Match Highlights: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Brentford 0 - Owls don’t have flip flops on just yet

Filipe Melo and Jacques Maghoma congratulate Kieran Lee on his goal for the Owls
Filipe Melo and Jacques Maghoma congratulate Kieran Lee on his goal for the Owls
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When referee Mark Brown blew the final whistle at Hillsborough, Wednesdayites breathed a communal sigh of relief amid a chorus of cheers that will live long in the memory.

It looked like it might be another frustrating evening but, with 15 minutes left, Kieran Lee lashed in his fifth goal of the season after substitute Sergiu Bus and Caolan Lavery found a chink in Brentford’s armour.

It was only the Owls’ second home victory since Boxing Day and their first since Dejphon Chansiri completed his takeover of the club last month. They also equalled a club-record by keeping a 17th Championship shut-out.

The result halted Wednesday’s three-match winless run and seriously damages Brentford’s prospects of qualifying for the end of season play-offs.

Owls head coach Stuart Gray sprung a surprise with his team selection, handing Filipe Melo his first Hillsborough start, replacing Sam Hutchinson who missed out due to a virus.

Gray decided to tactically mix things up by matching the Bees’ 4-2-3-1 formation. He asked Caolan Lavery to do a job on the right hand side with Lloyd Isgrove deployed on the opposite flank while Lewis McGugan played in a more advanced role.

Wednesday made a promising start and Lee, sliding in, almost turned in Lavery’s low cross but David Button was equal to it.

There was over £3million’s worth of talent in Brentford’s first eleven and they showed some of their attacking prowess in the third minute when Dallas cut in onto his right foot before drilling a shot straight at Keiren Westwood.

Andre Gray raced on to a Jonathan Douglas through ball and looked poised to pull the trigger only to be denied a sight at goal by a great recovery challenge from stand-in Owls skipper Tom Lees.

Wednesday could have been awarded a penalty in the 13th minute but May elected to stay on his feet, despite being clipped by James Tarkowski, and Brentford’s backline dealt with the danger.

Kieran Lee - seen here stretching to dispossess Jonathan Douglas - scored the only goal of the game

Kieran Lee - seen here stretching to dispossess Jonathan Douglas - scored the only goal of the game

It took a fine block from Kamil Zayatte to prevent Toumani Diagouraga from testing the reflexes of Westwood as Brentford enjoyed the bulk of the possession and territory.

Even without the absent Alex Pritchard’s skill and trickery, the Bees looked a classy attacking outfit and midway through the half Alan Judge squared the ball to Dallas, who lifted his drive over the top when well-placed.

McGugan showed glimpses of his quality in an entertaining first period and the Watford loanee was comfortably denied by Button after good build up play involving Lavery.


Filipe Melo impressed on his first start at Hillsborough

Filipe Melo impressed on his first start at Hillsborough

VIDEO: Stuart Gray’s relief as Owls hold on for rare home win

The Owls survived a big let off in the 33rd minute when Gray out-paced Lees before breaking clear and shooting off target, although it appeared Westwood got a touch.

Moments later, the hosts nearly made Brentford pay for their profligacy in front of goal but Lavery hooked Lewis Buxton’s teasing delivery narrowly wide.

Melo may speak little English but that didn’t stop him from putting in a hard-working display in the middle of the park and he had Button scrambling across his goalline in the 39th minute with a venomous long range attempt.

Two minutes before the interval, there was a controversial incident when Judge, who appeared to be standing in an off-side position, latched on to Gray’s clever back heel. With only Westwood to beat, he struck the crossbar.

Gray’s men came close to unlocking the Bees’ stubborn defence on the stroke of half-time after McGugan released Lavery, who whipped in a lovely cross which May steered wide.

Lewis McGugan is tracked closely by Toumani Diagouraga

Lewis McGugan is tracked closely by Toumani Diagouraga

There were cries of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ aimed at referee Mark Brown as he trudged down the tunnel.

Brentford manager Mark Warburton, a former City trader, would have felt aggrieved, on the balance of play, to have gone in all square at the interval.

Gray could have improved Warburton’s mood in the 50th minute but the 16-goal striker’s rasping drive went agonisingly wide following a neat pass by Diagouraga.

Melo produced a vital clearance to stop Gray from getting on the end of Judge’s cross towards the back post as Brentford continued to press hard for the opener.

It was no surprise when Gray made a double substitution just before the hour mark, with Brentford threatening to run riot. He freshened up his forward line, throwing on Maguire and Bus at the expense of Isgrove and May.

It didn’t take Maguire long to make an impact, threading a lovely ball through to Lavery, who weaved his way into the penalty area before seeing his strike brilliantly charged down by Moses Odubajo.

Bus fired wide prior to Lee registering his first home goal of the campaign.

Brentford refused to give up and Westwood made a smart stop to keep out Jota’s low shot, with Melo clearing the loose ball to safety.

For all their eye-catching, intricate football, the Bees lacked a killer instinct in the final third and Judge smashed a glorious opportunity over the top as they piled on the pressure in the closing minutes.

Indeed, Wednesday’s victory could have been more emphatic had Bus kept his composure and not blazed over in the dying minutes.

Maguire and Douglas were both cautioned in added on time after clashing off the ball but nothing could take the gloss off the Owls getting back to winning ways.