Owls match report: Derby County 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Ten man Sheffield Wednesday fell to a fourth defeat in five Championship matches, suffering a 2-0 defeat against bogey side Derby County today.
Glenn Loovens, making his first appearance in over two months after recovering from a hip injury, was sent off in the fourth minute after fouling Matej Vydra in the penalty area.
Vydra picked himself up and tucked away the spot-kick.
Rams substitute Bradley Johnson added a second in the 86th minute to stretch the Owls' winless run on the road to six matches in all competitions.
Wednesday put in a spirited, valiant performance and created a number of opportunities.
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But the result heaps more pressure on head coach Carlos Carvalhal and means the Owls have failed to win on their last 10 visits to Pride Park.
Carvalhal made three changes to the team defeated by bottom club Bolton Wanderers last weekend. Keiren Westwood returned in goal, having shrugged off a rib injury, and Loovens and Morgan Fox were handed starts in the back four.
Joe Wildsmith, Joost van Aken and David Jones dropped to the bench.
For our Owls news and opinion on twitter follow hereSam Hutchinson was a notable absentee from the matchday squad while Jordan Rhodes (ankle) also missed out.
On a blustery afternoon, the Owls made the worst possible start. Loovens was given his marching orders for the first time in his Wednesday career after upending Vydra in the box. The little forward picked himself up and slotted home from 12 yards.
Following Loovens' sending off, Fox reverted to centre-half and Reach moved to full-back.
Derby's boisterous crowd rubbed salt into the wound, aiming chants towards Carvalhal of 'You're getting sacked in the morning,'
Vydra was at the heart of the Rams forward forays and the hosts should have doubled their lead in the 13th minute. The Czech Republic international freed David Nugent and he threaded the ball through to Tom Lawrence, who dinked the ball over the advancing Westwood but his effort hit the post and the Owls defence cleared away the loose ball.
Derby continued to pile on the pressure and captain Richard Keogh was brilliantly kept at bay by Westwood, who made the block outside of his area. Home supporters appealed for handball but referee Scott Duncan waved play on.
Having weathered the storm, the Owls grew into the contest and Barry Bannan drilled a shot over when well-placed after good approach play.
It took an inch perfect challenge by Curtis Davies to stop Gary Hooper from forcing Wednesday old boy Scott Carson into action after a lovely flick on by Steven Fletcher.
Moments later, Hooper blazed over at the back post after Reach floated in a teasing delivery as Wednesday put Derby on the back foot.
The Owls came within a whisker of equalising on the half hour mark, Fletcher heading Ross Wallace's corner inches off target.
And Derby nearly made them pay when Johnny Russell released Lawrence but Westwood came to Wednesday's rescue, blocking the effort with his feet.
Carvalhal's men had a strong penalty shout turned down in the 40th minute. Fletcher superbly brought Bannan's throughball down on his chest and appeared to be bundled to the ground by Craig Forsyth. Fletcher appealed for the spot-kick but Duncan was not interested.
For more news from Hillsborough click hereWestwood maintained his concentration levels, diving smartly to his left to palm away Russell's fierce effort from long range.
After the restart, Russell was cautioned for diving after going down under a tackle by Fox.
Hooper showed a touch of class in the 53rd minute as he picked out Wallace and the winger cut inside on to his favoured left foot before flashing a shot high over the top.
Vydra could have put Derby out of sight but he fluffed a volley after a lovely cross by Russell.
Westwood then raced off his line to repell Russell's venomous drive after collecting Tom Huddlestone's pass.
Wednesday kept on battling and Hooper fed Bannan, who drove towards the byline and saw his attempted cross palmed away by Carson with Fletcher lurking.
Carvalhal shuffled his forward options, bringing on Lucas Joao for Fletcher.
Joao added extra pace and energy to the Owls' attack and he squared the ball to the impressive Bannan, who let fly from 25 yards but his effort sailed over.
Lawrence's corner in the 71st minute was flicked on by Derby substitute Chris Martin but Westwood pulled off a good relfex save.
And Bannan, who ran himself into the ground in the middle of the park, almost levelled things up. His left foot curler flashed inches off target.
Derby calmed the home fans nerves in the closing stages, with Johnson doubling their lead after good play by Russell.
The result condemned the Owls to a third straight away defeat.
Derby: Carson; Widsom, Davies, Keogh, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Russell, Vydra (Johnson 78), Lawrence (Thorne 88); Nugent (Martin 61). Substitutes: Baird, Mitchell, Pearce, Weimann.
Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Fox; Wallace (Matias 82), Lee, Bannan, Reach; Fletcher (Joao 65), Hooper. Substitutes: Wildsmith, Jones, van Aken, Palmer, Nuhiu.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)