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Report: A replay is needed after Town held to a Sheffield draw

28 January 2023

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Fleetwood Town were held to a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough by Sheffield Wednesday which means an Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round replay is on the cards.

Promise Omochere was on hand to score an early second-half goal assisted but that was cancelled out by Mallik Wilks as the Fourth-Round tie ended in a draw.

Backed by a host of travelling supporters, Town started the Fourth Round tie looking to get at Sheffield Wednesday’s backline, but the home team soon got the ball under control. The first sniff at goal for either side came when Sheffield Wednesday drilled a ball across the Fleetwood box, but nobody was there to claim it.

Just over a quarter of an hour in, Wilks, who was bought into Wednesday’s starting line-up by Darren Moore got the better of Josh Earl and got a shot away, but it rippled off a Town defender and failed to trouble Jay Lynch - a strong start made by the hosts.

On his return to the squad, Shaun Rooney was flagged for a challenge on Josh Windass and from the resulting free-kick, the Owls nearly took the lead but some good defence by the Cods kept the hosts out. A further chance came from Jack Hunt, who swung his foot at the ball from just outside the area, but it failed to test Lynch.

Scott Brown’s side were looking for openings, mostly through the likes of Cian Hayes and Omochere but chances were at a premium for Town. While the top end of the pitch seemed quiet for Fleetwood, Town defended heroically time after time and kept the Owls at bay well.

After the break, Fleetwood looked a bit more lively going forward. With the introduction of Harvey Macadam and the front-foot nature of midfielder Scott Robertson, Town began the second half looking for that pathway forward. With that decent start to the second half, Brendan Wiredu had a good chance but headed over from a Paddy Lane free kick.

The game sparked into life when Town’s wave of attacks paid off. Macadam’s cross from the right went over the head of Josh Vela, but Lane and Robertson did well to work the ball to Danny Andrew. He then found the head of Omochere who nodded us into a second-half lead. A great start to the second half for the Cods.

Sheffield Wednesday’s first chance of the second half came when Wilks hit an effort too far over the Fleetwood goal after some good build-up play. Not too long after that, the hosts responded with a goal from Wilks who got on the end of a cross to level the game.

The second 45 minutes of the game were entertaining, very end to end and chances were certainly not at a premium now. The game had opened and after the Owls cancelled out Town’s lead, it was anyone’s game.

A shame for Fleetwood’s excellent goal to have been chalked off by the Wilks equaliser  - which seemed to come off the boot of Earl - but it was a valiant effort from the Cods who were the better team for large periods.

With ten minutes remaining, the game became quite a tense affair. Moore’s side had another chance when the ball fell to Barry Bannan but the opportunity was cooled off with a fantastic block from Robertson. The two sides couldn’t be separated in the final knockings of proceedings.

The game nearly had a winner when Wednesday’s Michael Smith saw his header hit the bar, but the two teams couldn’t be decided in the 90 minutes, meaning a replay at Highbury to decide who will make it through to the fifth round.

Owls XI: Dawson (GK), Palmer (C), Vaulks (Gregory 60’), Iorfa, Wilks (Smith 86’), Adeniran (Byers 60’), Windass, Paterson, Fawemo (Flint 90’), Johnson, Hunt (Bannan 60’).

Unused subs: Stockdale (GK), Brown, Dele-Bashiru, Bakinson, Smith.

Cods XI: Lynch (GK), Andrew, Wiredu, Vela (C), Robertson, Lane (Holgate 89’), Omochere (Garner 90+9’), Hayes (Macadam 45’), Nsiala, Rooney, Earl (Warrington 76’).

Unused subs: McMullan (GK), Muskwe, Patterson, Johnston, Jones.

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