After a sloppy first half, Callum Paterson gave the Owls the lead. But in true Wednesday style, they failed to kill the game off, leading to a fortunate equaliser from Sykes’ header with seven minutes remaining.
The draw takes Wednesday to just one point outside the play-off positions, with them having a game in hand on sixth-placed Sunderland.
Story of the game
After several early ventures forward, the Owls had the game’s first shot on target. Saido Berahino managed to beat his marker on the right before delivering the ball towards the back post where Barry Bannan’s header was kept out by Toby Savin.
Savin was called into action just three minutes later to spare the blushes of Michael Nottingham. Good play between George Byers and Liam Palmer saw the latter drill the ball into the area, with Nottingham miscuing his clearance straight to Berahino; however, the forward’s snapshot was blocked by the ‘keeper before Callum Paterson looped the rebound over the bar.
However, after that early burst of momentum, Wednesday became sluggish in possession - almost as if there was a hangover from Saturday’s six-nil victory over Cambridge United - and allowed Stanley to make their presence known in the fixture.
The away side went close on 17 minutes when Sam Hutchinson conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Ethan Hamilton whipped an effort towards the far top corner, but Bailey Peacock-Farrell was there to pat the ball down and hold it at the second attempt.
Moments later, Marcel Lewis could only glance wide of the target after good work on the right from Rosaire Longelo created the opportunity.
The home crowd became increasingly frustrated, with the Owls struggling to create opportunities going into the break.
However, a chance came on 43 minutes through Paterson, who benefited from some excellent play from both Bannan and Johnson in the build-up, but the Scotsman’s low drive was saved by Savin down to his left.
The second period began tediously flat, with the only opportunity coming in the form of a long-distance Massimo Luongo shot that flew high over the bar.
A lot of nothingness then occurred between the two sides. Accrington often attempted to go over the top, with Wednesday trying to be patient in possession before being pressed high up the pitch and, eventually, hoofing the ball upfield – not ideal against a burly, bitty Stanley, who seemingly won all the aerial duels.
However, the Owls got the goal they desperately desired through Paterson on 66 minutes. The opener all came from Johnson’s lung-busting run, and as he slowly bent his run centrally, the winger slipped in Jack Hunt, who cut onto his left foot but saw his shot be blocked on the line. The ball fizzed into the air and fell kindly for Paterson, who drilled his shot under the goalkeeper’s dive.
Moments later, Hunt again went close, this time volleying just inches over the bar from Bannan’s exquisite ball over the top.
Colby Bishop then went close to levelling with a header at the back post before Stanley found an equaliser with seven minutes remaining.
An in-swinging corner was headed towards the bottom corner by Sykes. The effort was saved by Peacock-Farrell, but the Northern Ireland international could only push the ball onto his own man, with it looping onto the post and over the line.
Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Palmer (Hunt, 46’), Iorfa, Hutchinson, Storey, Johnson; Byers, Luongo, Bannan (Dele-Bashiru, 71’); Paterson, Berahino (Gregory, 58’)
Unused Subs: Wildsmith, Dunkley, Kamberi, Sow
Accrington Stanley: Savin; Longelo (Liam Coyle, 80’), Sykes, Nottingham, Rodgers, McConville (C); Butcher, Lewis (Amankwah, 52’), Pell, Hamilton; Bishop
Unused Subs: Isherwood, Conneely, Nolan, Morgan, Adekoya