Not quite Real Madrid but Sheffield Wednesday get the job done again in battling victory

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Sheffield Wednesday's fine run of form continued as they saw off local rivals, Rotherham United, with an important win in South Yorkshire.

The first half could possibly be described as an Owls bombardment. They were into double figures on shots before the break arrived, had had one disallowed – controversially – and will have considered themselves very unlucky not to have been leading. But such is football.

Wednesday started brightly in front of a boisterous crowd at the New York Stadium, both sets of fans doing their bit to create a bit of a South Yorkshire cauldron in S60 as they fought not only for local pride but also any foothold in a relegation battle that is becoming increasingly intense.

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Liam Palmer went close within minutes of kick off as he fired at Viktor Johansson only to see him parry it well, and Iké Ugbo thought he’d broken the deadlock not long afterwards following some fine work from Barry Bannan and Anthony Musaba down the left side of the field. His close-range strike was superbly blocked by the hosts, though, who stood firm.

Musaba and Ian Poveda were causing all sorts of issues on the flanks, while Will Vaulks – against his former club of course – had the bit between his teeth as he battled for everything in the centre. His delivery, meanwhile, was superb as he put a number of fine balls into the box as Wednesday pushed for an opener. One was particularly good.

The Owls midfielder whipped in a wicked ball with 18 minutes on the clock, putting it on a dime for Akin Famewo to head home, and though he did so with aplomb he could only watch with dismay as the linesman held up his flag. Almost 1-0, but not quite.

Replays showed a huge error from the official, showing Famewo to be yards onside when Vaulks’ ball came in. Did he mistake him Michael Ihiekwe? We’ll probably never know.

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Wednesday kept huffing and puffing as they tried to make their dominance count, but as Poveda rifled one past the far post after ghosting into the box and both Bannan and Vaulks saw fine efforts either blocked or saved it was turning into a frustrating afternoon.

One Rotherham fan in the crowd screamed at one point, “Come on, you’re making them look like Real Madrid!” The Owls weren’t that good, but it’ll give you an idea of the way the opening stanza played out.

There were no changes by either side as they came out for the second half, but the Millers did start brighter as they looked to tilt the scales a bit. Sam Nombe went close with a long-ranger that clipped the top of the Owls net, and as Danny Röhl sensed a shift he delved into his bench.

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No messing about from the German as he went for the less-spotted triple sub - on came Michael Smith (to expected boos), Dominic Iorfa and Djeidi Gassama, with Vaulks, Valentin and Poveda making way. It didn't take long for the tide tor turn again.

Within minutes two of them connected in and around the Rotherham box, Gassama finding Iorfa after a nice little Wednesday move, and he drove a low cross goalwards - putting it exactly where you'd hope an Owls striker would be. No prizes for guessing who he found there... Ugbo was on hand to direct it home as he continued his Kenwyne Jones impression, and the visitors were ahead.

The rest of the game wasn't pretty. Röhl's side went from showing free-flowing football with numerous chances to sticking themselves in where it hurt and repelling everything they could whilst trying to nab a second. Bannan was on hand to make a match-winning block off the line and there were some bodies on the line as they looked to make sure the hosts didn't manage to get level.

It was, however, Wednesday that went closest in the dying moments as Mallik Wilks clipped the post following another nice move. Another goal wasn't to be, but thankfully they didn't need it. No ground was made up after some crazy results elsewhere, but most importantly Röhl's side proved that they can keep pace with those above them.

Four wins from five ahead of another huge game against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night, and at some point - you'd think - they're due a break.

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