Full time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Blackburn Rovers 2

Wednesday v Blackburn stats
Wednesday v Blackburn stats
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Wednesday battled for the entire second half but left themselves too much to do against Blackburn.

First half goals from Jordan Rhodes and Adam Henley put Rovers in full command at Hillsborough.

Owls Will Keane with Rovers Doneil Henry

Owls Will Keane with Rovers Doneil Henry

And although Chris Maguire pulled a goal back on the hour mark, Wednesday could not break down a resilient Rovers rearguard to find the leveller.

Ultimately, a sloppy nine minute period midway through the first half would cost them and leave them with a mountain to climb at Hillsborough.

The Owls started much the brighter and could easily have been in front had Will Keane placed his shot from eight yards rather than power it straight at Jason Steele.

And it was against the run of play that Rhodes’ opener came.

Former Owls full back Tommy Spurr launched a trademark long thrown into the box. Ex Doncaster striker Chris Brown flicked on and Rhodes tapped in underneath Keiren Westwood from a yard out.

Wednesday were deflated by the goal and began to make mistakes.

It took a stunning low save from Westwood to keep out a Rhodes downward header, the Irish keeper hooking the ball off the line as his defence deserted him.

But there was little he could do on 26 minutes when Henley struck.

The full back sprung clear from the edge of the area and slotted under the on-rushing Westwood into the far corner.

The Owls struggled to get going again and the best chance they could muster was a tame Atdhe Nuhiu header from a Dielna cross.


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At the other end, Westwood had to be alert once more to save at the feet of Brown who looked to pounce from close range.

Wednesday suffered another blow just before the break when Jose Semedo was forced off injured with Chris Maguire coming on to replace him.

Wednesday’s night could have got a whole lot worse had Blackburn not been denied what seemed a certain penalty early in the second half.

Chris Taylor turned just inside the box and appeared to be hacked down by Sam Hutchinson but referee Eddie Ilderton was unmoved.

McGugan saw a shot deflected wide as Wednesday made a bright start to the half in their bid to get back in the game.

He received a smart lay-off from Will Keane just outside the box but his strike kicked off a Rovers defender for a corner.

And Keane himself was involved soon after, firing well over the bar after a Claude Dielna knock down.

Then came the glimmer of hope on the hour mark.

Maguire met Lewis McGugan’s cross but was denied with a brilliant low save from Steele. The ball bobbled around the box until coming back out to Maguire who lashed into the roof of the net on the angle.

After Maguire’s goal, Wednesday piled on the pressure with Stevie May replacing Jacques Maghoma to create a three man attack.

Blackburn threw everything they had in the way of the Owls’ efforts.

Maguire saw a blistering shot blocked by the head of Matt Kilgallon just inside the box while McGugan saw a tame effort easily claimed by Steele.

Wednesday’s efforts became increasingly desperate and Blackburn mopped up most of what was thrown at them, leaving Stuart Gray’s men ultimately frustrated.

Owls: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Zayatte (Helan 46), Dielna, McGugan, Hutchinson, Semedo (Maguire 40), Maghoma, Keane, Nuhiu.

Subs: Kirkland, Mattock, May, Lee, Vermijl.

Blackburn: Steele, Henley, Henry, Kilgallon, Spurr, Taylor, Williamson, Spearing, Marshall, Rhodes, Brown.

Subs: Eastwood, Cairney, Olsson, Lenihan, Evans, Conway, Gestede.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

Att: 19.593