Report: Sheffield Wednesday 4 Preston North End 1 - Double for Nuhiu and Forestieri scores on his comeback

Fernando Forestieri fired in a superb free kick on his return and Atdhe Nuhiu bagged a brace for the second game in a row as Sheffield Wednesday beat Preston 4-1 at Hillsborough

Friday, 30th March 2018, 6:31 pm
Updated Friday, 30th March 2018, 6:35 pm
Sheffield Wednesday v Preston

Lucas Joao came off the bench at half time and played a part in two goals in two minutes, shortly after the restart as Wednesday flew out of the blocks

It was Joao's flick on that gave Atdhe Nuhiu the chance to score his third in two games and then the Portuguese was on target himself with a lovely header to double the lead.

Louis Moult pulled one back for the visitors but Wednesday held off any chance of a comeback before Nuhiu scored his second in stunning fashion in injury time.

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Then with one of the last kicks of the game, Forestieri curled in a brilliant free kick to lift the roof off Hillsborough.

Jos Luhukay made just two changes to his line-up, with Barry Bannan starting for the first time since December, coming into the midfield alongside Sam Hutchinson.

George Boyd dropped out and was replaced by Morgan Fox. Fernando Forestieri returned to the squad and took a place on the bench.

The visitors made a fast-paced start - Sam Hutchinson was booked in the opening seconds for a late challenge on Paul Gallagher and a few minutes later Preston had the game's first chance.

A lofted ball over the top found Tommy Barkhuizen and his shot whistled over the bar from a tight angle.

On six minutes, Wednesday's first attempt on goal came via a Bannan cross for Morgan Fox at the back post but the defender was stretching and couldn't get enough on the header. Declan Rudd saved comfortably.

The Owls were given a scare when Hutchinson went down injured and received lengthy treatment from the physio. The sight of a stretcher was worrying but he eventually got up and played on.

There were few other clear chances in the remainder of a half which will be remembered more for some theatrics from the visitors, which was winding up the home support and indeed the players.

Nuhiu headed over from Adam Reach's deflected cross; Huntington headed off target when well placed from a Gallagher free kick and Ben Davies probably should have scored right at the end of the half but Wildsmith got down well to save another header.

HALF TIME: Owls 0 Preston 0

Hutchinson didn't make it out for the second half and was replaced at the break by Lucas Joao. Reach dropped into midfield to allow the Owls forward to take up a place just in behind Nuhiu.

And the change had an immediate effect.

Just a couple of minutes after the restart, Jack Hunt went on a superb run down the right and crossed for Joao to deftly flick on. Nuhiu picked it up, composed himself and fired past Declan Rudd from six yards out.

And two minutes later the lead was doubled. Bannan's cross from deep found Joao who had lost his marker and the looping header floated into the top corner.

Wednesday maintained their attacking threat but didn't give Rudd much to do before a downpour engulfed Hillsborough.

Then on 72 minutes, the visitors pulled on back as Darnell Fisher crossed for substitute Louis Moult to tap in.

Then on 78 minutes, came the moment owls fans were waiting for. The return of Forestieri as the forward came off the bench to replace Bannan who had been excellent in midfield.

Preston pushed for an equaliser and Wednesday tried to pick them off on the counter attack.

In the final minute Joao came close but in injury time the points were won in spectacular fashion as Nuhiu picked the ball up on the right and curled into the top corner to make it 3-1.

The icing on the cake arrived right at the end as Forestieri stepped up to send a free kick around the wall and past Rudd who barely moved.

Owls: Wildsmith, Hunt, Lees, Venancio, Pudil, Fox, Hutchinson, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach, Nuhiu. Subs: Dawson, Palmer, Jones, Butterfield. Joao, Rhodes, Forestieri.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Huntington (capt), Davies, Earl, Pearson, Gallagher, Barkhuizen, Browne, Robinson, Maguire. Subs: Maxwell, Cunningham, Clarke, Johnson, Harrop, Bodin, Moult.

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 26, 588