Sheffield Wednesday: Gray relieved after narrow Owls win

Keiren Westwood with Royston Drenthe
Keiren Westwood with Royston Drenthe

Owls boss Stuart Gray admitted to feeling relieved after watching his side claim a narrow 1-0 victory over Championship strugglers Blackpool.

Chris Maguire’s 39th-minute penalty proved decisive after defender Peter Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Owls striker Stevie May in the box.

Blackpool could have snatched a draw but Ishmael Miller saw his three-yard header superbly saved by Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in the 73rd minute before the striker was sent off in the final minute of stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

Despite the win, Gray was frustrated his team failed to kill the game off.

“It just shows with us that we cannot get that second goal to take the pressure off,” he said.

“The fans and myself probably should be enjoying the last 10 minutes when we’ve had great opportunities to pick them off and get the second goal.

“Then again, we’re relying on Keiren Westwood to pull off a fantastic save (from Miller) to give us two points. That was probably the best save he’s made this season and the reason why I say that is because he’s had very little to do in the game.

“I’m sure the centre-forward is beating himself up, thinking how he’s not scored a goal.

“It had a smell of the Millwall situation (a 1-1 draw in August) when we got done with the last kick of the game but credit to the lads; back to a clean sheet, and the most important thing was it was a must-win game and that’s all we could do today.

“I thought we dominated the ball but I’m obviously disappointed we didn’t get the second goal to take the pressure off us.”

Blackpool boss Lee Clark felt luck evaded his struggling side and the performance of his players merited at least a draw.

The result leaves Blackpool 10 points adrift of safety and still searching for a first away win of the season.

Clark said: “I’ve said to the players they can take a lot of positives from the game.

“Obviously in our predicament, results are the most important thing but our performance and response from last week (a 6-1 home defeat to Bournemouth) was excellent.

“I don’t think Lady Luck’s shining on us at the moment, I think the least we deserved was a point from the game.”

Clark, who has now won just one of nine games since taking over at Bloomfield Road, was unsure about the award of the match-winning penalty.

“Obviously I’m a bit of a distance away (from the incident) and the linesman’s the one who’s given it, the ref’s taken a while to make the decision,” he added.

“Peter Clarke said to me he hasn’t made contact with the player. The footage I’ve seen at half-time wasn’t the best because it was from where we were sitting and it’s a distance away; it could be given, it couldn’t.

“I don’t know, I’d need to see it from a better angle.

“We’re not getting the rub of the green and we’ve had some terrific opportunities to get goals.

“But no one else is going to feel sorry for themselves, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again on Sunday (at home to Rotherham).”