Sheffield Wednesday match report: Nottingham Forest 1 Owls 2
Sheffield Wednesday secured their fourth Championship victory in a row, beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 in a thrilling clash at the City Ground to bolster their promotion hopes.
Two stunning goals either side of half-time by Almen Abdi and Fernando Forestieri ensured the Owls claimed a fifth straight win against Forest.Things could have been so different had Ross McCormack converted a 27th minute penalty for Forest with the score locked at 0-0 but Keiren Westwood dived to his left to keep out the striker.Ben Osborn pulled one back for the home side on the hour mark but Wednesday saw the game out to tighten their grip on the sixth and final play-off position.
Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal shuffled his pack, making three changes to his starting line-up. He handed recalls to Daniel Pudil, Almen Abdi and Fernando Forestieri. Left-back Morgan Fox missed out due to injury while Ross Wallace and Sam Winnall dropped to the bench.Forest, who entered the contest on the back of two successive defeats on the road, gave a full debut to rookie goalkeeper Jordan Smith. The 22-year-old was preferred in between the sticks to Serbia international Vladimir Stojkovic.McCormack made his first City Ground start since arriving on loan from Aston Villa.
Wednesday, lining up in a 4-4-2 formation with Adam Reach deployed on the right wing, made a bright start, with Forest old boy Sam Hutchinson forcing Smith into a smart stop.But the hosts quickly regained their poise and Jamie Ward, formerly of Sheffield United, saw his right foot piledriver hit the crossbar and go over after lovely hold up play by Ben Brereton.Forest academy graduate Brereton was proving a real handful for Wednesday's defence with his pace and movement. He drilled a shot inches off target from just outside the penalty area.Abdi, making his first start in over two months, showed lovely footwork to engineer a shooting opportunity in the 17th minute but his effort took a deflection and went behind for a corner.Smith then produced a smart stop to deny Jordan Rhodes after the striker raced on to Jack Hunt's long ball.The home fans were left fuming when referee Andy Madley only cautioned Westwood for bringing down the dangerous Brereton. They felt the Republic of Ireland international should have been sent off and aimed chants of 'You don't know what you're doing chants' towards Madley.After receiving treatment for several minutes, Westwood picked himself up and dived to his left to foil McCormack from 12 yards.It proved a key moment as Abdi's cracking 25 yard volley put the Owls in command.Forest continued to threaten and Daniel Pinillos fizzed a low shot wide after more good build up play.Forestieri kept dropping deep to link the midfield and his audacious 25-yard curler with the outside of the right foot wide drifted agonisingly wide.The little forward then wasted a great chance to double the Owls' advantage before the interval following a clever flick on by Rhodes. He outpaced defender Joe Worrall but Smith came to Forest's rescue, spreading himself superbly to thwart the former Watford man.
Forestieri, though, was not to be denied after the re-start. He somehow, with his back to goal, hooked the ball home from close range as Forest failed to clear their lines from a Wednesday corner. It sparked joyous scenes in the away end and Forestieri was booked for his celebration. It was Forestieri's ninth goal of the season.Matt Cash forced Westwood into action as Forest responded positively to falling two behind.And just after the hour mark, Osborn reduced the deficit. Brereton dispossessed Sasso out wide, rounded Westwood before teeing up Osborn, who coolly lashed in through a crowded penalty area.Forest, chasing a fourth straight home win, upped the ante and Brereton glanced Pinillos' centre over as they pressed for a second.
But Wednesday ground out the result to put more distance between themselves and seventh-placed Norwich City, who slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Burton Albion.
Forest: Smith; Lichaj, Worrall, Fox, Pinillos; Ward (Assombalonga 58), Cash (Kasami 74), Vaughan, Osborn; McCormack (Carayol 58), Brereton. Substitutes: Stojkovic, Clough, Lam, Ahmedhodzic.Owls: Westwood; Hunt, Sasso, Loovens, Pudil; Abdi (Wallace 74), Bannan, Hutchinson, Reach; Forestieri (Winnall 88), Rhodes (Fletcher 82). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Palmer, Jones, McManaman.Attendance: 20,164 (1,922)Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)