Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 5 Reading 2

Owls striker Matty Fryatt turns in the first of his two goals
Owls striker Matty Fryatt turns in the first of his two goals
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“We want seven,” chanted the Kop after Manchester City’s score against Norwich came up on the Hillsborough scoreboard.

It reflected the sense of fun and enjoyment that pervaded the ground as the Owls put an end to their run of misfortune.

Matty Fryatt celebrates one of his two goals

Matty Fryatt celebrates one of his two goals

Any kind of win would have done after 12 games without one, but this was simply exhilarating: five goals for the first time in three years and spectacular entertainment for an appreciative crowd.

Wednesday made lots of chances and produced some cracking stuff going forward.

Reading played their part with some slick football but defended poorly at times and were were given a lesson in finishing by the Owls’ “big three”.

They were Michail Antonio, having his best game of the season and seemingly inspired by playing against his former club, Connor Wickham, who looked even better than in his loan stay last season, and Matty Fryatt, who once again made scoring look easy.

Chuck in a comical own goal to aid the cause and it was a happy day to be a Wednesday fan, with the bonus of the team moving out of the bottom three.

The announcer caused a smile in some quarters by effectively handing Wickham a hat-trick, but it was Fryatt who placed home the first goal against the run of play from Antonio’s assist. And, though it was Wickham’s shot that came back off the keeper, it was centre-half Sean Morrison who knocked the ball into the net for a definite own goal that made it 3-1.

In between, Antonio netted precisely from the edge of the box, but Pavel Pogrebnyak’s header to make it 2-1 was just one of several menacing moments that the Royals produced.

Even at 3-1, you would not have put your house on the Owls at half-time, and there were further close shaves in the first couple of minutes of the first half, but two classy strikes from Wickham - yes, it certainly was his goal this time - and Fryatt made the game safe.

Adam Le Fondre’s late penalty was irrelevant but could have been a talking point. I think Roger Johnson pulled his leg out of a challenge on Pogrebnyak before the striker went down.

On the whole Wednesday were the more prolific creators despite a slow start.

It was not just the forwards who shone, Seyi Olofinjana far exceeded his performance at Barnsley a week earlier, with strength and qualitiy in midfield. “I thought he grew into the game as it went on,” said boss Dave Jones.

Olofinjana’s ball-winning tackle gave Antonio the chance to put Wickham through for the incident that forced the own goal.

Wednesday’s previous lack of a goalscorer was eclipsed.

Fryatt calmly picked his spot for both his goals, Wickham smashed home his volley, Antonio guided a shot beautifully into the bottom corner - and there were other worthy efforts.

There were signs already of an understanding between Wickham, who showed touch, vision, strength, and accurate shooting, and Fryatt, whose sharpness is blossoming - he has now scored four expertly-taken goals. Both forwards showed canny positional play.

Jones said of his loan strike duo: “They’re Premiership players. If they’re given the opportunities, they’ll put them away.”

Wednesday in the past have also been found want-

ing in their decision-making or execution of the pass or cross in important areas. Not this time, and the other vital work included a long ball from Zamil Zayatte to Antonio for his goal, a terrific ball down the line by Lewis Buxton for Antonio to drill in the speedy low cross that was converted by Wickham, and the ball by Reda Johnson up to Wickham, whose pass put Fryatt through for his second goal.

Jones was frank enough to admit that Reading could have had a few goals themselves.“Let’s be honest, it could have been five all in the first half; it could have been 12-8 in the second, with the chances we had and they had,” he said. “It was such an open game. But with our attacking prowess from start to finish, we were always a threat.

“I can’t fault the players and I just told them to enjoy it, because on Monday we’re going to batter them with the mistakes that we made.”

But he is confident that the team can build on their positive outlook for Saturday’s game at Derby. “We will do, because we haven’t been playing badly. It’s been coming,” he said.

“Maybe all the frustration of all what we felt was bad luck or not going for us went away, and it’s not a bad place for it to happen, at home, because we’ve played well away but we hadn’t really entertained the fans here.

“We spoke about that and all week we just worked at attack, attack, attack.”

Today Jones will point out to the players flaws when the team were defending.

But the scoring of five goals is a cause for great satisfaction.