Sheffield Wednesday full-time: Bournemouth 2 Owls 4

Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday

Late strikes by Leon Best and Chris Maguire helped ten-man Sheffield Wednesday to a 4-2 victory at play-off chasing Bournemouth today.

Substitute Best, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, struck in the 86th minute after Michail Antonio hit the crossbar with a right foot drive.

Maguire wrapped things up in stoppage time, dinking a lovely shot over Lee Camp.

The Owls led 2-1 at half-time thanks to strikes by Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Hutchinson. Marc Pugh registered in the 31st minute for Bournemouth.

Yann Kermorgant grabbed a second leveller for the Cherries before Hutchinson was given his marching orders following a second bookable offence.

Despite their numerical advantage, Bournemouth failed to convert their chances late on and Wednesday punished them severely through Best and Maguire.

Victory means they are mathematically safe from relegation and it is only the second time they have beaten the Cherries in the last 10 meetings.

Owls head coach Stuart Gray made one alteration to his starting line-up. Jeremy Helan came in for Liam Palmer, who drops to the substitutes bench, with Gray opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Given the busy Easter programme, it was no surprise the Owls chief decided against handing a first-team recall to Glenn Loovens. The classy centre-back has missed the last two matches due to a hamstring injury.

After a fairly even opening, Lewis Grabban latched on to Kermorgant’s pass in the 11th minute and the former Rotherham United striker outpaced Miguel Llera before forcing Chris Kirkland into a fine save.

Andrew Surman was yellow carded for a late challenge on Kieran Lee before Nuhiu’s strike. The big striker grabbed his third goal in his last two outings, drilling in a lovely left foot shot in the 16th minute after Ian Harte had given the ball away. It was his seventh goal of the campaign.

It took a last ditch tackle by Steve Cook to stop Maguire from having a sight at goal midway through the half as Wednesday held the upperhand.

Bournemouth levelled things up in the 31st minute when Pugh nodded in Grabban’s cross from close range.

But their joy was short-lived as Wednesday regained the lead three minutes later, with Sam Hutchinson heading in his first goal since arriving on loan from Chelsea.

Moments later, Maguire tried his luck from distance only to see his effort fly inches off target.

Bournemouth spurned a glorious chance to make it 2-2 as Grabban fired wide after a dangerous free-kick.

Kirkland produced a superb save to tip over Andrew Surman’s rasping drive in the 43rd minute.

Right-back Lewis Buxton sustained an injury just after the break and was replaced by Palmer.

And Wednesday’s makeshift back four failed to stop Kermorgant nodding in Harte’s corner, meaning Gray’s side have now shipped in 14 goals in their last five matches.

Things got even worse for the Owls in the 65th minute as Hutchinson was sent off following a second bookable offence, prompting Gray to throw on Giles Coke for Helan.

Bournemouth piled on the pressure and Kirkland was equal to Grabban’s tame shot before Kermorgant struck the crossbar with a fierce free kick from 25 yards.

Those missed opportunities allowed Wednesday to gain revenge for losing the reverse fixture 2-1 at Hillsborough back in December, with Best and Maguire netting late on to clinch their fourth success on the road.

Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Onyewu, Llera, Mattock; Lee, Hutchinson, Antonio, Maguire, Helan, Nuhiu. Substitutes: Martinez, Best, Taylor, Lavery, Palmer, Afobe, Coke.