Pudil pops up with crucial winner as Sheffield Wednesday dig in yet again ... QPR 1 Owls 2

Daniel Pudil celebrates with team mates after scoring Wednesday's second goal
Daniel Pudil celebrates with team mates after scoring Wednesday's second goal
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Wednesday took a giant step towards securing a play-off spot for the second year running by claiming their first win at Loftus Road since 2000.

First half strikes by Adam Reach and Daniel Pudil helped the Owls seal a fourth Championship win in a row.

GOAL....first goal from Adam Reach

GOAL....first goal from Adam Reach

Roared on by over 3,000 Wednesdayites, Carlos Carvalhal’s men were forced to soak up plenty of pressure in the second half as QPR tried valiantly to salvage a result.

But Wednesday dug deep to grind out three valuable points as they picked up their first victory in nine attempts at QPR.

“We knew it would be difficult,” acknowledged Carvalhal. “They are not an easy team to play against.

“Winning is the most important thing. You can’t win all the time playing opera in this competition. Sometimes you gets games like this.”

Owls Gary Hooper holds off Rangers Jake Bidwell

Owls Gary Hooper holds off Rangers Jake Bidwell

After a scrappy, nervous start, the Owls opened the scoring in the 12th minute with their first attack. QPR’s defending left a lot to be desired as Reach rifled a left foot shot past Alex Smithies after the hosts failed to deal with Pudil’s dangerous cross.

Oozing confidence and class, Wednesday continued to cause the R’s problems from set piece situations with Smithies equal to Pudil’s close range header.

QPR, who are not mathematically safe from relegation, hit back through Guinea forward Idrissa Sylla after the Owls were caught napping at the back.

Sylla delicately lifted the ball over Keiren Westwood after a fine run by Jamie Mackie.

Happy Carlos Carvalhal

Happy Carlos Carvalhal

R’s boss Ian Holloway slammed his “pathetic” players after their Good Friday defeat to Bristol City and he will have been left fuming over their marking for Wednesday’s second goal.

Smithies kept Jordan Rhodes at bay after a peach of a free-kick by Ross Wallace but Pudil made no mistake from the follow up.

Rhodes and Gary Hooper ran the QPR defence ragged.

The pair linked well together and were a handful.

Victory kiss from Keiren Westwood to Barry Bannan

Victory kiss from Keiren Westwood to Barry Bannan

It took a vital intervention from Jack Robinson to stop Wallace from breaking clear and testing the reflexes of Smithies after great play by Reach.

But Wednesday did not have things their own way and Westwood came to their rescue just before half-time when he pulled off a smart save to deny Sylla after Robinson’s long throw caused havoc.

Whatever Holloway said to his players at the interval seemed to work a treat as QPR markedly improved after the break.

Jake Bidwell volleyed high over the top from inside the penalty area after Luke Freeman’s free kick was only partially cleared away by the Owls.

QPR kept pouring forward in numbers and they had appeals for a penalty turned down after Westwood collided with Mackie on the right-hand side of the area.

Having soaked up the R’s pressure, Wednesday pushed for a killer third and Rhodes’ downward header was gathered at the second time of asking by his former Huddersfield Town teammate Smithies.

Happy Owls at the final whistle

Happy Owls at the final whistle

Bannan could have put the match out of QPR’s reach in the 66th minute but the Scotland international fired narrowly over after Hooper’s drive was blocked.

Moments later, another chance went begging for the visitors as Pudil headed over when well-placed.

James Perch then produced a superb tackle to deny substitute Fernando Forestieri as the Owls looked for a third.

QPR, looking to avoid a fifth successive loss, piled on the pressure late on Matt Smith flashed a header inches off target after a teasing centre by Bidwell.

“Did we deserve to lose? Honestly? No. I think that’s a draw, but unfortunately they saw it out and we didn’t,” said Ian Holloway.

“The boys keep going and we’ve got three games to put this season to bed so we can catch a team like Wednesday (next season).

“We’ve looked dangerous and we just need to get the goals to get the points to get us over the line and earn the right to be a Championship side.”

Carvalhal held a different viewpoint, understandably: “We were fantastic. Keiren [Westwood] didn’t have too many saves to make.

“We had two or three situations where we created a lot of threat and almost scored.”

It was a perfect Easter for Wednesday. They weren’t at their fluent best but it was a dogged, spirited performance.

Holloway added afterwards to compare the task he has in trying to turn QPR into a challenging side again: “Sheffield Wednesday fans believe they’re on the way back. How long were they in the abyss?”

The Owls are up to fifth and have momentum going into the final three fixtures.

The promotion picture has not become any clearer over the holiday period, but Wednesday refuse to go anywhere.