Match report: Fulham 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Barry Bannan puts Owls on the front foot.
Barry Bannan puts Owls on the front foot.
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A spectacular goal by Ross Wallace helped Sheffield Wednesday kick off 2016 in style as they secured a 1-0 win at mid-table Fulham.

The winger cut inside on to his left foot and unleashed an unstoppable strike from 30 yards which flew in off the underside off the crossbar to hand the Owls their first win at Craven Cottage in the league since 1967.

Ross Wallace celebrates his stunning strike

Ross Wallace celebrates his stunning strike

Victory was Wednesday's first on the road in nearly two and a half months and the result keeps them in seventh position.

Head coach Carlos Carvalhal freshened up his starting line-up, making five alterations to the team who suffered a narrow loss at Middlesbrough last Monday. Daniel Pudil, Ross Wallace, Fernando Forestieri, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao all returned. Out went Rhoys Wiggins, Modou Sougou, Jose Semedo, Jeremy Helan and Lucas Joao.

Keiren Westwood (groin) remains on the sidelines while Jack Hunt was ruled out through illness.

Wednesday were forced to make a late change after Sam Hutchinson picked up an injury in the warm-up, meaning Vincent Sasso came in to partner skipper Glenn Loovens at the heart of their rearguard. Claude Dielna was called up to the 18-man match-day squad.

It was the visitors who had the first sight at goal, with Hooper, fit-again following a dead leg, nodding narrowly wide after latching on to Liam Palmer's punt upfield.

Sasso, making his first start since August, settled in well as both sides struggled to get to grips with the wet, cold conditions.

Jamie O'Hara should have done better after a lovely cut back from Alexander Kačaniklić, who was proving a good attacking outlet for Fulham down the right flank.

Joe Wildsmith produced a smart stop to turn behind Emerson Hyndman's drive following more good play by Kačaniklić.

Prior to Wallace's thunderbolt, Fulham enjoyed a good spell of pressure and territory with O'Hara fizzing a left foot effort inches wide.

Two minutes after Wallace's cracker, the hosts thought they had claimed an equaliser when Ross McCormack, so often Wednesday's nemesis, drilled home after racing on to Moussa Dembele's neat through ball but the goal was ruled out after the Scotland international was adjudged to have been standing in an off side position.

For all their possession, Fulham, in new head coach Slavisa Jokanovic's first match in charge, found it difficult to break down the Owls' well organised backline. They had 71% of the ball but only tested Wildsmith once.

Wednesday were strong and resolute and always carried a threat on the counter attack. Andy Lonergan had to be alert to keep out Barry Bannan's low attempt after the break as the visitors pressed for a second.

Hooper was in the right place at the right time to clear O'Hara's inswinging free kick in the 52nd minute.

Moments later, the Norwich City loanee wasted a glorious opportunity to double Wednesday's lead after breaking clear following a lovely pass by Bannan. The striker tried to go round Lonergan but the goalkeeper stood up well to snuff out the danger.

The Owls came close to grabbing a second when Nuhiu tried his luck from an acute angle. The big forward's rasping effort was brilliantly tipped over by Lonergan. From the resulting corner, Sasso glanced wide when he ought to have called Lonergan into action.

When they needed to, Wednesday put their bodies on the line. Both Kieran Lee and Sasso made important blocks to thwart the lively Kacaniklic and Dembele.

It took another fine stop by Lonergan to foil Hooper after the centre forward nipped in between Dan Burn and Richard Stearman after a neat flick on by Nuhiu.

In the closing stages, Fulham almost equalised when Wednesday switched off defensively, substitute Cauley Woodrow, who was completely unmarked, headed over Ashley Richards' teasing centre.

But that would have been rough on the Owls, who came within a whisker of adding to their tally in added on time through Helan.

Fulham: Lonergan; Richards, Stearman, Burn, Ream; Kacaniklic (Woodrow 77), Mattila (Garbutt 71), O'Hara (Parker 63), Hyndman; Dembele, McCormack. Substitutes: Lewis, Hutchinson, Smith, Vigen Christensen.

Wednesday: Wildsmith; Palmer, Loovens, Sasso, Pudil; Wallace (Sougou 76), Lee, Bannan, Forestieri (Helan 90); Hooper, Nuhiu (Joao 88). Substitutes: Price, Wiggins, Semedo, Dielna.

Attendance: 19,263 (3,297).

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset)

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