MATCH REPORT: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Scunthorpe United 2

Great stop: Nicky Weaver ensures victory with a late save.
Great stop: Nicky Weaver ensures victory with a late save.
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OWLS midfield star Jose Semedo has hailed Nicky Weaver as the best keeper in League One.

Gary Madine and Ben Marshall scored the goals on Saturday but Semedo insists that Weaver was just as much a match-winner because of his stunning late save.

Double dynamo: Gary Madine strokes home his second goal.  Pictures: Steve Ellis

Double dynamo: Gary Madine strokes home his second goal. Pictures: Steve Ellis

A header by Scunthorpe sub Mark Duffy was speeding towards the corner of the net and would have made in 3-3 in the 87th minute but Weaver sprang to his right to make a one-handed stop that left Duffy putting his hands to his head in disbelief.

Semedo said: “Nicky is a top keeper. I know him from when we played together at Charlton; he is amazing.

“He is the best [in the division], and I am not just saying that because he is my teammate; it is because of his experience and what he does in training and games.

“He got us the three points. He doesn’t score, but he can win us the game. He is fantastic.”

The Portuguese midfielder was himself an influence as the Owls deservedly made it four wins in four home games.

There were some ups and down before they finished off a gutsy outfit who were in the Championship last season and still had the quality and endurance to cause some problems despite having played a 120-minute cup tie against Newcastle only two days earlier.

Weaver’s save was vital, but so was the way Wednesday took control with some nice football and goals from Gary Madine and Ben Marshall inside the first 17 minutes.

Semedo’s part in Madine’s close-range opener was a pass down the line to Lewis Buxton, who then provided the final ball.

The assist for Marshall’s deflected, angled shot into the top corner and his first goal for the club came from Liam Palmer.

The Owls always managed to keep their noses in front, and after it became 2-1 it was Semedo sending Madine through for the third goal.

So scoring was not really a problem on Saturday despite the club’s serious shortage of striker resources - a shortcoming that will almost certainly catch up with them sooner or later unless Milan Mandaric can pull off a deal to gladden fans’ hearts.

Strangely it was the team’s defending that was more of a concern on Saturday, whereas it was perceived as a strength when the season began. Scunthorpe intermittently looked dangerous on the break, with Chris Dagnall the sort of nippy, intelligent striker who would be an asset to Wednesday’s squad.

Dagnall hit the post in a first-half breakaway when it was 2-0. Scunthorpe’s first goal came after Rob Jones was beaten in the air and Dagnall played a through ball for his strike partner Bobby Grant to get away from Julian Bennett and score.

Wednesday were steadied by their third goal three minutes later but creaked again near the end when Duffy did extremely well against Buxton before lashing home his shot to make it 3-2.

Duffy’s late chance which brought the save from Weaver came after the ball came in from Wednesday’s left flank - where Marshall maybe could have got tighter on the crosser - and Duffy’s good run meant him meeting the ball in front of Buxton.

Wednesday were aided in the seventh minute when referee James Linington was honest enough to acknowledge he had made a mistake after giving a penalty for a challenge by David Prutton on Dagnall.

The midfield player, in my view, clearly played the ball. Linington must have been told the same thing by his linesman after a consultation, hence the overturning of the decision.

Megson agreed: “I don’t think it was even close to being a penalty. He [the ref] made a right mess of it. The linesman was strong in telling the referee he’d made an error.

“Pruts cleared the ball and the lad went over his leg.

“Scunthorpe will have the opposite opinion. They will justifiably say the ref gave it so it should stand.”

Sure enough, Iron boss Alan Knill said: “I’ve never see a referee consult a linesman if he’s had a clear view, and he had a clear view and made the decision. I never criticise referees normally, but when it’s so glaring ...

“It would have been a different game if the decision had stood and we had scored from the penalty.”

Megson also homed in on Weaver’s “terrific” save but felt the keeper should not have had to make it: “We let crosses come in too easily, most of the afternoon; we lost our man again. Our defending was nowhere near as solid as what I would expect.”

Pleased with the way the Owls took command earlier in the game, he also said: “At times when a team are 2-0 down it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and have a right go. Then you need bit of quality to pick them off; possibly we didn’t have that today.

“But we’ve played four games at home and won the lot.

“The runs that Dagnall made from inside to out caused us a few problems. Scunthorpe were a Championship side last season.

“The staff and I were talking about this earlier: people have us down as one of the [promotion] favourites because of the ground and the size of the crowd, but there are teams who have spent way more money on their squads than us.”

Manager’s View

It was terrific. I said to them after the game that at the end of the season when you’ve had a successful season, the bottom line is being successful.

We want to win scoring as many goals as we can, we want to win keeping clean sheets, we want to win playing as a

well as we can, we want to win on the front foot. But the word used in all those requirements is ‘win’ - which we

did.

There were times when we were under a bit of pressure, towards 80 minutes; you can focus on those things, I’m sure.

But at the other end at the beginning of the game we were fully worth 2-0 and maybe had other opportunities, while

Scunthorpe had the odd opportunity themselves.