A wee Scottish man - Barry Bannan finds the spark at a buzzing Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday pick up their first win
It was buzzing at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday played host to Doncaster Rovers in front of nearly 25,000 – and it was a bit of magic from Barry Bannan that got them roaring again.
The anticipation was building walking down Penistone Road in the build-up. Blue and white was everywhere, and plenty of new shirts on show as thousands of Wednesdayites returned to their spiritual home.
But while the fans played their part in the occasion from the stands, there wasn’t much to shout about on the field at first. Wednesday and Rovers had a couple of half chances – but ultimately didn’t really create anything of note.
Wednesday were probably the better side, but only just. And certainly had the look of a side still getting used to each other following the big summer turnover that’s been overseen by Darren Moore.
One of those new signings, Florian Kamberi, made a nuisance of himself whilst on the pitch, causing plenty of problems for the Rovers backline in the first half but without really fashioning any major chances. It does feel, however, that once he gets in sync with the likes of Bannan and Lewis Wing, he’s a player that could be an asset for the Owls.
Andre Green, who came under fire from some fans for his performance against Charlton Athletic, looked much better in this outing. He was a threat down Wednesday’s right-hand side and wasn’t far away from winning a penalty as his driving run was cynically blocked on the edge of the box – Tommy Rowe was booked for his sins.
Probably the best chance of the half, though, fell Rovers’ way, with Kyle Knoyle breaking down the right – only to see his shot beaten away by Bailey Peacock-Farrell. The only real save of the half.
In the second 45 things heated up though.
Wing had an effort from range that was excellently tipped over by Pontus Dahlberg early doors as Wednesday started to pile on the pressure, before Kamberi watched his header go over the bar after being found following some good work from Bannan and Marvin Johnson.
It looked like it might not happen for the Owls though, as they struggled to break down Rovers despite turning the screw… That was until Bannan picked up the ball on the edge of their box.
Three quarters of Hillsborough urged their skipper too ‘shoooot’, and he did. Bending one delightfully into the top corner to break the deadlock, and send the stadium into hysteria. It’s exactly what these fans have been waiting for – and what a way to get off the mark.
Then, without hardly a chance to breathe, it was 2-0.
Brown whipped one in, Dahlberg could only parry it out into the centre of his box, and it found a well-placed Dennis Adeniran who made no mistake as he side-footed into an empty net. In off the post. The noise erupted, flares were out, and Hillsborough was bouncing once again.
There was drama left though, with Rovers winning a late penalty after a handball. Omar Bogle hit the post, though. A huge sigh of relief.
And then the Owls were home and dry, into cruise control, picking up a deserved win in front of their adoring fans, and a very happy Mr. Moore.