TOWN 0 WEDNESDAY 2
Helan and Maghoma net for the Owls
Sheffield Wednesday left the John Smith’s Stadium with all three points as Town’s recent inconsistency continued.
Jeremy Helan and Jacques Maghoma scored either side of half-time to inflict derby defeat on the Terriers.
In comparison to their showing at Birmingham last week, Town were lacklustre and failed to really test Chris Kirkland. Danny Ward spurned Town’s best chance at 1-0, but he could only hit the legs of the former England stopper following Adam Clayton’s pass.
Wednesday were unbeaten in their previous eight away games, but it was Town who started the Yorkshire derby the better of the two sides.
Nahki Wells looked bright and would have been disappointed not to have worked ‘keeper Chris Kirkland when the ball broke to him in the third minute.
Wells was involved again five minutes later when Wednesday failed to clear their lines; his cross just evaded the head of the advancing Danny Ward.
Wednesday’s first chance came in the 14th minute; Gary Gardner’s snap shot from the edge of the box fizzing past Alex Smithies far post.
Town came again and Oliver Norwood’s clever ball set Wells on his way, but the Bermudian striker’s cross again just slipped by Ward.
Michail Antonio then burst clear and would have surely tested Smithies if it wasn’t for a last ditch tackle from Anthony Gerrard who recovered well.
In the latter stages of the half, Town struggled to keep possession and play the passing football that had served them so well; and as Town struggled, Wednesday came into the game.
Unlike Town, Wednesday made their advantage count and broke the deadlock in the 40th minute. A long throw was not dealt with by skipper Peter Clarke and though there were strong shouts for handball, Jeremy Helan slipped in front of Clarke and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
The Terriers started the second half as they ended the first and it only looked a matter of time before Wednesday doubled their advantage, with the imposing figure of Atdhe Nuhiu causing constant problems for the Town defence.
However, Ward came close to levelling things for Town on his 100th league appearance, when Clayton’s lofted ball found him perfectly, but Kirkland was equal to the frontman’s effort.
Tommy Smith then released Wells, but surprisingly the striker chose to try and square the ball instead of shoot, and Wednesday managed to clear.
It was to prove costly for Town when Wednesday doubled their lead in the 70th minute. A deflected shot fell kindly to Jacques Maghoma, and the Congolese International swivelled to fire past the helpless Alex Smithies.
Substitute Leon Best came close to adding a third in the 82nd minute, but another last ditch tackle from Gerrard ensured the deficit stayed at two.
Joe Lolley came close to making it 2-1 on his home debut; his shot from Ward’s knock down was just wide of Kirkland’s far post. Then Clayton came even closer for Town with his shot striking the cross bar in the 89th minute.
Town’s attempts for at least a consolation continued into injury time with Ward spurning a good opportunity with his head from Dixon’s cross.
Town’s team (4-5-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Anthony Gerrard, Peter Clarke (c), Tommy Smith; Danny Ward, Oliver Norwood (Sean Scannell, 58), Adam Clayton, Jonathan Hogg, Adam Hammill (Joe Lolley, 46); Nahki Wells (Martin Paterson, 71)
Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Murray Wallace, Keith Southern, Martin Paterson
Bookings Town: Tommy Smith 54, Anthony Gerrard 78
Bookings Wednesday: Liam Palmer 28, Sam Hutchinson 50, Gary Gardner 65