Owls match report: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Preston North End 1
Sheffield Wednesday secured back-to-back Championship victories for the first time since September, beating Preston North End 2-1 today in a bad-tempered contest at Hillsborough.
Goals either side of half-time by Fernando Forestieri and substitute Steven Fletcher (pen) proved decisive, with Eoin Doyle grabbing a late consolation for Preston.Three players saw red in the second half, including Forestieri following an off the ball incident.Preston subs Doyle and Beckford, meanwhile, were given their marching orders after squaring up to each other after Simon Grayson's side had squandered a late chance to make it two apiece.It was no surprise that Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal kept faith with the same team who triumphed at Wolverhampton Wanderers last week. After an impeccably observed minute's silence before kick-off to remember those who lost their lives in the Colombia air disaster earlier this week, it was the hosts who made the early running. Preston goalkeeper Chris Maxwell had to be alert to keep out Forestieri's rasping right foot shot after the striker raced on to Adam Reach's inviting through ball.Forestieri looked lively and full of confidence from the off. Ross Wallace fed the striker after tricking his way past Greg Cunningham but his effort was hacked off the line by Alex Baptiste.But Forestieri was not to be denied as he headed in the opener after nine minutes following a mis-hit attempt by Preston old boy Reach. It was his third goal in as many outings.The visitors almost immediately responded, with Callum Robinson's 25 yard shot hitting the upright and going behind for a goal kick.
It was a breathless start to the contest and it took a fine sliding challenge by Bailey Wright to stop Reach from having a sight at goal after Forestieri had cleverily slid him in. Wednesday suffered a blow before the half hour mark when Ross Wallace was forced off after picking up an injury. His knock handed Will Buckley a chance to prove his credentials.Things got even worse for the Owls on the injury front as captain Glenn Loovens had to come off. He received treatment for several minutes and tried to play on to no avail and was replaced by David Jones, who slotted in central midfield, with Sam Hutchinson dropping back to centre-half.Despite the reshuffle, Wednesday continued to pose problems to Preston's defence and Jack Hunt sliced a shot well wide after being freed by Reach.Opportunities were few and far between for Preston. Before the interval, Alan Browne, recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of ex-Owls player Marnick Vermijl, fired tamely at Keiren Westwood after the hosts only partially cleared a corner.Westwood then produced a smart stop to deny Aiden McGeady after the Republic of Ireland international jinked his way past Hunt.On the stroke of half-time, the Owls should have doubled their advantage but Buckley some how headed wide from inside the six yard box after a fine delivery with the outside of his right foot by Forestieri.
Preston switched to two up front in the second half, with Jermaine Beckford coming on as part of a double change.Wednesday thought they had grabbed a second in the 50th minute when Buckley slotted home Kieran Lee's low centre but it was disallowed for off-side, much to the frustration of the home faithful.Lee became the first player to go into the referee's notebook after upending Greg Cunningham. It was a clumsy tackle but his free-kick never looked like threatening Westwood.Forestieri turned from hero to villain in the 65th minute when he was dimissed after clashing with Pearson. Preston midfielder Pearson had to be restrained by his teammate Beckford.Referee Scott Duncan brandished the red card after consulting with his linesman. Forestieri was also dismissed when the two sides last collided back in February.Wednesday were awarded a 79th minute penalty which was coolly converted by Fletcher after Maxwell had unceremoniously brought down Sunderland loanee Buckley. Fletcher sent Maxwell the wrong way from 12 yards.However, Doyle set up a grand stand finish when he drilled a fierce right foot shot past Westwood after Vermijl's attempt wasn't dealt with.Doyle and Beckford were then sent off in added on time after squaring up to each other after Vemijl had blazed wide. It was a crazy end to a crazy match.
Wednesday: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Loovens (Jones 35), Reach; Wallace (Buckley 28), Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan; Forestieri, Joao (Fletcher 74). Substitutes: Dawson, Palmer, Pudil, Nuhiu.Preston: Maxwell; Baptiste (Doyle 80), Clarke, Wright, Cunningham; Pearson, Browne (Beckford HT), Johnson, McGeady (Vermijl HT); Hugill, Robinson. Substitutes: Lindegaard, Huntington, Pringle, Makienok.Attendance: 24,843.Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)