Jewell's makeshift Owls prove match for Blackburn

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The Independent Online

If Paul Jewell was brought to Hillsborough because he can make bricks out of straw he is giving satisfaction. His makeshift side was more than a match for opponents who can still afford to bankroll their own Premiership ambitions.

If Paul Jewell was brought to Hillsborough because he can make bricks out of straw he is giving satisfaction. His makeshift side was more than a match for opponents who can still afford to bankroll their own Premiership ambitions.

As Blackburn have already discovered, bouncing back into the Premiership is not easy even with resources to spend on quality players.

Jewell has been forced to sell his best to try to balance the books at Hillsborough and of those who remain Gilles de Bilde, Wim Jonk and Petter Rudi were absent through injury.

So Jewell was forced to recruit from the home-grown resources, giving a home debut to the young South Yorkshire-born midfielder Matt Hamshaw and drafting in goalkeeper Chris Stringer for his first start in place of the suspended Kevin Pressman.

However, it was Wednesday who seized the initiative and the rookie Hamshaw had a hand in their opening goal after two minutes. He took a corner on the left, Andy Booth flicked it on and Ashley Westwood met the ball at the far post to make sure it crossed the line.

Wednesday's neat passing made it difficult for Blackburn to find their rhythm but once they began to assert themselves in midfield it was Stringer's turn to prove his worth. He beat away a shot from David Dunn and saved twice in quick succession from Nathan Blake.

As Blackburn gained the ascendancy Wednesday could ill-afford to lose one of their key defenders, but Andy Hinchcliffe limped off after 21 minutes to be replaced by another debutant, Kevin Nicholson.

Blackburn's profligacy continued, however, with Matt Jansen clearing the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area and Garry Flitcroft directing a free header at the goalkeeper.

Wednesday were now limited to attacks on the break as Blackburn's experience began to tell although Richard Cresswell should have doubled their advantage when the ball fell to him unmarked six yards out, but he blasted his shot over.

It took a substitution to bring Blackburn the equaliser they deserved. Martin Taylor had only been on for the injured Craig Short for three minutes when he met Damien Duff's corner to power the ball in off the head of a Wednesday defender.

But Wednesday bounced back and Gerald Sibon twice went close to restoring their lead, Kelly turning away his 30-yard free-kick and then taking two attempts to save a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2) Stringer; Westwood, Grayson, Walker, Hinchcliffe (Nicholson, 21); Hamshaw, O'Donnell, Quinn, Cresswell; Sibon, Booth. Substitutes not used: Muller, Humphreys, Billington, Crane.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2) Kelly; Bjornebye, Curtis, Short (Martin Taylor, 40), Broomes; McAteer, Flitcroft, Dunn, Duff; Jansen, Blake. Substitutes not used: Filan (gk), Dailly, Diawara, Johnson.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

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