Sheffield Wednesday match report: Owls 1 QPR 0

Sheffield Wednesday v QPR
Sheffield Wednesday v QPR
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Gary Hooper was the hero as Sheffield Wednesday beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 at Hillsborough to move up to fifth in the Championship.

The striker underlined his predatory instincts, drilling a left foot shot past Alex Smithies in the 40th minute to claim his fourth goal of the season.

Victory was the Owls' sixth in their last nine league matches and the final scoreline should have been more emphatic but the home side's finishing let them down in the final third.

But it was a great end to a week which Carvalhal had described as the "hardest" of the campaign to date.

Carvalhal freshened things up, making four changes to his starting line-up.

Keiren Westwood failed to shake off the back injury he sustained in the midweek draw at Cardiff City, meaning youngster Cameron Dawson made his first ever Owls start.

Carvalhal also handed first-team recalls to Jack Hunt, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri, with Liam Palmer, Ross Wallace and Almen Abdi dropping out.

Steven Fletcher returned to the bench after recovering from an illness.

Both teams and sets of supporters paid their respects to the late King of Thailand before kick-off.

It was the visitors who had the first sight at goal after a bad clearance by Dawson. Tjaronn Chery seized on the shot-stopper's poor distribution but the Dutchman's low left foot drive was well saved.

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Wednesday immediately responded and Forestieri was denied by Alex Smithies following good approach play involving David Jones and Daniel Pudil.

It was a lively opening to the contest and Dawson produced an excellent stop to turn away Chery's rasping drive from distance.

The Owls came close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when Pudil struck the crossbar from inside the six-yard box after a clever downward header by Tom Lees at the back post.

Moments later, the R's thought they had taken the lead through Conor Washington, who headed in Ben Gladwin's pinpoint delivery but the goal was disallowed after the striker was penalised for pushing Hunt in the back.

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Bannan was pulling the strings in the midfield and after jinking his way past Niko Hamalainen, he fizzed in an teasing cross which evaded everyone in the centre.

Hooper's strike gave the visitors plenty to ponder at the interval.

Wednesday were indebted to Dawson in the 55th minute. He preserved their advantage, producing a stunning reflex save to foil QPR skipper Nedum Onuoha following Chery's corner.

After that let-off, the Owls continued to push for a killer second and Hooper was inches away from converting Reach's peach of a cross from the left.

The R's hit back and dangerman Chery poked well wide after Jones failed to clear his lines.

Both teams made changes but Wednesday almost put the game out of their reach in the 77th minute, Forestieri shooting agonisingly off target after being released by the outstanding Bannan.

In a pulsating finish, Forestieri fired wide again before Lees hooked Chery's shot off the fline after he rounded Dawson.

Owls: Dawson; Hunt (Palmer 70), Lees, Hutchinson, Pudil; Bannan, Jones, Lee (Wallace 86), Reach; Forestieri, Hooper (Fletcher 75). Substitutes: Kean, Loovens, Buckley, Nuhiu.

QPR: Smithies; Perch, Onuoha, Hamalainen; Borysiuk (Shodipo 80), Luongo, Chery; Gladwin (Wszolek 76), Washington, Sylla (Polter 64). Substitutes: Ingram, El Khayati, Henry, Kakay.

Attendance: 25,903

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

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