Owls match report: Birmingham City 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2

Gary Hooper's quickfire double helped Sheffield Wednesday come-from-behind to beat Birmingham City 2-1 and boost their promotion aspirations.

Saturday, 6th February 2016, 4:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th February 2016, 4:24 pm
Aiden McGeady

The striker netted twice in the space of three minutes, taking his tally to nine in his last 10 appearances, and cancel out Clayton Donaldson's first half opener.

It was the Owls' fourth away win of the season and lifted them back into the Championship's top-six.

Keiren Westwood was taken off on a stretcher

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The only thing that took some of the shine off the victory for boss Carlos Carvalhal was goalkeeper Keiren Westwood being forced off with concussion and Sam Hutchinson also going off injured.

Carvalhal made two alterations to the side held to a draw by Burnley in midweek, bringing in Tom Lees and Aiden McGeady for Glenn Loovens andf Atdhe Nuhiu respectively.

It was Lees' first start since December 1, having recovered from a hamstring problem. He was also handed the captain's armband.

It was McGeady's first start since arriving on loan from Everton until the end of the season.

Keiren Westwood was taken off on a stretcher

Wednesday were forced into making a late change after Kieran Lee picked up an injury in the warm-up, meaning Vincent Sasso came in at centre-back and Sam Hutchinson was switched into midfield.

In the pouring rain at St Andrew's, Birmingham threatened to break the deadlock in the seventh minute after a good spell of pressure but Gary Hooper produced a fine block to deny Will Buckley a sight at goal.

There was a seven and a half minute stoppage in play after Westwood sustained a knock. The goalkeeper received treatment from Owls' medical staff and was eventually taken off on a stretcher. He wore a neck brace as a precaution and was taken to hospital. All sides of the ground clapped him off.

Republic of Ireland international Westwood was replaced by Lewis Price.

To compound Wednesday's mounting injury problems, Hutchinson also had to be taken off after picking up a knock. His replacement was Lewis McGugan, who bagged a brace in last Saturday's cup loss at Shrewsbury Town.

Carvalhal's men nearly caught Birmingham out on the counter attack, with Hooper's fierce right foot drive spilled by Tomasz Kuszczak.

But it was the Blues who caused more problems in the final third as Jon Toral, on loan from Arsenal, dragged wide before Clayton Donaldson was denied by a brilliant save from Price after beating Wednesday's off-side trap. It was an excellent piece of goalkeeping by Price.

However, Birmingham didn't have it all their own way and Hooper fired wide from an acute angle following a neat through ball by Barry Bannan, who received plenty of flak from the home fans, having started his career at their arch rivals Aston Villa.

Ten minutes of additional time was added on by the fourth official at the end of the half and Donaldson gave Birmingham the upperhand, coolly stroking the ball in after Lees' attempted clearance was charged down by Michael Morrison. It was a sloppy mistake by Lees.

Given the circumstances and wet conditions, it would have been easy for Wednesday to throw in the towel.

But Carvalhal's charges kept going and just after the re-start Fernando Forestieri turned sharply just outside the penalty drive before unleashing a right foot effort which was smartly gathered by Kuszczak.

Birmingham wasted a great opportunity to put the contest out of the Owls' reach in the 49th minute after Jacques Maghoma, playing against his former club, skipped past Ross Wallace out wide. The winger cut the ball back to Donaldson and his attempt from close range was turned away by Price, with Buckley fluffing his lines from the rebound.

Just after the hour mark, Carvalhal threw on Nuhiu, hoping his height and physicality could open up Birmingham's well organised back four.

It didn't take the big forward long to make his presence felt as he chased down a lost cause and his dangerous centre had to be hacked away by Morrison with Hooper lurking.

The momentum had swung the visitors way and Ross Wallace's rasping strike was tipped over by Kuszczak.

Cheered on by 3,000 plus Owls fans, Hooper levelled things up, drilling a shot past Kuszczak which went in off the crossbar after receiving Nuhiu's pass.

Moments later, Nuhiu was unlucky not to get on the score-sheet after a quick break.

Ultimately, they were not to be denied and Hooper tapped in Forestieri's cross in the 79th minute to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Wednesday's attacking firepower was carving Birmingham open at will and Kuszczak had to dive down low to his left to thwart Forestieri.

In the closing stages, the Blues had a big penalty claim waved away by referee James Adcock after substitute Diego Fabbrini appeared to be bundled over by Lewis McGugan.

Birmingham: Kuszczak; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Gleeson, Kieftenbeld; Buckley (Vaughan 81), Toral (Fabbrini 71), Maghoma (Solomon-Otabor 83); Donaldson, Substitutes: Legzdins, Spector, Davis, Shotton.

Owls: Westwood (Price 18); Hunt, Lees, Sasso, Pudil; Wallace, Hutchinson (McGugan 22), Bannan, McGeady (Nuhiu 61); Hooper, Forestieri. Substitutes: Semedo, Bennett, Joao, Helan.

Attendance: 20,302 (3,047)

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire)