Sheffield Wednesday match report: Owls 3 Nottingham Forest 1

Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest
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Sheffield Wednesday produced their best performance of the season to beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 at Hillsborough this evening.

Goals either side of half-time from Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher and Kieran Lee helped the Owls claim a sixth straight victory over Forest.

There was nothing to separate the two teams in the first half, with Ben Osborn cancelling out Hooper's 23rd minute opener.

But after Jason Cummings' effort was cleared off the line in the second period, Wednesday took control of proceedings to secure a much-needed victory and stretch their unbeaten league run to five matches.

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Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal, serving the first of a two-match touchline ban following touchline spat with his Bolton Wanderers counterpart Phil Parkinson last month, handed a debut to new signing Joost van Aken, but the big talking point was the return of Kieran Lee. The energetic midfielder made his first appearance since their play-off semi-final defeat to Huddersfield Town last May, having finally shrugged off a hip problem.

Ross Wallace was also preferred in midfield to George Boyd, who dropped to the bench along with Daniel Pudil. Morgan Fox was left out of the match-day squad.

It was a frenetic opening and Hooper spurned a glorious chance to give the Owls an early lead, firing wide after a fine cross by Jack Hunt.

Wednesday's high tempo approach rattled Forest and Jordan Smith pulled off a good stop to keep out Fletcher's rasping volley.

Van Aken, who looked confident and assured in possession, was unlucky not to mark his debut with a goal, seeing his shot on the turn pushed away by Smith.

Some of the Owls' approach play was particularly pleasing on the eye and the industrious Lee glanced wide after more good link up play between Hunt and Ross Wallace on the right.

Wednesday just couldn't turn their dominance into goals and Hooper blazed over following a superb run and pass by Adam Reach.

Against the run of play, Forest almost went ahead when Ben Brereton beat the off-side trap before squaring the ball for Jason Cummings, who steered his effort narrowly wide.

It proved a costly miss, with the Owls opening the scoring after a goalkeeping howler by Smith. His woeful clearance was seized on by Barry Bannan and he released Hooper, who coolly slotted home to claim his third goal of the season.

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But Wednesday's joy was short-lived as Forest equalised just before the half hour mark. Barrie McKay slipped in Osborn and the midfielder drilled a fierce shot underneath Keiren Westwood.

Carvalhal's side responded in a positive fashion and Smith pulled off a smart save to thwart Wallace's searing volley.

Although the Owls created more clear-cut opportunities, Forest continued to look dangerous on the counter attack. Zach Clough and his replacement Andreas Bouchalakis both tried their luck from long range only to be denied by the agility of Westwood.

On the stroke of half-time, the visitors came agonisingly close to grabbing a second but the lively Brereton dragged wide when he should have done better.

It took a little while for things to get going in the second period.

Wallace caused Forest's defence plenty of problems throughout and he cut insided from the right before firing well wide.

The hosts survived a big scare in the 58th minute. Cummings raced on to Osborn's defence-splitting pass but his shot was brilliantly headed off the line by stand-in Owls skipper Tom Lees.

Wednesday kept passing and probing and regained the lead in the 63rd minute. Lee's well-flighted corner was powered in by Fletcher. No second-tier team has conceded more goals (6) from set pieces than Forest this season.

Lee was instrumental in the Owls' attacking game and he capped his comeback in style, rifling a shot out of Smith's reach after Hunt's delivery caused mayhem in the penalty area. Lee, who scored a brace in this fixture last season, was given a standing ovation when he was later substituted.

Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Van Aken, Reach; Wallace, Jones, Lee (Butterfield 75), Bannan; Hooper (Rhodes 78), Fletcher (Boyd 69). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Palmer, Joao, Pudil.

Forest: Smith; Darikwa, Worrall, Hobbs, Fox; Bridcutt, Osborn; Clough (Bouchalakis 37), McKay, Brereton (Dowell 63); Cummings (Murphy 63). Substitutes: Henderson, Mills, Traore, Carayol.

Attendance: 25,710.

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

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