Attendance: 21, 827
The defences won out in a game of few chances at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday held Derby to a goalless draw despite the visitors edging the changes. Rob Hulse and Michael Tonge had efforts well saved by Lee Grant in the first half whilst the recalled Stephen Bywater was also called into action to deny Tommy Miller and Tom Soares. The second half deteriorated with neither side able to take control and only a mix-up between Bywater and Russell Anderson threatened the scoring but Shaun Barker blocked the resulting effort from Francis Jeffers as the sides gained a point apiece after a 0-0 draw.
Stephen Bywater was called back into the starting line-up after recovering from his back injury with David Martin taking a place on the bench and Chris Porter came back into the starting line-up after his goal scoring appearance in midweek lining up alongside Rob Hulse in attack. Gilles Sunu dropped back onto the right side of midfield with Robbie Savage named amongst the substitutes to accommodate the change up front.
Marcus Tudgay combined with Tommy Miller to force Stephen Bywater into a save inside the first minute when the laters goal bound effort was blocked by the returning keeper. Chris Porter responded at the other end when he got his head to a Michael Tonge corner but Lee Grant reacted well to tip his effort over the top. Both sides were looking to get forward at every opportunity in the opening stages as the game swung from end to end. Jay McEveley picked out Chris Porter with an inviting leftwing cross but the striker prodded the ball wide of the mark on fifteen minutes as The Rams continued to play on the front foot.
Bywater was called into action again just before the half-hour mark when he was forced to turn away a long range effort by Tom Soares at the expense of a corner but the resulting set piece came to nothing. Michael Tonge tried his luck at the other end with a shot from thirty yards that was turned away by Lee Grant and the former Derby keeper was called into action again when he tipped over a Rob Hulse header and an effort from the same player hit the side netting as The Rams finished the half strongly but they couldn`t find the break through before the interval.
The game tightened up in the second period with Wednesday looking determined to improve on the closing stages of the first half and Derby not able to assert themselves on the match again. Michael Tonge was The Rams saviour at the midpoint of the second half when he headed off the line from Mark Beevers` looping header in the first moment of danger for either side. Wednesday looked to take control with the backing of the crowd and a mix-up between Stephen Bywater and Russell Anderson almost let in Francis Jeffers but Shaun Barker got back to make a superb last-ditch challenge to deny the substitute. Robbie Savage came on for the hard-working Gilles Sunu with a little under quarter of an hour to play and Dean Leacock replaced Nicky Hunt moments later. The game petered out in the closing moments with neither side creating a clear-cut opportunity and both having to settle for a point after a disappointing second half.
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