SHEFFIELD Wednesday slipped to a 1-0 defeat at managerless Blackburn Rovers tonight and have now gone nine matches without a win in the Championship, writes Dom Howson
Grant Hanley’s fifth-minute goal means Wednesday remain the only side in the division to have not won on the road this season. The victory moved Rovers back into the play-off placings while the Owls are now second from bottom on goal difference.
Wednesday manager Daves Jones made three changes to the team who drew with Leeds United in a bad-tempered Yorkshire derby last Friday, recalling Gary Madine, Jermaine Johnson and Martin Taylor at the expense of Jay Bothroyd, Anthony Gardner and Chris O’Grady. Bothroyd, who opened his Owls account versus Leeds, failed a fitness test.
Things began well enough for Wednesday at Ewood Park, with Madine going close from a Paul Corry corner.
But Blackburn broke the deadlock after five minutes when David Dunn glided past Ross Barkley, on loan from Everton, before squaring the ball to Hanley, who finished with aplomb.
However, the Owls re-grouped and after Bradley Orr was penalised for a challenge on Jermaine Johnson just before the half hour mark, Spanish defender Miguel Llera stepped up to take the resulting free kick and his swerving effort flew just wide. Llera was later booked after a foul on substitute Ruben Rochina, who had replaced the injured Dunn.
Blackburn almost doubled their lead before the interval but Chris Kirkland, who started despite being attacked by a spectator against Leeds, pulled off a fine save to keep out Rochina’s fierce drive.
Jones’s men went agonisingly close to levelling just a minute into the second period, with Llera heading Corry’s free kick just off target.
Rochina, who was on the scoresheet twice when Rovers beat the Owls in the Carling Cup last year, latched on to Jordan Rhodes’s pass only for his deflected effort to be well saved by Kirkland.
Barkley freed Johnson mid-way through the second half and the Jamaican international fired straight at Paul Robinson as the visitors started to dictate proceedings.
Wednesday continued to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser and Jones threw on Rodri, on loan from Barcelona B, and Chris O’Grady to beef up his attacking o on tions.
Robinson tipped wide a Barkley drive while Llera, at the other end, cleared a dangerous free kick from Rochina. With Wednesday pressing hard for a leveller, they left themselves vulnerable at the back and Kirkland again thwarted Rochina in the dying minutes.
BLACKBURN: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Olsson, Givet, Hanley, Etuhu, Dunn (Rochina 34), Lowe, Kazim-Richards, Rhodes. Subs: Kean,
Formica, Murphy, Pedersen, Gomes, Rosado.
OWLS: Kirkland, Buxton, Taylor, Llera, Jones, Semedo, J Johnson, Barkley, Corry, Antonio, Madine. Subs: Davies,
Mattock, Maguire, O’Grady, Mayor, Rodri, Pecnik.
Referee: Philip Gibbs (West Midlands).