Flash report: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Wednesday suffered only their second home defeat of the season as Championship leaders Wolves ensured the pressure on Carlos Carvalhal continues to simmer.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 15th December 2017, 6:32 pm
Updated Friday, 15th December 2017, 8:45 pm
Sheffield Wednesday v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sheffield Wednesday v Wolverhampton Wanderers

A sublimly clinical finish from Ruben Neves left Wednesday chasing the game for its last hour.

While they enjoyed good control of possession throughout, they struggled to move through the gears and truly test the visitors.

And the night ended on a further sour note when Morgan Fox was sent off for two bookable offences with five minutes remaining it.

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Wednesday lost key men Keiren Westwood and Barry Bannan to groin injuries in the build-up meaning Joe Wildsmith deputised in goal while Jacob Butterfield came into the starting XI.

Carlos Carvalhal watched from the stands as he served a one match ban for his sending off against Hull City.

And he witnessed a positive start from his side, who looked after the ball well to give their high-flying visitors few sniffs of possession in the early stages.

The Owls were sent out in a fluid 4-3-3 system with Ross Wallace in the narrow midfield three and Adam Reach up alongside Gary Hooper and Jordan Rhodes whenever the side were in possession.

The width came from the full backs and provided decent penetration in the opening quarter of the game as Wednesday tried to make their control of possession count.

But, as they delivered very little of meaning in the final third, it took them until the 20th minute to produce the game's first real opportunity.

After some patient build-up play, Liam Palmer lofted a ball into the box which Gary Hooper flicked on and Jordan Rhodes knocked down to Adam Reach who met it on the volley but sent it well wide.

And the Owls tested John Ruddy for the first time moments later when Joost van Aken flicked a header on goal from a Ross Wallace cross which bounced awkwardly in front of the Wolves keeper.

Wednesday continued to hold good control of possession, ensuring a Wolves side that has produced some breathless attacking football this season had little chance to do so.

But after barely having sight of goal over the opening half hour, Wolves opened the scoring in the 34th minute.

Ivan Cavaleiro's free kick was flicked out of the box by Willy Boly and Neves ran onto it and delivered a beautifully placed and powerful low finish from 25 yards.

Though initially rattled by falling behind, Wednesday quickly got back to what they were doing before. Yet they continued to struggle for creativity in key areas.

And the nearest they came to levelling up was a desperate overhead kick from Rhodes as he tried to take advantage of Ruddy being stranded after failing to punch clear.

The pattern of the game differed little after the break, though Reach stuck more to the wide areas, largely to provide protection for Morgan Fox who had looked a little exposed in the first period.

Wednesday had a glorious chance to level up ten minutes into the second half. Ruddy was stranded as Hooper nodded down a deep cross from Reach but no one could latch onto the ball.

Romain Saiss went close to extending the visitors' lead on the hour mark when he flicked Cavaleiro's free kick only to see the ball drop wide of the far post.

Wolves were inches away again moments later. Leo Bonatini tumbled meeting a low cross but was afforded time to rise and hook a shot narrowly wide.

Wednesday threw on strike duo Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao in a bid to change the game with Reach dropping back into the midfield three.

And Joao should have equalised moments after entering the fray.

Liam Palmer stabbed in a superb cross from the right which Joao charged onto but sent his header well over the bar.

Wednesday continued to push and a dangerous cross from Joao saw Boly slice over his own bar.

But they struggled to maintain the pressure as full time neared.

And their task was only made more difficult when they went down to ten men for the final five minutes as Fox received a second yellow card for a foul on substitute Helda Costa.

Cavaleiro was close to twisting the knife further with a low drive from the edge of the box which flashed past the far post.

Defeat left Wednesday without a win in six and means they could finish the weekend 13 points off the top six.

Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Loovens, van Aken, Fox, Wallace, Butterfield (Joao 64), Jones, Reach, Rhodes (Nuhiu 64), Hooper. Subs not used: Kean, Venancio, Pudil, Abdi, Matias.

Wolves: Ruddy, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Vinagre (Batth 67), Cavaleiro (N'Diaye 90), Bonatini (Costa 72), Jota. Subs not used: Norris, Gibbs-White, Miranda, Enobakhare.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Attendance: 23,809