Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Aston Villa 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa
Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa
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Fernando Forestieri struck a late winner as Sheffield Wednesday kicked off the new season with a win over newly relegated Aston Villa.

Forestieri, who had endured a largely frustrating afternoon, latched onto a mis-kick from Villa keeper Pierluigi Collini, charged on goal and smashed in low with five minutes to go of an entertaining clash at Hillsborough.

Wednesday played some impressive football in a first half with few chances but were forced to battle after the break as Villa came on strong.

Just when it seemed as though the game was heading to a goalless draw, Forestieri struck to spark tremendous noise from a bumper Hillsborough crowd.

Two of Wednesday's summer signings were handed their debuts with Steven Fletcher starting up front alongside Forestieri while Almen Abdi featured on the left. Daniel Pudil also started after making his move from Watford permanent.

There was no place in the matchday squad for Will Buckley, who joined on a season-long loan from Sunderland on Friday. The winger did not feature having only taken part in one training session with his new teammates.

Wednesday looked to control possession in the early stages and were happy to play the ball around the back, waiting for an opening.

Chances were at a premium as a result and it was not until the 12th minute that they had a true sight of goal. Ross Wallace's deep cross was stabbed towards goal by Daniel Pudil where Forestieri turned the ball wide with a header.

Wednesday grew in confidence, typified by an audacious overhead kick attempt from Fletcher as he met Pudil's cross. And the Scotland forward had another sniff moments later only to see the ball taken off his boot as he was poised to strike a Forestieri cross.

There was a lengthy break in play midway through the half after Fletcher clashed heads with Tommy Elphick. Battered and bloodied, the striker was forced off with a severe cut which required numerous stitches and replaced by Gary Hooper.

It took until after the half hour for Villa to have a real attempt. A pacy attack saw Leandro Bacuna fed out wide and his cross was tamely headed straight at Keiren Westwood by Jordan Ayew. It came during a five minute spell which was by far Villa's best period of the half.

The tempo of the game dropped as the half wore on. Abdi took a potshot from the right corner of the box as Wednesday continued to have the better of the attacking play.

Forestieri curled a superb effort just over the bar from the left following a rapid breakaway.

And Pudil drew a simple save from Pierluigi Gollini just before the half time whistle as he met Abdi's centre with a glancing header.

Forestieri tested Gollini's allertness within seconds of the second half kicking off but the Villa keeper was equal to the effort.

It was Villa who were the stronger side in the early stages of the half.

Rudy Gestede looped a header from a Ross McCormack cross but Westwood stretched well to pluck it out of the air.

And Ashley Westwood was inches wide with a drive from 20 yards out.

Hooper fired straight at Gollini from 20 yards while Pudil scooped an effort over the bar from a corner.

Villa continued to look the more dangerous and Wednesday struggled to clear their lines at times.

Elphick had a glorious chance from a McCormack corner but powered a header wide from eight yards while a smashed effort from Leandro Bacuna flew just over the bar.

Ashley Westwood hooked a powerful volley wide as Villa continued to push.

Wednesday threatened on the break and Forestieri drew a fine save from on-rushing Gollini after carrying the ball 40 yards before smashing a shot from ten yards.

Ayew danced into the box for the visitors but scuffed an effort tamely wide as he looked to fire under Westwood.

As the game meandered to a finish, suddenly Forestieri struck the decisive goal.

Gollini was put under pressure by Hooper and fluffed his kick, dropping the ball into space 40 yards out. Forestieri collected and darted towards goal before drilling low under Gollini to seal the win.

Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt (Palmer 84), Lees, Hutchinson, Pudil, Wallace (Nuhiu 67), Lee, Abdi, Bannan, Forestieri, Fletcher (Hooper 26). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Semedo, Helan, Joao.

Villa: Gollini, Hutton, Elphick, Baker, Cissokho, Westwood, Gardner (Tshibola 70), Bacuna (Green 86), McCormack (Grealish 77), Ayew, Gestede. Subs not used: Bunn, Richards, Okore, Amavi.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 30,060