Barrett equal to uphill struggle

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Torquay United 2
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The Independent Online

It will have come as little surprise to Sheffield Wednesday's supporters that their team's form has improved as the season has developed - the same pattern is apparent during many of their games.

It will have come as little surprise to Sheffield Wednesday's supporters that their team's form has improved as the season has developed - the same pattern is apparent during many of their games.

On Saturday, Torquay United took a 1-0 advantage into half time. Adebayo Akinfenwa's 12th goal of the season was welcome enough but the striker might have completed a hat-trick had he made more efficient use of Tony Bedeau's excellent service from the right wing.

Steve Woods headed home just after the break and it looked like Wednesday's run of one defeat in 17 League matches was coming to an inglorious end. But their captain, Lee Bullen, brought them back into the game and there was almost half an hour remaining when Graham Barrett, on loan from Coventry City, marked his debut with a goal.

Not that Wednesday deserved it, but they should probably have gone on to win as Lee Peacock and James Quinn both had clear sights of goal in the final minutes.

"The players are even blaming the Hillsborough slope," said Wednesday's manager Paul Sturrock of his team's slow starts. "They say they prefer to play downhill.

"In the first half our defenders were hitting the ball forward too early and the service to our front players wasn't good enough. I'm writing a memo to the Football League asking if we can only play second halves. [But] as long as we are in the top six at the end of the season I will be very happy."

"Take nothing away from Torquay," he continued. "I thought they were excellent, especially in the first half. They are a much better side than their position suggests."

With Alex Russell controlling play from central midfield Wednesday saw little of the ball and it is hard to understand why the Devon side have won only two of their last 16 games.

With Luton due at Plainmoor this afternoon, the manager Leroy Rosenior may well reflect that this was a case of two points lost rather than one gained.

Goals: Akinfenwa (25) 0-1; Woods (49) 0-2; Bullen (54) 1-2; Barrett (60) 2-2.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Gallacher; Bruce, Bullen, Wood, Heckingbottom; McGovern, Adams, Rocastle, Hamshaw; Peacock (Talbot, 73), Barrett (Quinn, 82). Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Collins, Aranalde.

Torquay United (4-5-1): Marriott; Canoville, Woods, Taylor, Woodman; Bedeau, Garner (Villis, 90), Hill, Russell, Brown (Phillips, 83); Akinfenwa (Constantine, 79). Substitutes not used: Abbey, Hockley.

Referee: A Penn (West Midlands).

Booked: Torquay United Hill, Canoville.

Man of the match: Russell.

Attendance: 21,526.

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