Fernando Forestieri marks return to action with a goal: Sheffield Wednesday U23 2 Coventry City U23 1
Fernando Forestieri marked his return to competitive action with a goal as Sheffield Wednesday U23 earned a 2-1 win over their Coventry City counterparts.
Forestieri played 61 minutes of the clash at Hillsborough in his first outing in Owls colours since August's Carabao Cup defeat at Bolton Wanderers.
The 28-year-old slotted home a tenth minute penalty in the highlight of a positive opening period from Wednesday.
Joost van Aken also featured for the Owls as he closes in on a return to senior action following a hamstring injury which has kept him out since Boxing Day.
Van Aken began the game at left back in a 4-4-2 system with Forestieri playing just off powerful striker Preslav Borukov, who put Wednesday back in front in the second half after Coventry equalised in first half stoppage time.
Borukov almost gave the Owls the lead inside the first minute when he met a cross from Fraser Preston but Coventry keeper Corey Addai palmed away before pouncing on Ben Hughes' follow-up.
It was a bright start from Wednesday and they pushed hard for the opening goal, playing with real energy and looking to get the ball into the box quickly, as seen when Preston sent a header narrowly over from eight yards after meeting a testing cross from Ash Baker.
A typically lively presence, Forestieri should have put Wednesday ahead when he latched onto a superb through ball by Borukov but saw his attempt to slot into the bottom corner batted away with the outstretched leg of Addai.
Forestieri would get off the mark moments later as he gave Wednesday a tenth minute lead.
The forward was felled by Lewis Green as he weaved his way into space in the box and rose to slam home the resulting spot kick.
Borukov saw a flicked header from a corner acrobatically tipped over by Addai as the Owls continued to push.
Wednesday's tempo dropped as the half wore on though Preston went close after bring down a high ball and turning to shoot from ten yards.
And Forestieri audaciously went for goal from inside his own half but keeper Addai was wise to his effort.
Coventry provided the first real test to Cameron Dawson on the stroke of half time when Josh Barrett drilled a free kick on goal.
And they grabbed the equaliser from the resulting corner kick.
Wednesday failed to deal with a bouncing ball allowing Lewis Green to hook home from eight yards.
The Owls fired the first effort of the second half when Hughes drilled a bouncing effort through a crowded box by Addai held it well.
And Coventry were inches away from taking the lead when Jordan Ponticelli smashed narrowly over from Max Biamou's knockdown.
Wednesday switched to a 3-5-2 formation after Joe West replaced Frederik Nielsen on 52 minutes with van Aken moving across to the left side of the three man defence.
Forestieri departed just after the hour mark with Jordan Lonchar replacing him
And Wednesday went back in front on 65 minutes.
Borukov picked up a square pass from Preston and shrugged off two defenders before slamming home a low shot on the angle.
Chances for both sides were few and far between over the remaining minutes, though Lonchar should have done better when charging into the box with his hesitation to shoot seeing him tackled.
Wednesday U23: Dawson, O'Grady, Williams, Nielsen (West 52), van Aken, Hughes (Waldock 84), Kirby, Baker, Preston, Borukov, Forestieri (Lonchar 61). Subs not used: Wallis, Lee.
Coventry U23: Addai, Dion Kelly-Evans, Green, Ford, Camwell, Devon Kelly-Evans, Eccles, Maycock (Sayoud 76), Barrett, Biamou (Finn 66), Ponticelli. Subs not used: Rowe, Stedman, Burroughs.
Referee: Leigh Doughty (Lancashire)