Sheffield Wednesday report: Owls 0 Wolves 2 – Luhukay’s kids prove their worth despite defeat 

Jack Lee in action
Jack Lee in action

They headed into the cup clash on the back of a revival in the Championship but came undone when Premier League quality arrived at Hillsborough.    

With Sheffield Wednesday fielding a shadow team, their momentum under Jos Luhukay suffered no real damage at the hands of Wolves, but their Carabao Cup adventure is over at the second-round stage.

Owls v Wolves

Owls v Wolves

S6 had witnessed successive league wins over Millwall and Ipswich Town. Then came Adama Traore.

Wednesday had no answer to the second-half pace and trickery of Wolves' record signing who set up Leo Bonatini for the games' decisive 52nd-minute goal.

The Owls had won their last nine League Cup encounters at Hillsborough. Not since they lost a penalty shoot-out against South Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham United had they tasted defeat.

Wolves, had triumphed at the second-round stage for seven successive years.

Something had to give, and £18 million Traore made sure it was the visitors, showing nine changes from the side that had held champions Manchester City in the league at the weekend, who made it into the third-round draw.

With Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay warning in his pre-match press conference that only 100 per cent effort is good enough for the blue and white shirt, the Owls lacked for nothing in application.

They almost drew first blood after just 66 seconds, Morgan Fox meeting David Jones' free-kick with his head and Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy hanging on at the second attempt.

They also refused to lay down after Wolves had gone in front as Steven Fletcher tested Ruddy with an acrobatic effort, Fernando Forestieri forced a save from a free-kick and George Boyd fired over.

But, in the end, it was plenty of graft but not enough craft from a completely different starting 11 to the Ipswich match.

Wolves wrapped up the win with six minutes to go when Morgan Fox fouled Helder Costa in the penalty area and the substitute got up to send Joe Wildsmith the wrong way from the spot.

The Championship team more than matched Wolvesin the early stages, breaking forward freely but being let down by their final ball.

This is not a competition to capture the imagination this early in the season. No bums on the pitch as two committed teams had a go at each other but no bums on seats either in the home kop, kept closed by lack of demand.

Both bosses would no doubt have preferred a clear week to concentrate on their respective league campaigns.

There was a let-off for the Owls just past the half-hour mark when Morgan Gibbs-White was played in on the left by Leo Bonatini only to direct his shot wide of Joe Wildsmith and also the post.

A mistake by Fletcher saw Wolves break quickly in the 38th minute. Baker was on hand to block Gibbs-White's shot at the expense of a corner, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side were starting to get the upper hand towards the break.

Wednesday had headed into the clash with little fear and plenty of spirit.

Right-back Ash Baker, one of a number of Academy prospects emerging as first-team material under Luhukay, had acknowledged Wolves' quality on the eve of the tie but added: "We come off two wins and we go in with a lot of confidence. 

"We want to keep the run going. It would give us a massive boost, especially if the third win was against a Premier League team."

It wasn't to be.

Traore came to life after the break. Bonatini had just shot straight at Wildsmith when Traore set him up again and this time the striker made no mistake but a low 52nd-minute drive.

Six minutes later, Gibbs-White smacked the post from more than 20 yards out as the top-flight team took control of proceedings.

Wednesday rallied but Costa's strike put a fair reflection on the score.

Wednesday had come out on top on the last two occasions a top-flight side had come to Hillsborough in this competition, downing Arsenal 3-0 in 2015 and Fulham 2-1 a couple of years earlier.

A third upset proved beyond them. Was the workrate there? 100 per cent it was. Was Traore the difference? 100 per cent he was.

Wednesday (4-4-2): Wildsmith; Baker, Hutchinson, Nielsen, Fox; Preston (Nuhiu 73), Lee Jones (Kirby 85), Boyd; Fletcher (Stobbs 73), Forestieri. Subs: Dawson, Palmer, O'Grady, Hunt.

Wolves (5-4-1): Ruddy; Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Hause, Vinagre; Traore, Saiss, Watt (Goncalves 62), Gibbs-White (Costa 72); Bonatini (Ashley-Seal 80). Subs not used: Norris, Bennett, Castro Otto, Giles.

Goals: Bonatini 52, Costa pen 84.

Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside).

Attendance: 13,597.

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