Full-time: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Birmingham 0

Fernando Forestieri
Fernando Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri continued his dazzling form as Sheffield Wednesday secured back-to-back home victories, cruising to a 3-0 success over play-off rivals Birmingham City.

The striker, a bargain £3m capture from Watford at the end of August, claimed a double either side of half time to take his tally for the season to 10.

Kieran Lee

Kieran Lee


Kieran Lee also registered as the Owls clinched back-to-back Hillsborough victories.


They were the superior side throughout although they had good slices of fortune with their opening two goals.


Carlos Carvalhal's troops looked more accomplished in possession, created the better chances and dominated following Forestieri's scrappy opener.


Head coach Carvalhal made two changes to the team who thrashed Wolves last week. Keiren Westwood was a notable absentee, with academy graduate Joe Wildsmith brought in between the sticks.


Atdhe Nuhiu was also given the nod up front as Portugal international Lucas Joao dropped to the substitutes bench.


Neither side threatened in the early skirmishes. Both were guilty of giving possession away far too cheaply. Forays forward kept breaking down in the final third.


The home fans were on their feet celebrating mid-way through the half when Gary Hooper fired home after a good move involving Ross Wallace and Atdhe Nuhiu but the strike was disallowed after the Norwich City loanee was adjudged to have been standing in an off-side position.

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It was easy to see why Birmingham have been a difficult side to beat on their travels this season. They looked well drilled and organised and posed a threat on the counter attack through the pace and trickery of Owls old boy Jacques Maghoma and Demarai Gray. The two combined neatly in the 26th minute only for Gray to see his effort deflected narrowly off target.


Moments later, Fernando Forestieri underlined his class, brilliantly releasing Jack Hunt on the overlap. The full-back pulled the ball back but Hooper dragged wide.


It took an inch perfect challenge by Sam Hutchinson, who passed a fitness test, to prevent Jon Toral from breaking clear.


But the breakthrough came in the 36th minute courtesy of Forestieri, who bundled home from close range after Wallace and Hunt unlocked Birmingham's stubborn rearguard.


A defensive mix up helped Wednesday double their advantage as Jonathan Spector's attempted clearance hit David Davis, allowing Lee to race clear and calmly send a left foot drive past Tomasz Kuszczak.


In front of their biggest league crowd of the campaign, the Owls sensed blood and pressed hard for a third. There was an almighty goalmouth scramble following a fierce low shot from distance by Barry Bannan, who was outstanding yet again in the centre, and only last gasp defending stopped Glenn Loovens, Hooper and Nuhiu from turning the ball in.


Three minutes after the interval, Wednesday deservedly increased their lead and it was a sublime solo strike by Forestieri. The little forward carried the ball forward 40 yards before cutting inside on to his right foot and curling an unstoppable shot out of Kuszczak's reach.


Oozing class and confidence, Carvalhal's men kept pouring forward in numbers and Bannan fizzed an effort over from an acute angle as the hosts threatened to run riot.


There was a response from the Blues and Wildsmith produced a smart stop to keep out Toral's header following a lovely centre by James Vaughan. The momentum was briefly with them and Vaughan should have done better after good build up play.


Just after the hour mark, Toral, on loan from Arsenal, rose highest to meet Maghoma's delivery, glancing his header agonisingly off target as Owls switched off.


Nuhiu could have added extra gloss to the scoreline after Daniel Pudil's long throw in caused chaos in Birmingham's defence but the big striker was thwarted by the legs of Kuszczak.


The Polish goalkeeper had to be alert in the closing stages to turn away substitute Jeremy Helan's rasping shot but ultimately Wednesday failed to breach Birmingham's backline again.


The Blues were unfortunate not to grab a late consolation when skipper Michael Morrison rattled the crossbar with a header following Andrew Shinnie's free kick. Wildsmith also showed good reflexes to deny Shinnie but Wednesday were worthy winners.

Owls: Wildsmith; Hunt, Hutchinson (Wiggins 81), Loovens, Pudil; Wallace (Helan 66), Lee, Bannan, Forestieri (McGugan 72); Hooper, Nuhiu. Substitutes: Price, Joao, Sougou, Semedo.


Birmingham: Kuszczak; Caddis; Morrison, Spector, Grounds; Davis, Kieftenbeld; Maghoma, Toral (Shinnie 77), (Gray Solomon-Otabor 72); Vaughan (Donaldson 72). Substitutes: Legzdins, Robinson, Brock-Madsen, Halford.


Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)


Attendance: 28,523

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