Accrington Stanley v Sheffield Wednesday: Finger nails shredded, but first half blitz earns three points

Sheffield Wednesday produced an incredible attacking first half display to earn three points at Accrington Stanley, but that was far from the full story on an eventful afternoon.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 4:59 pm

Just when you thought it was safe to put your feet up and celebrate the ‘hiding’ Wednesday players have been promising opposition teams for so long, they showed a bit of leg to their Lancashire hosts to go from effortless to breathless and from 3-0 to 3-2.

By the end of 90 minutes finger nails were on short supply. But what a game it was.

The deadlock was smashed open after 12 minutes when Chey Dunkley nodded home Barry Bannan’s searching corner. With two stands of Wednesdayites bouncing, it felt for portions of the match like Wednesday had taken over the Lancashire enclave.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield Wednesday defender Chey Dunkley scored his second goal of the season at Accrington Stanley.

Theo Corbeanu got in on the act to add a second not long after, drifting inside to hammer home an emphatic finish.

As if to blow a raspberry at any notion this Wednesday side passes up too many chances, that they haven’t got it in them to be truly devastating, Florian Kamberi combined joyously with Liam Palmer to lift the ball over James Trafford. He’d had one disallowed for offside early on. The score was 3-0 inside 25 minutes.

That Wednesday fumbled a clearance and allowed Lewis Mansell to hook the ball into their net after the half hour mark seemed to dampen nothing – any dampness was left to the Owls fans having the time of their lives on the charmingly roofless stand behind the goal.

After the break they set off with the same attacking joie de vivre, that renowned attacking centre-half Liam Palmer almost adding to his two first-half assists by slipping in Bannan, who couldn’t quite collect. Paterson dragged one wide a moment later.

But this is Wednesday. And Wednesday don’t follow scripts.

It was Stanley substitute Joel Mumbongo, on loan from Burnley, who scored past his parent club teammate Peacock-Farrell to pull the needle through the record and throw the mood from joy to nervousness. We’d been here before after all.

Peacock-Farrell produced a truly wonderful save to deny Ross Sykes’ corner-bound long-range free-kick and the home crowd rose with the switch in momentum. These are the moments this Sheffield Wednesday side have crumbled too readily at in recent seasons, it is these pressures they must begin to overcome.

And they did. Instead of retreating they pressed on and with Gregory on for Kamberi to offer a different outlet, they could have had a couple more were their legs just a little longer.

There’s no doubt they could have done without the wobbly-legged last half hour, but there could be a sense it was a good thing for Wednesday and that holding out – when many may have rolled their eyes and expected a late equaliser – was worth more than you might think. Maybe.

Accrington Stanley: Trafford; Sykes, Nottingham, Rodgers; Hamilton, Coyle (Mumbongo, 46’), Conneely, McConville; Pell, Leigh, Mansell (Malcolm, 77’)

Subs unused: O'Sullivan, Scully, Nolan, Amankwah, Savin

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Palmer, Dunkley, Brennan; Hunt, Bannan, Luongo, Dele-Bashiru, Corbeanu (Brown, 64’); Kamberi (Gregory, 64’), Paterson

Subs unused: Wildsmith, Windass, Byers, Berahino, Wing