfielder. Struggled to deal with the physically superior Nuhiu. Wasn’t afraid to put tackles in however. 6.0
Jeff Hendrick – The game seemed to bypass Hendrick who has made a very impressive start to the season. Very quiet. 6.0
Craig Bryson –Clearly wasn’t himself as he offered little attacking threat. Part of a midfield that didn’t win enough second balls and struggled to get a foothold. 5.5
Jamie Ward – Hardly managed to get on the ball and was frozen out of the game. Substituted due to his ineffective display. 5.0
Simon Dawkins – Jeered off by the Derby fans after a very poor display. Dawkins’ touch was poor and his end product was shocking. 4.5
Chris Martin –Retained possession well in the first half but he hardly had a touch during the second period. Had one attempt on goal of note which he made a huge mess of. 5.5

Substitutions

Oscar Mascarell – Showed plenty of class in his 20 minute cameo. Provided McClaren with a natural defensive midfielder which the Rams had missed up to this point, and he was composed in possession. Put in some strong tackles and changed the game. 7.5
Leon Best –Forced out wide which isn’t his natural position. Made little impact. 5.5
Johnny Russell –Made an impact with his dynamic pace which the visitors had been lacking. Managed to get in behind the defence but missed two great opportunities. 6.5

 

Man of the Match

Sam Hutchinson – Didn’t allow Derby’s midfield three to settle and
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he battled all afternoon. His constant running and breaking up of play made up for the fact that Derby had an extra man in the engine room, allowing Gray to play with two strikers. Protected the defense immensely.

8.0

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