Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Blackburn 2

Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn Rovers....Owls two goal hero Jermaine Johnson with Stuart Holden
Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn Rovers....Owls two goal hero Jermaine Johnson with Stuart Holden
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JERMAINE Johnson celebrated his brilliant winning goal by jogging to the front of the North Stand and sitting on top of the perimeter wall.

A golden throne would have been a more apt for the man who was king of Hillsborough because of finishing to rival

anything he has produced in his six years with the Owls.

He had been asked by Dave Jones to make an impact and lessen the blow of Michail Antonio’s absence.

Johnson surpassed his fine goal at Bristol City on Easter Monday and rose to the challenge with his first league double since he joined the Owls from Bradford.

The first goal was a corker: he picked up a loose ball, beat a man, darted into the box in between defenders and smacked a perfect left-foot shot into the bottom corner.

The second one was even better: given the ball by Jeremy Helan, JJ cut inside from the left in typical fashion, and though four defenders were attracted to him he unleashed a marvellous right-foot strike into the bottom corner from at least 25 yards.

That made it 3-2, clinched a Man of the Match rating for Johnson and released a wave of relief and elation among home fans after Blackburn had taken the lead, trailed 2-1 then, at 2-2, given cause for some anxiety.

Dave Jones was delighted that the decision to play JJ up front, with Leroy Lita, paid off: “We find him that little pocket (of space) and he can exploit it. He’s an impact player.

“I’ve seen JJ hit the cars in the car park. It’s his day; that’s what you want; you want him on his day. He’s got to do it again now.

“He’s scored three goals in two games. He sets the tone, the standard.”

Jones also said that he expects all the players to perform and is pleased with the overall standards of the revival of the last four months.

“We’ve got another tough one on Tuesday (at Millwall). We showed a lot of character. That’s what you’ll need as well as good play. They’ve been superb for the last four months since we got on this run.

“The chairman said to me (on Friday night) ‘I wish we’d had this from the start.’ Yeh, but it doesn’t work that way.

We were in a trial and error process and a learning curve. I think today showed how far we’ve come.”

Jones was unhappy with the two goals that Blackburn scored. Their penalty resulted from a simple ball over the top - “we got caught wrong side” - as Jordan Rhodes got the better of Miguel Llera.

The Owls boss had no complaints about the award given as Chris Kirkland tried to rescue the situation and David Dunn went down. However, after reviewing that on TV, I think Dunn made a meal of it and might only have been touched by the keeper’s hand.

Rovers caretaker boss Gary Bowyer seemed to be clutching at straws by implying that he thought Kirkland should have been sent off instead of booked: the incident was well wide of goal and there were three defenders in between it and the net.

Bowyer also complained about the Owls’ penalty, clinically executed into the top corner by Leroy Lita after Reda Johnson tumbled at the far post when trying to challenge for a cross by Seyi Olofinjana, and closely policed by two defenders.

Said Bowyer: “He’s six foot five and went down like he’d been knocked down by a truck; my left back is not built like a truck.”

Replays of the incident were inconclusive. But Johnson’s instant reaction suggested there was merit in his appeal for a foul by full back Josh Morris, and Jones applauded the decision.

Rovers’ equaliser was a reward for a second-half revival by them and came from an effort by centre half Scott Dann that Llera was unable to prevent. “We shouldn’t be getting done at the far post from the header,” said Jones.

But in general this was a good day for the Owls: “They all did their jobs,” said the manager, who lost Gary Madine to a hamstring injury suffered in training on Friday.

Wednesday started brightly and recovered strongly from the early penalty to play with pace and passion, make chances and gain the edge in an entertaing first half.

Rovers threatened after half time with some dangerous balls into the box, but JJ swung the contest back his team’s way, and late openings for Helan (put through by JJ) and Kieran Lee (after great work from Giles Coke and Chris Maguire) could have made an exhilarating win even more convincing.

Bowyer conceded that his team had been beaten by a special goal: “You’ve got to give the lad fair credit; he knows what he’s doing.”

Wednesday know that safety may now not be far away.