Sheffield Wednesday: Gary Hooper bags a brace on his return as Owls’ Under-23s cruise past Barnsley

Gary Hooper scores past Barnsley keeper Nick Townsend.
Gary Hooper scores past Barnsley keeper Nick Townsend.
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Gary Hooper netted a brace on his return to action as Sheffield Wednesday’s development squad registered their third straight victory with a 3-0 win against 10-man Barnsley today.

The former Celtic man, who has been sidelined for the last seven weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained at Fulham in the Owls’ 1-1 draw in November, bagged two goals in the opening twenty minutes, before Jack Stobbs added a third late on.

Vincent Sasso

Vincent Sasso

Owls boss Neil Thompson fielded a strong staring XI, with Hooper, Jose Semedo and Vincent Sasso and Cameron Dawson all included in front of a crowd of around 300 at Barnsley’s training ground.

Wednesday came out of the blocks the quickest and opened the scoring within the opening four minutes.

Hooper stabbed in from close range after Sean Clare spurned a great chance.

Stobbs went close to adding a second on 10 minutes as he dragged an effort wide before Clare tested Reds ‘keeper Nick Townsend with a comfortable save from a free-kick at the edge of the box.

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But the home side grew into the contest as Jacob Brown sent a curling effort over the bar, a minute before the hosts went even closer to finding a leveller.

Omari Patrick wriggled free in the box before he rolled the ball across the face of goal only for James Carvell to stab just wide on the stretch.

However, it would be the visitors who would double their lead. Stobbs showed great ability down the right flank before delivering a cross which Adam Jackson failed to deal with, and Hooper pounced to bag his and the Owls’ second.

Despite the home side continuing to press, the Owls did go close to a third through Hooper. The striker turned in the box but his tame effort was easily dealt with by Townsend.

The Reds did go close to reducing the arrears as Brown headed in at the back post, but Dawson was equal to it.

Eight minutes after the restart, the hosts were reduced to 10 men as Cole Kpekawa was shown a straight red card after lunging into a challenge with Owls attacker Clare.

On the hour mark, Hooper was replaced by highly-rated youngster George Hirst and Connor Kirby was also later introduced.

There was to be a break in play when Reds right-back Lewis Wardle went down, but after receiving treatment he was able to continue for a little while longer before being replaced.

On 81 minutes, the visitors made their third and final alternation as Warren Clarke replaced Fraser Preston, who had scored two goals in the Owls’ FA Youth Cup success over Gillingham last Friday.

George Moncur, who has just returned from a loan spell at Peterborough, tried his luck from the edge of the box but his effort was easily dealt with by Dawson.

But the visitors rounded off the afternoon with a wonderful team move capped off by Stobbs six minutes from time.

The winger cut inside from the right before exchanging passes with Semedo and burying a shot beyond Townsend.

Victory sees the Owls extend their winning run ahead of a home clash with Bolton Wanderers next Monday.

*Owls: Dawson; Baker, Sasso, Thorniley, Penney; Stobbs, Semedo, Murphy (Kirby 71), Preston (Clarke 81); Clare; Hooper (Hirst 60). Substitutes: Wallis, O’Grady.

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