Sheffield Wednesday 3 Sunderland 0 - Owls click as they hammer Black Cats in League One's biggest game
After a tough few weeks at Sheffield Wednesday, the Owls got back to winning ways as they put Sunderland to the sword at Hillsborough.
There was a real buzz about the place as 4,000 Sunderland fans filed into the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough for what is almost definitely the biggest game that will take place in League One this season – when it comes to the size and history of the two opponents, anyway.
Darren Moore clapped away to ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ along with thousands of Wednesdayites, and there was a mood in S6 that suggested that this match was bigger than just the three points at stake.
And the Wednesday players seemed to feel it too, starting the game brightly with an attacking 3-5-2 formation that saw only two recognised defenders – Liam Palmer and Chey Dunkley – given starting berths.
Theo Corbeanu was given his first league start, albeit in an unfamiliar position at left wing back, and boy did he make it count…
The young Canadian was a real threat down the Owls’ right side, and his finish in the 11th minute was as calm as you like as he beautifully swept home from just inside the box, past the outstretched arms of Thorben Hoffman.
And it was to get even better for Moore’s side as they kept the pressure on the visitors, aside from a few half chances – and a disallowed goal for Sunderland – they’d looked comfortable. Lee Johnson’s side were struggling, and Wednesday turned the screw.
Corbeanu was again involved, as he beat his man out wide and clipped a cross into the box – Florian Kamberi was on hand to stab it home. Two goals to the good.
But given the events of recent weeks, Wednesdayites remained slightly apprehensive. After all, it was only a couple of weeks ago that they threw away a 2-0 lead at AFC Wimbledon.
They weren’t about to let that happen again though. And after a decent Black Cats spell in the early stages of the first half they put the game to bed.
Callum Paterson’s shot-cum-cross found Lee Gregory free inside the six-yard box, and he wasn’t going to miss from there. That’s nine goal contributions in 15 games for the Wednesday number nine – and it was another in front of the Kop.
And they’d deserved it.
How Sheffield Wednesday beat Sunderland
For the most part they looked organised, composed, and – most importantly – clinical. After the third they were in cruise control, and the Mackems could sense it too as a number of them made for the car park and the long drive back up to the North East.
The game ebbed and flowed, but at 3-0 the Owls were well in control. There were a couple of scrambles in the Wednesday box, and Kamberi almost doubled his tally, but Gregory’s goal gave the hosts the sort of cushion that they’ve needed in so many games previously.
Moore rang the changes as Barry Bannan came off for Fisayo Dele-Bashiru – possibly just to give the skipper a rest – and then there was a standing ovation for Corbeanu and Gregory as Jaden Brown and Saido Berahino entered into the fray.
Three goals, a clean sheet, and Wednesdayites are smiling again.