Sheffield Wednesday 1 Wigan Athletic 0: Steven Fletcher stars as the Owls return to winning ways in the Championship

Owls writer Dom Howson's match report
Owls writer Dom Howson's match report
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Centre-forward Steven Fletcher grabbed his fifth goal of the season as Sheffield Wednesday secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over struggling Wigan Athletic.

The Scotland international curled a stunning 25 yard shot past Latics goalkeeper Jamie Jones in the 62nd minute to seal the Owls' first Championship win since Boxing Day.

Fletcher, a lively figure throughout, has now scored seven goals in his last seven league appearances against Wigan.

They made hard work of it but Wednesday were the better side for long periods and deservedly claimed maximum points.

The result extends the Owls unbeaten run at Hillsborough to six in all competitions.

Wednesday started on the front foot, with Steven Fletcher's left foot piledriver deflected over by Wigan centre-back Cheyenne Dunkley.

Jamie Jones was then forced into action from the resulting corner. He kept out Marco Matias's set piece with his feet before Fletcher's acrobatic overhead kick flew well wide.

Other than a loose back pass from Michael Hector which Latics forward Josh Windass nearly intercepted, the visitors posed little attacking threat in the early skirmishes.

Wednesday, who restored Keiren Westwood, Sam Hutchinson and Marco Matias to the starting line-up, had a penalty claim turned down by referee Peter Bankes in the 25th minute. Adam Reach raced on to Fletcher's clever flick on and glided past Dunkley and darted into the penalty area. Dunkley tracked Reach's run and brought down the attacking midfielder in the area with a sliding challenge but Bankes felt Dunkley won the ball and waved play on. There were no complaints from Reach over the decision.

Moments later, Barry Bannan laid the ball off to the lively Fletcher, who turned sharply before seeing his fierce left effort turned behind by Jones.

Wigan, without an away victory since August, grew in confidence as the half wore on and Josh Windass tried his luck from long range but his attempt went agonisingly wide with the aid of a deflection.

The closest the Latics came to taking the lead was through Joe Garner, who was unable to turn in Anthony Pilkington's header on from Windass's corner.

The Owls lost their way and it took a brave, brilliant block from Michael Hector to stop Pilkington, making his 350th career league appearance, from testing Westwood following great approach play by Windass and Kal Naismith.

On the stroke of half-time, Wednesday had another penalty shout waved away. Cedric Kipre charged down Fletcher's rasping volley, with the crowd appealing for handball but Bankes was unmoved.

Wigan finally registered a shot on target, Windass forced Westwood into a routine save after lovely play by Reece James and Garner.

There was no shortage of endeavour from either team but both lacked imagination and quality in the final third.

It was the hosts who dominated proceedings just after the restart. Jones kept out Hutchinson's ambitious 30 yard effort and also denied George Boyd before Hector lashed over after some unconvincing defending by the Latics from Bannan's free kick.

Owls caretaker boss Steve Agnew freshened things up on the hour mark, taking off the ineffective Matias and throwing on Lucas Joao.

Within two minutes of Joao's arrival, Fletcher fired Wednesday in front.

Brimming with confidence and self belief, the Owls pressed for a second and Morgan Fox glanced Bannan's corner narrowly off target.

Fletcher was given a standing ovation by the home faithful when subbed off in the 81st minute.

Wednesday could have scored more in the closing stages but Kipre produced a wonderful last ditch challenge to prevent Boyd a sight at goal. Jones repeatedly came to Wigan's rescue, pulling off a string of fine stops to foil Boyd, Atdhe Nuhiu and Joao.