Result: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1: Ex-Owl Clarke gives Wolves win at Hillsborough

Owls' Glenn Loovens
Owls' Glenn Loovens

Owls old boy Leon Clarke condemned Sheffield Wednesday to their fifth Championship defeat of the season, hitting an 84th minute winner at Hillsborough.

Owls head coach Stuart Gray had resisted the temptation to shuffle his pack, naming an unchanged starting line-up against Wolves this afternoon.

The striker, brought on as late substitute for Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, scored with his first touch, tapping in Kevin McDonald’s cross to end Wednesday’s four-match unbeaten run.

The result means Wednesday have still not beaten Wolves at Hillsborough since 1964.

REACTION: Stuart Gray rues poor finishing as Owls slump to defeat by Wolves

Gray opted to stick with Kieran Lee and Lewis McGugan in midfield, meaning Jose Semedo, available again following a one-match suspension, had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.

Following back-to-back league wins, Gray also decided to keep faith with Jeremy Helan at left-back, although Joe Mattock, a first-team regular at the start of the season, has shrugged off an ankle problem.

Wolves, without a win in six matches, made one alteration, giving Kortney Hause a start, with Matt Doherty serving the first of a three-match ban.

Gray opted to stick with Kieran Lee and Lewis McGugan in midfield, meaning Jose Semedo, available again following a one-match suspension, had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.

Following back-to-back league wins, Gray also decided to keep faith with Jeremy Helan at left-back, although Joe Mattock, a first-team regular at the start of the season, has shrugged off an ankle problem.

The Owls almost got off to a dream start in the fifth minute when Stevie May pounced on Richard Stearman’s loose back pass and rounded Carl Ikeme but Stearman recognised the danger and got back to clear the Scotland international’s weak left foot strike off the line.

Rajiv Van La Parra underlined his pace and power, beating Royston Drenthe in a foot race outwide before teeing up James Henry, who lifted his shot over the top when well-placed.

May continued to cause problems at the other end, latching on to McGugan’s quick free kick and firing a deflected shot straight at Ikeme after wriggling his way past Hause.

As the half wore on, Wednesday started to knock the ball around with more confidence and purpose. Royston Drenthe, still seeking his first goal at Hillsborough, lashed a fierce volley over after a lovely cross by Kieran Lee.

The Owls ought to have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but skiipper Glenn Loovens flashed a header from inside the six-yard box narrowly off target following a Drenthe corner.

May, always looking to get in behind Wolves’ backline, blazed an effort over after a good move on the right involving Lee and Drenthe.

Against the run of play, Danny Graham spurned a glorious opportunity to put the visitors ahead, side-footing a shot inches wide with only Keiren Westwood to beat.

From the resulting goal-kick, May raced on to Atdhe Nuhiu’s flick on but his composure deserted him in the final third as he drilled wide.

Wolves upped the ante after the break and Kevin McDonald, formerly of Sheffield United, tried his luck from just outside the penalty area, with Westwood beating his attempt into the path of Van La Parra, who fired over from an acute angle.

Wednesday struggled to keep a hold of possession and Van La Parra, who saw his red card against Bournemouth overturned earlier this week, latched on to Graham’s deft touch only to be denied by Westwood.

To compound their frustration, Nuhiu was yellow carded following a late challenge on Stearman.

La Parra thought he had given Wolves the lead on the hour mark when he dinked the ball into the net over Westwood after a fine through ball by Sako.

With the ball not sticking up front, Gray threw on Caolan Lavery, taking off the ineffectual Nuhiu.

It was Wolves, though, who kept asking questions of Wednesday’s backline, with McDonald sending a shot narrowly off target before Henry unleashed a tame effort straight at Westwood.

With 19 minutes remaining, Wednesday created a rare opening when May skipped past Dominic Iorfa, cut inside of to his right foot and saw his low drive comfortably saved by Ikeme.

Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Loovens, Lees, Helan; Maguire, Lee, McGugan, Drenthe; Nuhiu, May. Substitutes: Kirkland, Mattock, Semedo, Lavery, McCabe, Maghoma, Dielna.

Wolves: Ikeme; Iorfa, Batth, Stearman, Hause; Henry, McDonald, Edwards, Sako; van la Parra, Graham. Substitutes: Kuszczak, Saville, Clarke, Evans, Rowe, Price, McAlinden.