Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper make their Sheffield Wednesday returns in Under-23s win

Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper made their long-awaited returns to action as the Owls Under-23s defeated Colchester United 2-1 at Hillsborough this afternoon.

Midfielder Lee was taken off after quarter of an hour while striker Hooper came off at half-time.

It was Lee and Hooper's first outings in 2018. Both have endured long spells on the sidelines through injury.

Neil Thompson's development squad returned to winning ways thanks to an own goal from Oliver Kensdale and a fine second half finish by Morgan Fox. Noah Chilvers scored from the spot for Colchester but the Owls held on to extend their unbeaten run to three matches.

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The hosts, who lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, went ahead in the second minute after Kensdale turned in Jack Stobb's low cross.

Hooper wasted a couple of opportunities to get on the scoresheet as the Owls bossed the opening 45 minutes.

Ryan Clampin drilled a shot narrowly wide for Colchester after the break before Joe Wildsmith produced a smart stop to deny Paul Rooney.

But with 13 minutes remaining, the Owls doubled their lead as Morgan Fox curled an unstoppable left foot shot past Bailey Vose following good work by Jordan Lonchar.

The U's reduced their arrears from the penalty spot, Chilvers sending Wildsmith the wrong way from 12 yards after Fox had been penalised for bringing down Andre Hassanally. But it proved too little too late for the visitors as Wednesday held on for maximum points. 

Connor Kirby, who started in central defence before switching

Owls: Wildsmith; Hughes, O'Grady, Kirby, Fox; Lee, Hunt, Lee (Brennan 15); Preston (74), Hooper (Sang HT), Stobbs. Substitutes: West, McCulloch.

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