REPORT: TOWN 0-1 SHEFF WEDTown welcomed Sheffield Wednesday to the John Smith’s Stadium in the first game following the Easter international break, but lost out to a late strike by the visitors.
Town made two changes from the team that won 4-1 away at Leeds United last time out, with Harry Bunn and Karim Matmour coming into the side to replace Rajiv Van La Parra and Jamie Paterson.
The game began and Sheffield Wednesday was the first to come close as Ross Wallace cut inside onto his favoured left foot from the right, but his near post shot was deflected out for a corner that came to nothing.
Town was the next to come close as Philip Billing won the ball back in the middle with an excellent interception and worked the ball out to the left to Harry Bunn, who in turn cut inside and saw his right footed drive from 20 yards diverted out for a corner. The subsequent delivery from Matmour from the left saw Billing rose highest, but his header hit a Town player en-route to goal and was then cleared by an opposing defender.
As half time approached the game picked up to an electrifying pace with Town working hard out of possession, but both sides were failing to make any impact in the final third.
Sheffield Wednesday then received a dubious free kick as Fernando Forestieri was fouled as he stole possession from Dean Whitehead 30 yards from goal. Ross Wallace duly took the set piece and found the target but it was too far out to cause Jed Steer any problems in the Town goal, as he caught the ball comfortably.
The game then turned into a stereotypical derby as a flurry of strong tackles were put in by both sides, one of which Fernando Forestieri found himself on the end of as Mark Hudson duly picked up a first half caution.
Half-time saw Town make a substitution with Jamie Paterson coming on to replace Matmour in a bid to shake things up in Town's favour for the second half.
Joel Lynch made a crucial goal line clearance as ex-Town player Jack Hunt skipped past James Husband on the left and dinked the ball to the far post finding Aiden McGeady, who composed himself and curled the ball towards goal only to be denied by the header off the line.
Town then removed the already-booked Mark Hudson from proceedings after he fouled Forestieri again, with the referee opting for a talking-to over a second yellow card; much to the displeasure of the visiting supporters. Martin Cranie was introduced as Hudson's replacement.
The common theme persisted with both teams lacking that killer edge in the final third to turn the tide in their favour.
Town made a final change in the 80th minute as Harry Bunn was replaced by Sean Scannell in a bid to inject some extra pace into the Town attack.
The opening came in the 83rd minute for the visitors as Lucas Joao broke clear of the Town defence on the Wednesday left and squared the ball to an unmarked Forestieri at the back post who duly slid the visitors into a one goal lead.
The fourth official allocated five minutes of additional time as Town pushed for that late equalizer and it looked like the Terriers were denied a clear penalty when Kieran Lee looked to handle Billing’s powerful header, but nothing was given.
Town's Team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; James Husband, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c) (Martin Cranie, 57), Tommy Smith; Philip Billing, Dean Whitehead; Joe Lolley, Karim Matmour (Jamie Paterson, 46), Harry Bunn (Sean Scannell, 80); Nahki Wells
Joe Murphy, Jason Davidson, Emyr Huws, Rajiv Van La Parra