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Hillsborough (ATT 22,687) 21st February 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Webster

Sheff Wed Sheffield Wednesday vs Crystal Palace C Palace

Owls leave it late

Warnock endures unhappy return to home city

Last Updated: 21/02/09 5:53pm

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Warnock: Unhappy return

Warnock: Unhappy return

Sheffield Wednesday climbed into the top half of the Championship table with a late 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Hillsborough.

Sean McAllister and substitute Leon Clarke ensured that Palace boss Neil Warnock made a losing return to his home city.

Warnock could have been forgiven for expecting a torrent of abuse from the home supporters after seven and a half years in charge of bitter rivals Sheffield United.

That it never really happened was in keeping with a largely nondescript encounter which only came to life in the 80th minute when McAllister took matters into his own hands.

The 21-year-old, one of the Owls' better performers, kept his composure to chest the ball down 12 yards from goal and sweep a fierce left-foot shot into the bottom corner.

Clarke added a second in the third minute of stoppage time with a close-range tap-in.

Wednesday, keen to return to winning ways after successive defeats at the hands of neighbours Doncaster and Barnsley, struggled badly for inspiration in the opening period.

Hopeful

But, in the 16th minute, on-loan Wolves midfielder Darren Potter hit a superb pass down the left flank for Francis Jeffers to collect.

The former Everton striker did well to find Michael Gray inside the penalty area but the former Sunderland man's hopeful cross-shot was blocked.

Moments later, Marcus Tudgay crossed low from the left flank and McAllister failed to connect properly with the ball on the edge of the six-yard box.

In the 19th minute, the pendulum swung back in Palace's favour and from Oster's left-wing corner Victor Moses hit the ball against a post after his initial header was blocked.

Jeffers vehemently claimed a penalty in the 25th minute when Jermaine Johnson played a cute ball across the face of goal.

Jeffers and Owls full-back Nathaniel Clyne were shoulder to shoulder as they sought to connect with the ball before Jeffers went to ground, reacting angrily after referee Colin Webster ignored his protests for a spot-kick.

Threat

Palace looked more purposeful after the break and threatened to open the scoring within seconds of the restart.

Moses found space inside the Wednesday penalty box and hit a right-foot shot from 12 yards which required a fine block from Richard Hinds.

Palace hit the woodwork again in the 69th minute when Hill greeted Oster's free-kick from the right flank with a firm header that rebounded off a post.

Three minutes later, Potter curled a 20-yard free-kick straight into Julian Speroni's arms but in the 76th minute Tudgay almost conjured a goal worthy of winning any game.

The Owls frontman collected possession, beat a couple of Palace defenders and curled in a left-foot shot which Speroni was forced to parry.

Four minutes later, the breakthrough arrived when the ball found its way to McAllister, lurking unmarked inside the Eagles penalty box, and he chested the ball down and rifled in a fierce left-foot shot.

And in the 93rd minute, Johnson crossed low from the right flank and Clarke sidefooted the ball into the corner.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 13 26
2 Watford 13 25
3 Middlesbrough 13 23
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 23
5 Norwich City 13 22
6 Nottingham Forest 13 22
7 Charlton Athletic 13 22
8 Bournemouth 13 21
9 Ipswich Town 13 20
10 Cardiff City 13 19
11 Blackburn Rovers 13 19
12 Brentford 13 19
13 Sheffield Wednesday 13 18
14 Rotherham United 13 16
15 Leeds United 13 16
16 Huddersfield Town 13 16
17 Reading 13 15
18 Millwall 13 14
19 Wigan Athletic 13 12
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 12
21 Birmingham City 13 11
22 Fulham 13 11
23 Bolton Wanderers 13 8
24 Blackpool 13 6

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