Gary Hooper's second-half brace is the difference at Hillsborough...
WEDNESDAY 2 (Hooper 47, 50), UNITED 0
Wednesday team: Price, Hunt, Sasso, Loovens, Pudil, Wallace (Helan 83), Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan, Forestieri (Joao 78), Hooper (Semedo 86). Subs: Dawson, Palmer, Sougou, Nuhiu.
United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Dallas, Bridcutt, Murphy (Antenucci 75), Cook, Carayol (Mowatt 70), Doukara. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Bamba, Adeyemi, Erwin.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Booked: Hutchinson, Pudil (Wednesday), Bellusci, Cook (United)
The lunchtime Yorkshire derby away to Sheffield Wednesday saw United head coach Steve Evans make two changes from the side beaten 2-1 at Ipswich Town earlier in the week as Stuart Dallas and Luke Murphy were both recalled to the starting line-up in place of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt.
The first chance of the game fell for the in-form hosts just seven minutes in at Hillsborough, striker Gary Hooper heading Jack Hunt’s deep cross over the bar under pressure from two yellow shirts inside the United area.
Evans’ side soon threatened, though, and the Wednesday defenders cut relieved figures as goalkeeper Lewis Price gathered the ball after Souleymane Doukara’s scuffed effort had almost fallen perfectly for Mustapha Carayol inside the area, but the on-loan winger also failed to get the desired connection.
Wednesday then somehow managed to keep United at bay with more desperate defending from a similar scenario inside the 13th minute.
Dallas drove forward down the right and saw his low strike pushed away unconvincingly by Price into the path of Lewis Cook, but the hosts’ defence had bodies on the line to block from close-range before also scrambling clear from Doukara’s follow up effort.
United were looking the more likely to open the scoring during the early exchanges, but Wednesday were able to deal with a series of dangerous-looking deliveries into the box.
Cook again came close to breaking the deadlock on the counter-attack after Glenn Loovens had surrendered possession inside the Owls’ half. The young midfielder strode forward with intent but lashed his low strike just wide of Price’s far post, with the Wednesday goalkeeper sprawling across his line.
Marco Silvestri was then called into action at the opposite end for the first time of the afternoon but was able to hold Fernando Forestieri’s effort comfortably from the edge of the area, while Price clutched Doukara’s low strike from distance as the sides went in goalless at the break.
The teams re-emerged unchanged and Wednesday made a blistering start to the second half, opening the scoring within two minutes of the restart as Hooper forced the ball over the line after a goalmouth scrambled had ensued following a deep corner.
Hooper then doubled the advantage with a quick-fire second just three minutes later, reacting first to poke the rebound from Forestieri’s long-range effort beyond Silvestri.
Forestieri twice tried his luck with strikes from distance as Wednesday went in search of a third, but it was United who came closest to adding the next goal of the game through Doukara after a surging run from Murphy.
The midfielder threaded Doukara into a shooting position on the right side of the penalty area, but his powerful low effort brushed the side-netting at Price’s near post.
Evans was prompted into his first change of the afternoon as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Alex Mowatt replacing Carayol in midfield.
Mirco Antenucci was also soon introduced in place of Murphy as United pushed for a way back into the game, and the travelling supporters thought that was the case when captain Liam Cooper had guided Dallas’ free-kick into the net after 78 minutes.
But, after much deliberation between referee Anthony Taylor and his officials, the goal was overruled due to Wednesday being caught between taking a substitution as Forestieri had failed to fully leave the pitch while being replaced by Lucas Joao.
The free-kick was retaken and cleared off the line as Wednesday somehow maintained their two-goal lead, before Antenucci fired wide with the final chance of the game as the hosts claimed the Yorkshire derby spoils.