Crewe Alexandra 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2: Bannan and Peacock-Farrell the standouts in breezy win

Sheffield Wednesday swaggered their way to a breezy 2-0 win at Crewe Alexandra thanks in part to a match-changing double save by their goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Saturday, 11th December 2021, 4:59 pm

On a day that the Owls dominated from the opening minutes, they kept their second consecutive clean sheet in the league August and looked every part the promotion candidates. The only gripe, perhaps, is that they didn’t score more.

In the absence of Massimo Luongo, Barry Bannan was stationed far deeper than in recent weeks and was tasked with domination. And early flicked ball over the top for Lewis Wing showed a glimmer of what Moore will have envisaged.

Balls over the top seemed to be something of a preferred way of doing things, with Paterson, Lee Gregory and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru in particular hitting the channels as often as they could. It caused issues for Crewe in the opening minutes, but little in the way of clear-cut chances.

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Bailey Peacock-Farrell made a classy double save to keep Sheffield Wednesday ahead at Crewe Alexandra.

The home side had enjoyed an uptick in defensive form in recent weeks – achieving three clean sheets in their last five – but with 22-year-old Luke Offord the oldest of their back three they are a youthful backline and it was up to Wednesday, you felt, to pick their moment to force the issue.

That moment came shortly before the half-hour mark when Bannan, drifting further forward, melted his way through the Crewe defence to present himself a chance to fire past Richards and into the bottom corner.

In periods of the game he looked like a high-level player helping out a mate at the local six-a-side league, drifting into unorthodox spaces and unleashing balls few – even sometimes his teammates – were aware of until it was too late. He played with the demeanour of a man with his dressing gown on.

He may well have felt hard done to shortly before the break when he was adjudged to have handled Scott Robertson’s shot from short distance. And for all Wednesday’s probing dominance in the first half, Crewe had the chance to equalise from the spot.

Enter Peacock-Farrell. The Northern Ireland international has tasted the highs and lows of life as a goalkeeper in recent weeks, but his classy double save kept his side above board. Including international matches, he’s saved four spot kicks this season.

In the second half, Wednesday’s experience and quality shone through. Jack Hunt has been a threat for weeks now and when his cross stood up for Lee Gregory, there was only one outcome.

At 2-0, now was the time for the Owls to open up the evident difference in quality between the two sides. That they did, though it was not evident on the scoreboard, as the Owls cruised home via missed opportunities for Paterson and Gregory.

David Artell called Wednesday ‘the Real Madrid of League One’ in his pre-match press conference. The gulf in class wasn’t that big of course, but a gulf there most certainly was.

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Brennan, Palmer, Johnson; Hunt, Dele-Bashiru (Windass, 69’), Bannan, Wing, Corbeanu (Shodipo, 81’); Paterson, Gregory (Berahino, 81’)

Subs unused: Wildsmith, Brown, Kamberi

Crewe Alexandra: Richards; Ainley, Offord, Sass-Davies, Williams (Ramsay, 78’), Adebisi; Lowery, Finney, Robertson (Johnson, 60’); Porter, Griffiths (Murphy, 48’)

Subs unused: Jaaskelainen, Thomas, Gomes, Lundstram