Sheffield Wednesday eased some of the gloom over Hillsborough as they avoided a Carabao Cup first-round shock by winning on penalties after a goalless draw at League Two Walsall.
The Owls – who will start the Championship season on minus 12 points after breaking spending rules – won the shoot-out 4-2 as Josh Gordon and Alfie Bates missed for the Saddlers.
Cameron Dawson saved from Gordon, while Bates hit the crossbar as Barry Bannan, Josh Windass, Kadeem Harris and Izzy Brown all netted for Wednesday.
It took until the brink of the interval for either side to threaten as Walsall striker Gordon’s promising run ended with a shot straight at Dawson.
Wednesday improved after the break, sparked by wingers Harris and Matt Penney.
Harris curled a decent opening over from 15 yards before substitute Penney almost made an immediate impact with a 20-yard effort that Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts pushed aside.
The visitors upped the pressure late on but, although Massimo Luongo poked wide from 10 yards and Penney headed a great chance over from Brown’s centre, it mattered not.
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