Burton Albion v Sheffield Wednesday: Wednesdayites in fine voice as Owls grind out victory

Three wins, three clean sheets and five goals – Sheffield Wednesday have found a bit of a groove as they picked up another victory, winning 2-0 against Burton Albion.

Saturday, 5th February 2022, 6:34 pm
George Byers opened the scoring for Sheffield Wednesday.
George Byers opened the scoring for Sheffield Wednesday.

The conditions were difficult, that has to be said… Parts of the pitch were more like a sand pit than a football pitch, and the wind saw the ball stop in mid-air on more than one occasion.

Darren Moore was thankfully back on the touchline after missing the Morecambe win due to a positive Covid-19 test, and he was in fine voice as he shouted instructions alongside Jamie Smith.

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It was rough going in the first half as Burton found themselves in control for large parts of it, putting plenty of pressure on an Owls defence that had had to be reshuffled once again due to Harlee Dean’s injury.

Burton pushed, and the wind made it difficult for Moore’s side to get out of their half, but for all their possession and pressing there was never anything for Bailey Peacock-Farrell to do. Sam Hutchinson marshalled the backline superbly, and the trio of him, Jordan Storey and Liam Palmer barely put a foot wrong.

And then, just after the half hour mark, the Owls’ rigidity paid off.

Scoring from corners hasn’t been a thing Wednesday fans have seen much of this season, but Barry Bannan and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – the Owls’ biggest threat in the first half – combined nicely with a short corner, and the ball fell to Byers, who smashed home to make it two in two for him.

Wednesday took control from there, and it was more of the same in the second stanza, with NML causing a nuisance, and Luongo breaking up play nicely in the heart of the midfield.

Chants of ‘Wake me up, before you go-go, who needs Kanté when you’ve got Luongo’ rung out from the away end after particularly good sliding tackle from the Australian. The fans were, on the whole, superb.

But there were some unsavoury scenes, with a section of fans being told over the stadium speakers that anything else being thrown onto the pitch would result in the game being stoppde and the players leaving the pitch after the assistant referee had an object thrown at her.

Florian Kamberi and Sylla Sow were introduced with around 15 minutes left to play as Moore continued to push for another goal, Byers and Mendez-Laing were taken off.

Burton did have their moments, and Peacock-Farrell was forced into his first real action with 12 minutes to go, brilliantly stopping Harry Chapman after he’d found himself one-on-one. It was a major let-off.

And the importance of that save was made clear a few moments later when Kamberi and Johnson combined well, found Bannan, and his shot was directed goalwards by Sow. It was the safety net the Owls needed – just minutes after it was so very nearly 1-1.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's men didn't give up the ghost, though, and with a couple of minutes to go Christian Saydee smashed the ball against the post, and BPF was on hand to tidy things up.

Ciaran Brennan came in to shore things up, playing in midfield, and did just that.

It was a good win under the circumstances, and Wednesday are up to seventh. Job done.