Chants ring out for Fessi: Huddersfield 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1 verdict and reaction

Joy for Fernando Forestieri. Pictures: Steve Ellis
Joy for Fernando Forestieri. Pictures: Steve Ellis
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One chant rang out loudly, clearly and proudly around the John Smith’s Stadium after in-form Sheffield Wednesday moved a step closer to securing a play-off place.

And for once it wasn’t ‘Carlos Had a Dream’.

Nearly 4,000 excitable Wednesdayites paid tribute to influential striker Fernando Forestieri, singing deliriously: ‘Ohh Forestieri.’

Yet again the little wizard had come up trumps in West Yorkshire (Forestieri’s first ever goal in English football came for Watford at the same ground back in September 2012).

The man affectionately nicknamed ‘Fessi’ in reference to similarities with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi finished off the move of the match in style seven minutes from time to hand the Owls a third successive Championship win. His late strike took his tally to 14 for the campaign. He is Wednesday’s genius.

It is worth stressing too that Huddersfield’s defence got tight to Wednesday’s dangerman and did their best to rough him up. I dread to think how many bumps and bruises he woke up with yesterday morning.

Fernando Forestieri scores

Fernando Forestieri scores

Forestieri was kicked and clattered all over the place by Terriers centre-backs Mark Hudson and Joel Lynch. The hosts didn’t want to give him any time or space to weave his magic.

READ MORE:

There’s still more to come, says Forestieri

Terriers defender could have broken my leg, says Forestieri

Lucas Joao provides the killer ball

Lucas Joao provides the killer ball

Carlos says smiles on Owls faces are key to success so far

VIDEO GALLERY: Joyous Wednesdayites at Huddersfield - spot anyone you know?

Hudson had to be substituted before the hour mark after fouling Forestieri for the umpteenth time.

Huddersfield’s tactics very nearly paid off.

Jack Hunt up against his former club

Jack Hunt up against his former club

It wasn’t just on the pitch where Forestieri was given a tough time. He also received plenty of stick from large sections of the home side’s fans because of his tendency to go to ground easily. Some of that criticism is merited, but Forestieri took all the abuse in his stride and ultimately delivered the knockout blow. That’s what top-class footballers do.

Owls chief Carlos Carvalhal said: “Fernando’s goal was important but it is about team work. He ran a lot to block Huddersfield.

“He and Gary Hooper connected the midfield. Our strikers did fantastic work and we were very compact. We were solid.

“Fernando scored but it is not just him. We’ve got Gary, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao scoring goals too.”

While Forestieri should rightly take the majority of the plaudits, Carvalhal’s clever substitutions and subtle changes in their gam- plan enabled Forestieri to claim his second goal in as many outings.

Throwing on strikers Nuhiu and Joao proved inspired decisions and they featured prominently in Forestierti’s winner.

Satisfaction at the end

Satisfaction at the end

Nuhiu released Joao down the left flank and the Portugal international sprinted forward before sending in a wonderful left footed cross which Forestieri coolly slid in to convert.

Carvalhal said: “My players were fantastic and the most important thing is we won.

“If we win with subs coming on and making a difference, I don’t care about that. I just want the team to win and I’m here to create a good dynamic and to try and win games.

“It is my job to make changes if we are not winning. I must do my job. I don’t want any credit for making changes. As a coach, I work with the players to try and improve them. I am here to help them.

“My players started the season at one level and are finishing the season playing at another. They are getting better which makes me a happy coach.”

Joao’s delivery completely dissected the hosts’ backline.

Forestieri said: “I’m so happy but when I score, I say in every interview, if it wasn’t for my teammates, I can’t score these goals.

“So I want to say thank you to them. At Huddersfield it was Lucas, if he didn’t run for me then I don’t score the goal.

“I think we had every player playing so good, we are all together and I think every single player played very well.”

Both sides cancelled each other out in a drab first period. There was plenty of endeavour and high intensity pressing but few scoring chances. Shorn of the services of Barry Bannan, who was pictured in the away end, the Owls looked short on ideas in the final third.

Aside from Forestieri’s late strike, Wednesday’s other clear opening fell to Aiden McGeady and the Republic of Ireland international saw his shot superbly headed off the line by Lynch.

Huddersfield chief David Wagner, who’s first match in charge was against the Owls last November, said: “Sheffield had two good opportunities and scored one, and if they are clinical like this they deserve the result they got.”

In the closing stages, the Terriers felt they should have been awarded a spot-kick. Midfielder Philip Billing’s header struck Kieran Lee on the goalline. TV replays were inconclusive.

Huddersfield defender Tommy Smith said: “100 per cent it was a penalty, but some decisions go for you, others against you.

“I was right in line of it. It hit the lad on the hand, but the referee didn’t see it.

“We know the refs have a hard job, but it’s difficult to take when you are 1-0 down and it’s right near the end.”

Huddersfield is a happy hunting ground for Wednesday. They haven’t lost or conceded in last five visits there.

Before heading down the tunnel to the Owls dressing room, Forestieri - the man of the moment - acknowledged the club’s fans, taking off his jumper and throwing it into the crowd.

His work was done. Wednesday had edged a tight derby. Their promotion bandwagon continues to gather pace.

Huddersfield: Steer 6; Smith 6, Lynch 7, Hudson 5 (Cranie 58, 6), Husband 6; Whitehead 6, Billing 6; Lolley 6, Matmour 5 (Paterson H-T, 6), Bunn 5 (Scannell 80); Wells 5. Substitutes: Murphy, Davidson, Huws, Van La Parra.

Wednesday: Westwood 6; Hunt 6, Loovens 7, Lees 7, Bennett 7; Wallace 7, Lopez 6, Lee 6, McGeady 6 (Joao 76); Forestieri 8 (Matias 85), Hooper 6 (Nuhiu 70). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Palmer, Turner, McGugan.

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).

Attendance: 15,469.

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