Owls match report: Preston 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Top-scorer Fernando Forestieri saw red as Sheffield Wednesday slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Preston North End today.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 20th February 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th February 2016, 4:05 pm
Daniel Pudil beats Joe Garner in the air.
Daniel Pudil beats Joe Garner in the air.

The 12-goal Argentine forward was given his marching orders for two bookable offences in the second half.

His first yellow card was for simulation and his second for handling Atdhe Nuhiu's cross.

Barry Bannan battles for possession with Daniel Johnson

Not long after after Forestieri's dismissal, Joe Garner grabbed a 73rd minute winner, heading in Calum Wood's fine centre, to condemn Wednesday to their first league loss in 2016.

It was Garner's fourth goal of the campaign, ending his lean spell in front of goal. The striker had gone 13 matches without finding the back of the net.

Defeat sees Wednesday fall to sixth in the table following Derby's victory at Brentford.

Carvalhal named an unchanged side for the first time this season.

Barry Bannan battles for possession with Daniel Johnson

Although Glenn Loovens and Sam Hutchinson have recovered from their groin and knee problems respectively, Carvalhal opted to leave the duo out of his match-day squad. It is a busy week for

Aiden McGeady, on loan from Everton until the end of the season, was also another notable absentee.

It was Preston who created the first meaningful opening in the 10th minute as Calum Woods side-footed narrowly wide from an acute angle after a dangerous cross to the back post by Greg Cunningham.

The Lilywhites, lining up in a 5-3-2 formation, sat deep, allowing Wednesday to dominate possession.

Ross Wallace, playing against his former club, was booed every time he touched the ball by the home faithful. He fired a left foot free kick straight against the Preston wall from 25 yards out after a clumsy foul by Bailey Wright on Fernando Forestieri.

Mid-way through the first half, Preston registered the first shot on target, Joe Garner's fierce volley from distance forcing Keiren Westwood into action.

Moments later, Adam Reach's rasping drive from just outside the penalty area flew inches over the top after Wednesday only partially cleared a Paul Gallagher corner.

It was proving to be a good spell for Preston, with Keiren Westwood producing a fine save to tip behind Garner's header following another teasing set piece by Gallagher.

Barry Bannan, arguably the Owls' stand-out performer this season, became the first player to be cautioned after bringing down Garner near the half-way line.

From the resulting free-kick, the visitors switched off defensively and Tom Clarke almost pounced, dragging a shot wide when well-placed.

Nuhiu wasted a glorious chance to test the reflexes of Anders Lindegaard following a neat passing move but the striker tried to feed Gary Hooper and Preston snuffed out the danger.

Stand-in Owls skipper Tom Lees came within a whisker of getting on the end of Bannan's delivery towards the back post as Carvalhal's kept pressing for the opener.

Seven minutes after the re-start, Preston had a big penalty appeal turned down after Jack Hunt appeared to push Garner to ground as the striker tried to reach Woods' deep centre.

Things started to open up as the half wore on, with Hooper flashing a low centre across the face of goal before Daniel Pudil drilled over following a goal-mouth scramble.

It took a good piece of defending by Czech Republic international Pudil to deny Daniel Johnson a sight at goal as Preston, who also named an unchanged side, continued to cause problems.

Wednesday were forced to rejig their side after Forestieri received his second booking for handling Nuhiu's cross.

Going down to 10-men handed the initiative to Preston and Westwood had to be alert to keep out Reach's 20-yard drive.

Ultimately, they made their numerical advantage count through Garner, giving the visitors a mountain to climb.

With five minutes left, substitute Lucas Joao nearly turned in Hooper's cross only to be thwarted by a superb last-ditch challenge from Clarke.

Preston: Lindegaard; Woods, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Cunningham; Browne, Gallagher (Pearson 88), Johnson; Reach, Garner (Hugill 89). Substitutes: Kirkland, Kilkenny, Welsh, Robinson, Doyle.

Owls: Westwood; Hunt (Matias 85), Lees, Sasso, Pudil; Wallace, Bannan, Lee (McGugan 77), Forestieri; Hooper, Nuhiu (Joao 69). Substitutes: Price, Turner, Bennett, Lopez.

Attendance: 16,923 (5,648)

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)