Sheffield Wednesday 1-0Â Preston North End: On-the-whistle report from Hillsborough
Managerless Sheffield Wednesday secured a much-needed victory against ten-man Preston North End at a revitalised Hillsborough.
The Owls, led by caretaker boss Lee Bullen following the dismissal of Jos Luhukay yesterday, showed five changes from the loss at Swansea last week.
The most notable was Keiren Westwood returning in goal after a 12-month absence from the team, whilst Sam Hutchinson also returned and was on the bench.
The flashpoint of a below-par first half came when Ben Pearson was shown a straight red card for a nasty tackled on Marco Matias in the 26th minute.
Pearson initially won the ball but followed through on the Portuguese,catching him with the studs.
Referee David Coote showed no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
Wednesday pushed for an opener but Steven Fletcher's header was well saved by Declan Rudd before Lucas Joao nodded onto the post on the brink of the interval.
Wednesday enjoyed more of the ball as the second half went on, with former North End player Adam Reach going close with two long-range attempts.
The breakthrough finally arrived on 64 minutes when Michael Hector glanced a header into the net from an inswinging Reach cross.
Wednesday, with the leakiest defence in the Championship, were much more solid with the returning Westwood rarely called into action,Â
Three sides of the ground sang the name of Hutchinson when he was introduced in the final ten minutes as the Owls held on for a precious win.
It remains to be seen whether Bullen will lead the team for the Boxing Day clash at Middlesbrough.Â
Steve Bruce is thought to be waiting in the wings, with two of his trusted colleagues pictured in attendance at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Owls: Westwood, Palmer, Hector, Lees, Fox, Onomah (Hutchinson 81), Pelupessy, Reach, Matias (Boyd 88), Joao, Fletcher (Nuhiu 80)
Subs not used: Dawson, Baker, Thorniley, Pudil
PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Burke 79) Johnson, Moult (Browne 48), Barkhuizen, Nmecha (Ledson 74)
Subs not used: Maxwell, Storey, Woods, Walker