Owls match report: Fulham 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday
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Steven Fletcher's classy 64th minute volley ensured Sheffield Wednesday beat Fulham 1-0 to secure their first Championship victory of the season.

It was the 30-year-old's second goal this term and gave Carlos Carvalhal's men a much-needed three points.

Victory moves them up to 13th in the table after four matches and will lift the mood at Hillsborough ahead of two more away trips.

After their battling midweek draw with Sunderland, Carvalhal shuffled his pack, making three changes to his starting line-up.

He handed starts to Morgan Fox, George Boyd and Steven Fletcher, with Ross Wallace, Almen Abdi and Sam Winnall making way. Winnall was a notable absentee from the matchday squad.

Glenn Loovens failed to shake off a back injury and new signing Frederico Venancio was not granted international clearance in time for the trip to the capital. It meant Daniel Pudil partnered Tom Lees in defence.

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Forward Fernando Forestieri was named on the bench, having sat-out their last two matches following his training ground spat with Winnall.

As for Fulham, influential midfielder Tom Cairney lined up in the middle of the park after shrugging off a knee problem.

Wednesday ditched the midfield diamond and reverted back to Carvalhal's preferred 4-4-2 system, with Boyd stationed on the right and Adam Reach on the opposite flank.

It was Carvalhal's side who had the first chance of note, Hooper heading over David Jones' corner inside the six-yard box.

Fulham enjoyed the lion-share of possession and the majority of their threat came down the left wing. Teen starlet Ryan Sessegnon was proving a real handful.

The Cottagers could have gone ahead in the 20th minute but Sone Aluko steered his free header over the crossbar following a well flighted corner by Rui Fonte.

Moments later, former Braga striker Fonte spearheaded a quick counter attack before fizzing in a teasing delivery which narrowly evaded the onrushing Sessegnon in the middle.

The hosts continued to play their expansive, passing football and midfield playmaker Stefan Johansen fired inches over after Jack Hunt only partially dealt with Aluko's cross.

But Fulham did not have things all their own way and Fletcher's looping header flashed agonisingly wide after good play by Fox.

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Kevin McDonald rose highest to meet new signing Fonte's free kick on the stroke of half-time but he was unable to keep his header down to add to the Cottagers frustration.

Another chance went begging for Fulham in the 55th minute. The lively Sessegnon latched on to Aluko's neat pass but he dragged his effort wide.

Wednesday hit back immediately through Barry Bannan, who's rasping left foot drive was parried by Button into the path of Fletcher and the Scotland international slotted home from close range but the strike was ruled out for off-side.

Just after the hour mark, Cottagers head coach Slavisa Jokanovic freshened up his attacking options, bringing on Neeskens Kebano and Oliver Norwood.

But Fletcher silenced the home crowd, drilling an unstoppable left foot volley into the bottom corner after superb link up play on the left by Bannan and Reach.

Kebano, who bagged a brace when the two teams last met in the final match of the regular 2016/17 season, forced Westwood into a smart stop at his near post as Fulham pressed for an instant response.

Fletcher came close to grabbing a second after Jones' attempted shot dropped invitingly to him but he was denied by the agility of Button.

Fulham kept passing and probing and Fonte blazed over when he should have done better just outside the penalty area.

However, Wednesday were not to be denied and extended their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions.

Fulham: Button; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Odoi; McDonald (Kamara 75), Johansen (Norwood 62), Cairney; Aluko (Kebano 62), Sessegnon, Fonte. Substitutes: Bettinelli, Ojo, Djalo, Cisse.

Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Pudil, Fox; Boyd (Palmer 90), Bannan, Jones, Reach; Hooper (Forestieri 80), Fletcher (Nuhiu 90). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Rhodes, Abdi, Wallace.

Attendance: 20,165.

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