Sheffield Wednesday match report: Owls 2 Derby County 1

Sheffield Wednesday v Derby County

Sheffield Wednesday v Derby County

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Two quickfire second half strikes by Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper helped Sheffield Wednesday come-from-behind to beat bogey side Derby County 2-1 at Hillsborough.

Forwards Fletcher and Hooper scored twice in the space of six minutes to cancel out Darren Bent's 48th minute opener as the Owls secured their fifth consecutive Championship victory.

It is the Owls' first victory over Derby in 18 meetings and the result moves them up above Huddersfield into fourth position with two matches remaining.

Despite their superb run of form, head coach Carlos Carvalhal freshened up his side, making three changes to the starting eleven.

The headline team news was that Kieran Lee returned to action after recovering from hip surgery. The injury kept Lee on the sidelines for over three months but he lined up in the middle of the park alongside Barry Bannan. It was Lee's first start since their goalless home draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2.

Lee replaced David Jones, who was not included in the matchday squad. It is thought Jones has picked up a knock.

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Carvalhal also handed first-team recalls to Jack Hunt and Steven Fletcher, with Liam Palmer and Jordan Rhodes making way respectively.

It was Derby who had the first sight at goal when Matej Vydra, playing just off lone striker Darren Bent, fired wide from just outside the penalty area.

But the hosts immediately responded and Lee dragged a low shot from long range off target following a weak clearance by Johnny Russell.

The Rams, who have little to play for following a turbulent season, were forced into an early defensive rejig when Marcus Olsson had to be withdrawn after sustaining an injury. He was replaced by the experienced Chris Baird.

Bannan underlined his superb technique and eye for the spectacular midway through the half when his audacious volley flew narrowly over the top as Wednesday pressed for the opener.

The Owls enjoyed a good spell of possession but couldn't turn their dominance into goals, with Fletcher rising above the Derby defence to nod Hunt's centre inches over.

Derby, beaten in the play-off semi-finals last term, could have scored against the run of play just after the half hour mark but Ikechi Anya drilled a left foot effort into the side-netting after a neat pass by Russell.

Both sides failed to register a single shot on target in a tight, cagey first half. It was a forgettable opening 45 minutes and defender Baird curled wide on the stroke of half-time.

The Rams started on the front foot after the interval and Westwood produced a smart stop to foil Bent after the former England international raced on to Anya's clever pass.

From the resulting corner, Bent made no mistake, rising highest to head in at the near post. Wednesday's marking left a lot to be desired.

The Owls regrouped quickly and Fletcher's bullet header from Daniel Pudil's delivery struck the crossbar.

Derby almost doubled their advantage after a rampaging run by Will Hughes. He tricked his way through the heart of Wednesday's defence and rounded Keiren Westwood only to see his weak attempt cleared off the line by Glenn Loovens.

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It was no surprise Carvalhal turned to Rhodes in a bid to inject a spark into the Owls' play.

And Wednesday restored parity in the 58th minute through Fletcher, who headed home from inside the six-yard box after great build up play involving Ross Wallace and Gary Hooper.

Fletcher's close range finish lifted the atmosphere inside Hillsborough and Hooper completed the stunning turnaround six minutes later. He rifled home after ex-Owls loanee Scott Carson could only claw away Reach's cross.

It was Hooper's sixth goal of the campaign and his first since November.

Clear-cut chances were hard to come in the closing stages but Derby nearly snatched a late leveller. However, Westwood produced a brilliant reflex save to turn away Baird's rasping volley, with Russell heading over the follow up.

Westwood's superb piece of goalkeeping ensured the Owls claimed their first win over Derby in 11 years.

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Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil; Wallace, Lee (Rhodes 56), Bannan, Reach; Fletcher (Forestieri 81), Hooper (Semedo 77). Substitutes: Wildsmith, McManaman, Sasso, Nuhiu.

Derby: Carson; Christie, Keogh, Pearce, Olsson (Baird 10); Johnson, Hughes (Ince 74); Anya, Vydra, Russell; Bent (Nugent 61). Substitutes: Mitchell, Bryson, Butterfield, Camara.

Attendance: 28,889

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

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