Ashley Westwood’s stoppage-time header secured a share of the spoils for spirited Sheffield Wednesday against league leaders Fulham in a six-goal thriller at Hillsborough this afternoon.

The Owls twice fell behind in an action-packed first half and were further hindered by the dismissal of teenager Alan Quinn but battled back to earn a point as Fulham’s mini-slump following their flawless eleven-game winning run at the start of the season continued. Wednesday are suddenly full of confidence after ending a club record eight game winless run that had them marooned at the foot of the Division One table – but back-to-back wins and this stirring fightback have restored belief in south Yorkshire.

Fulham made light of both their indifferent recent form and driving rain as they bossed the first twenty minutes at Hillsborough. They penned in their hosts with some spellbinding football but couldn’t find the cutting edge in the final third. Wednesday grew in confidence after keeping Jean Tigana’s side out, with Maik Taylor forced into fine saves to deny Efan Ekoku and Terry Cooke, before going in front four minutes before half time.

Gerald Sibon feinted to drive at goal from a free-kick forty yards out but sold a clever dummy to visiting defence as he sought out Owen Morrison on the left wing. Morrison cut into onto his right foot to float over a cross and the Dutch forward buried a brilliant header after getting away from Andy Melville and Chris Coleman in the area. Fulham had paid for their lack of potency in front of goal but the visitors turned the game on its head with two goals in ten minutes after the restart.

It took top scorer Louis Saha just sixty seconds to equalise with a powerful header of his own. The French forward plundered his thirteenth goal in twelve league games after a quick throw in from Steve Finnan saw Barry Hayles fire in a fine cross to the near post. Hayles then went from provider to scorer with a superb individual strike. The powerful forward collected a pass from Rufus Brevett on the left flank and left four home defenders for dead before poking a finish past Kevin Pressman as the Owls keeper went to ground.

Young Quinn was dismissed for two bookings in the space of three minutes but Wednesday were undeterred. They levelled when Morrison turned home a knockdown from Westwood after a Cooke cross had caused chaos in the box. The hosts had to show plenty of spirit to raise themselves from the canvas again after Melville appeared to have delivered a decisive blow seven minutes from time. The Welsh defender brilliantly backheeled in substitute Luis Boa Morte’s cross but Fulham were denied all three points after John Collins couldn’t clear a free kick from Steve Harkness and Westwood’s looping header dropped over Taylor in the first minute of injury time.

Paul Jewell’s battlers fully deserved both their precious point – and the standing ovation from their delirious supporters.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (5-3-2): Pressman; Hendon, Walker, Westwood, Harkness, Haslam; Quinn, Cooke, Morrison (Hamshaw 87); Sibon (Lescott 68), Ekoku. Subs (not used): Stringer, Humphreys, Crane.

BOOKED: Sibon, Quinn, Westwood, Haslam.

SENT OFF: Quinn.

GOALS: Sibon (41), Morrison (72), Westwood (80+1).

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett (Trollope 76), Melville, Coleman; Davis, Collins, Clark, Fernandes (Boa Morte 77); Saha, Hayles (Goldbaek 77). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Symons.

BOOKED: Hayles, Coleman, Finnan.

GOALS: Saha (47), Hayles (55), Melville (83).

REFEREE: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay).