Harris the star as Sheffield Wednesday run out clear winners at non-league Stocksbridge Park Steels
An exciting performance from Sheffield Wednesday new boy Kadeem Harris was the highlight of a 5-0 pre-season win over a committed Stocksbridge Park Steels outfit.
With tongues wagging as to the managerial situation 55 miles away, a strong-looking Wednesday side were able to feel their way into a feelgood afternoon.
With the home side sitting in deep Wednesday were allowed the opportunity to get plenty of first-half touches under their belt. That man Harris was a constant threat from the first minute and twice provided early headed chances, first for Atdhe Nuhiu and then for Sam Winnall.
Slowly, gradually, the non-leaguers grew into the occasion. A pot shot from midfielder Ross Goodwin went careering into the grass banks behind Cameron Dawson’s goal and for periods, Stocksbridge frustrated the Owls.
When given the opportunity to run at their men, both Harris and Fernando Forestieri looked increasingly dangerous, and it was Forestieri’s good work in pulling players out of position that allowed Morgan Fox the space to send in a curling cross for Sam Winnall to head home on 27 minutes.
Winnall, reportedly one of the forwards offered out on the transfer market this summer, dovetailed nicely with Nuhiu at the heart of Wednesday’s attack, and it was a well-taken goal, stooping low and arching his neck to perfection to direct it firmly past Tom Crosby in the Stockbridge goal.
Chances came and went, none more obvious than the one that fell for Forestieri on 35 minutes, who’s trip over the ball with the goal sat in wait drew a pre-season chuckle from the relaxed crowd.
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The second half was always going to be the more testing for a Steels outfit up against a professional side fresh from a ten-day warm weather training camp, and so it proved.
Harris had the beating of their defence – that much was clear from the first half – and on 58 minutes scored the first of a three-goal whirlwind on as Wednesday began to transfer their dominance to the scoreboard. A jink, a dance and a left foot strike made it two, before smart finishes from Nuhiu and Forestieri made it four within five minutes.
Wednesday, with the assured Sam Hutchinson pulling strings, spread the ball nicely and the largely untested defence looked confident and, well, largely untested.
From there, the game petered out and with the minutes dwindling, the Owls bench rotated their charges in wait of a sterner test at Northampton on Tuesday.
As the satisfied Wednesdayites shuffled out of having witnessed a job well done, there was time for one more moment of class from an unlikely source in Joost van Aken, who was able to lift the ball nicely over the Stocksbridge keeper to make it five.