Dennis the Menace steers Sheffield Wednesday back top as shock results shuffle League One again
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Rewind a month and the idea of ‘must-win’ games would’ve have seemed pretty foreign to the Owls, but after a six-game period to forget it’s now very much a case of anything less than victory being a real issue.
Darren Moore’s men are relying on favours from elsewhere in their hunt for automatic promotion, but even that will be no use if they don’t get the job done themselves. They started brightly against Accrington Stanley, suggesting that they’re well aware of the situation they’re now in.
An early chance fell to Lee Gregory after Mallik Wilks forced a mistake out of Doug Tharme before feeding the forward, but his effort was saved inside the box. Minutes later Will Vaulks had an effort from range, but that too was kept out – more comfortably this time.
They weren’t to be denied, though, and they kept knocking at the door until they found a way through. A short freekick involving Barry Bannan and Will Vaulks drew groans from the crowd, but it was patiently worked out wide and onto the dangerous left foot of Marvin Johnson.
His ball into the box caused problems, and a poor clearing header saw the ball fall to Dennis Adeniran, who set himself before rifling the ball through a number of bodies and Lukas Jensen in goal. The Owls were ahead, and deservedly so.
The hosts continued to dominate play, but Sean McConville did come close to levelling up with a lovely freekick – it clipped the bar and went over, though. Wednesday were forced into a substitution as Tyreeq Bakinson replaced the injured Reece James, but they held out for the break.
Another sub followed, Wilks – on the back of a very impactful half – was replaced by the returning Callum Paterson, with the forward potentially not being risked further if he picked up a knock.
If there were fears that the changes could disrupt things for the Owls, those fears were eased within moments. Paterson, wasting no time, caused a nuisance in the box and it pinballed around before landing at the feet of Adeniran once again. This time with the goal gaping. 2-0, and Wednesdayites began to breathe that bit easier.
They were cruising, but they certainly weren’t finished. Bakinson went close with an effort down low that was kept out by Jensen, and Adeniran kept up his levels as he maintained the threat down the right.
Fans were desperate for a big result, and who better to secure it than one of their own – Liam Palmer. He’s already got more league goals this season than he has in the rest of his career combined, and few will have been in doubt when he found himself with space galore following after an inch-perfect Barry Bannan pass. He finished it with aplomb.
In the end 3-0 didn’t flatter the Owls, but more importantly things went their way elsewhere as Ipswich Town finally conceded in a 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Town and Plymouth Argyle were beaten 2-0 at home by Lincoln City.
Wednesday top the table again. The next few weeks could be… interesting.