Westwood red card tips balance Wednesday's way

Hartlepool United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 4
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The Independent Online

The Millennium Stadium is meant to be a neutral stadium, but 41,000 Sheffield Wednesday fans had other ideas. As a result, the Owls will take their place in the Championship next season and can begin to dream anew of the Premiership - and the Sheffield derby.

The Millennium Stadium is meant to be a neutral stadium, but 41,000 Sheffield Wednesday fans had other ideas. As a result, the Owls will take their place in the Championship next season and can begin to dream anew of the Premiership - and the Sheffield derby.

It could have been a momentous day for Hartlepool, who were on the brink of reaching the Championship for the first time in their 97-year history.

Having taken the lead, but then fallen behind 2-1, a penalty decision eight minutes from time hauled Wednesday back into contention. With it came a red card for Chris Westwood, and with the penalty converted the match had swung back in the Owls' favour.

A poor first half had seen Wednesday enjoy the better chances. First Glenn Whelan sent his lob over the bar and then Chris Brunt was clear only to underhit his shot. Hartlepool's best effort came from Joel Porter, but the striker cleared the crossbar.

Wednesday's marginal superiority in the half was eventually reflected in stoppage time when Craig Rocastle reached the byline and his cross was met by Jon-Paul McGovern, who poked his shot home.

Hartlepool responded straight after the interval when a throw-in by Richie Humphreys was headed on by Lee Bullen accidentally and Eifion Williams was unmarked at the far post.

Another substitute had an even quicker say on matters. Within 30 seconds of taking the pitch, Jon Daly had given Pools the lead after a Gavin Strachan free-kick from the right wing. His header gave David Lucas no chance.

But with Hartlepool failing to clear the area, Westwood pulled back another substitute, Drew Talbot, and Steven MacLean's penalty went down the middle.

That forced extra-time and the Owls wasted no time in forging ahead. Where Westwood would have been there was space for Whelan to charge through and beat the goalkeeper from 10 yards out.

Talbot then broke clear and took his chance to confirm the Owls' promotion.

Goals: McGovern (45) 0-1; Williams (47) 1-1; Daly (71) 2-1; MacLean pen (82) 2-2; Whelan (94) 2-3; Talbot (120) 2-4.

Hartlepool (4-4-2): Konstantopoulos; Butler (Williams, 31), Nelson, Westwood, Robson; Barron (Craddock, 61) Strachan, Porter (Daly, 70), Sweeney; Humphreys, Boyd Substitutes not used: Provett (gk), Tinkler, Daly.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Lucas; Bruce (Collins, 76), Bullen, Wood, Heckingbottom; McGovern, Whelan, Rocastle, Brunt; Peacock (Talbot, 76), Quinn (MacLean, 76) Substitutes not used: (gk), Adamson, Adams.

Referee: P Crossley (Kent).

Sent off: Westwood.

Man of the Match: McGovern.

Attendance: 59,808.

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