Steve Bruce confronted by furious Sheffield Wednesday fan in friendly against Lincoln City

An angry Sheffield Wednesday supporter confronted Steve Bruce during their comfortable pre-season victory over Lincoln City today.

By Dom Howson
Saturday, 13 July, 2019, 12:50
Owls manager Steve Bruce

The man entered the away technical area and berated Bruce, who is keen to become Newcastle United's new manager, in the ninth minute of the Owls' 3-1 success at Sincil Bank. The fan was booed by the majority of the 3,000 travelling Wednesdayites as he was escorted away by the stewards.

The Star understands the Owls hierarchy remain locked in talks with their Magpies counterparts regarding compensation levels after Bruce expressed a wish to manage the Premier League club earlier this week. Bruce has held talks with hometown club Newcastle over succeeding Rafael Benitez.

Wednesday are believed to be looking for upwards of £4million to prise Bruce and coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence away from Hillsborough.

Meanwhile, the Owls defeated the Imps after goals either side of half-time from Jordan Rhodes, Adam Reach and an own goal by Neal Eardley. Lincoln substitute Jordan Adebayo-Smith reduced the hosts' arrears late on.

It took the Owls less than two minutes to open the scoring.

Reach collected Lucas Joao's outstanding crossfield pass before whipping a teasing cross towards the back post and Rhodes stooped to head home from inside the six-yard box.

Bruce received a good reception from the 3,000 Wednesday fans that made the trip to Sincil Bank. Supporters chanted 'Steve Bruce's barmy army' at regular intervals.

His team almost doubled their advantage in the fifth minute but Rhodes and Steven Fletcher were denied in quick succession before Joey Pelupessy's fierce right shot struck the crossbar.

Moments later, there was an unsavoury incident when an Owls fan confronted Bruce in the technical area.

As for Lincoln, they responded well to falling behind and Keiren Westwood spilled a 25-yard free-kick from Jack Payne. Attacking midfielder Payne then flashed a shot wide from an acute angle.

The League One new boys spurned a glorious chance to equalise in the 20th minute. After a good run by Harry Anderson down the right channel, the Imps forward pulled the back to John Akinde but the forward's rasping 15-yard strike was brilliantly saved by Westwood.

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It proved a key moment as Reach increased Wednesday's lead. The wide man cut in on to his favoured left foot and curled a delightful shot into the bottom corner out of Josh Vickers' reach.

Reach was a constant thorn in Lincoln's side. After receiving the ball deep in the Imps half from Joey Pelupessy, he fed Steven Fletcher, who drilled a low left foot drive into the side-netting.

The Owls were enjoying a good spell of pressure and threatening to run riot, with Reach and Liam Palmer combining well down the right before Fletcher struck the left hand upright.

But against the run of play, Lincoln nearly reduced the deficit when Akinde pulled the ball back to Jorge Grant, who steered wide when well-placed.

Joao, operating on the left flank for the second match running, saw his 30-yard piledriver rattle the crossbar as Wednesday pushed for a third. If that had gone in, it would have been absolute screamer.

Bruce made one change at the interval, throwing on Joe Wildsmith for Westwood.

New arrival Moses Odubajo was neat and tidy at left-back and bombed forward at every opportunity. He created the first meaningful chance in the second half, clipping in a good cross in from the left and Rhodes' downward header forced Vickers into a fine stop.

Free agent Josh Eachran, who has been training with the Owls this week, was given a run-out in the second half.

Wednesday were gifted a third goal on the hour mark as Neal Eardley over hit his back pass to Vickers and it went in despite a valiant attempt by Vickers to keep it out.

With quarter of an hour remaining, Lincoln grabbed a consolation. Adebayo-Smith turned sharply in the area and fired a shot past Wildsmith. Bruno Andrade and Matt Rhead (2) forced Wildsmith into action in the closing stages but the Owls held on to make a winning start to their UK pre-season programme.

Lincoln: Vickers; Eardley, Bolger, Shackell, Toffolo; Morrell, Payne, Chapman; Anderson, Grant, Akinde. Substitutes: Smith, O'Connor, Andrade, Adebayo-Smith, Rhead.Owls: Westwood (Wildsmith HT); Palmer (Kirby 85), Lees, Borner, Odubajo (Stobbs 69); Reach (Preston 80), Pelupessy, Bannan (Hunt 80), Joao (Penney 62); Fletcher (McEachran 55), Rhodes (Borukov 74). Substitutes: Kirby, Hughes.