Sheffield Wednesday Report: Owls 1 Fulham 2

Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham
Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham
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Much-changed Sheffield Wednesday saw out their regular Championship campaign with defeat to Fulham at a packed Hillsborough, bringing to an end their superb six-game winning run.

Sam Winnall gave Wednesday an early lead but a goal in each half from Neeskens Kebano - either side of a red card for Marco Matias - gave the visitors the win in an open and entertaining encounter between two teams who have bigger fish to fry in the next ten days.

Carlos Carvalhal made TEN alterations to the side that earned a play-off place at Ipswich last week, with only goalscorer that day Kieran Lee being retained.

That meant there was a first start of the season for Marco Matias, while Sam Hutchinson also returned from injury. Keiren Westwood was rested in favour of Joe Wildsmith for the young stopper's first league start of the campaign. His previous outing for the first team came in the FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough in January. Sam Winnall was also back in the starting XI for the first time since scoring against his old club Barnsley at the beginning of April.

Urby Emanuelson, who had never made an appearance in a Wednesday shirt, was named on the bench.

Fulham meanwhile, made four changes from the side that drew with Brentford last week.

The game began at a pedestrian pace with little to suggest it was going to be anything like the most competitive match-up seen at Hillsborough this season. However, it lit up in the ninth minute when Wednesday took the lead.

Referee Graham Scott got in the way of the ball in the centre circle and Lee capitalised, bringing it clear before releasing Winnall who struck well into the bottom left corner from 12 yards at an angle.

After that, Wednesday produced some eye-catching football, playing without fear and the swagger of a team oozing in confidence, even if the majority of this side had not been involved in the run of six wins previous to this.

However, Fulham were never really out of the game and on 25 minutes as Wednesday momentarily switched off, the Cottagers equalised when Denis Odoi's cross was turned in by Neeskens Kebano.

That goal did knock the cockiness out of the Owls somewhat and for a period it was the visitors who looked more like scoring. Chris Martin headed just wide on 31 minutes with their best chance to take the lead.

The Owls would eventually rally, however, and Lee was at the heart of everything good about their play. The midfielder went on a superb run in the 40th minute before playing in Jordan Rhodes, whose cross found strike-partner Winnall but the subsequent shot was blocked.

Then, in first half injury time, Wednesday went down to ten men when Matias was perhaps harshly sent off. The midfielder lost out in a battle for the ball with Sone Aluko and from behind challenged the Fulham forward as he broke in his own half. A yellow card would arguably have been sufficient, but referee Scott chose to show red.

Fulham, buoyed by having a one-man advantage, looked dangerous after the break and on 50 minutes Scott Malone struck the bar with a volley from eight yards out.

Wednesday's stand-out performer Lee was replaced on the hour mark by Will Buckley as Fulham continued to edge the second half.

Substitute Floyd Ayite was next to go close, his close range shot deflected away by a Vincent Sasso block.

On 75 minutes Emanuelson came on for his first ever appearance in an Owls shirt, replacing Sam Hutchinson.

Four minutes later Fulham took the lead as Kebano got on the end of a free kick and glanced his head at goal and though Wednesday players claimed it didn't cross the line, the goal was given.

Kebano was denied another goal with a few minutes remaining when after running through, the forward saw his effort brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Wildsmith.

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith; Palmer, Sasso, Semedo, Fox; Lee, Jones, Hutchinson, Matias; Rhodes, Winnall. Subs: Dawson, Hunt, Emanuelson, Buckley, Bannan, Reach, Nuhiu.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Odoi, Kalas, Ream, Malone, McDonald, Cairney, Aluko, Piazon, Kebano, Martin. Subs: Button, Fredericks, Sessegnon, Johansen, Ayite, Cyriac.