- English Football League - Championship
- Sunday, December 22nd 2019
James Crawley reports from Hillsborough
Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Bristol City
Sunday, December 22nd 2019
City slipped to defeat at Hillsborough, with Barry Bannan slotting home a late but decisive penalty.
The Owls had better of the chances yet City were defensively solid for much of the game, only lacking a killer touch in the final third.
Callum O’Dowda fired just wide inside the first minute of the game, while Jack Hunt went close to scoring against his former club, only to see a header cleared off the line.
But Tommy Rowe was judged to have brought Atdhe Nuhiu down with only a little over five minutes of the game remaining and Bannan tucked the resulting spot-kick into the bottom left corner to seal the points.
Lee Johnson named four changes for the Sunday lunchtime kick-off with Hunt joined by Taylor Moore, Korey Smith and O’Dowda.
That meant Pedro Pereira, Niclas Eliasson, Han-Noah Massengo and Ádám Nagy would miss out in a spot for the starting XI. Striker Rodri was also named among the substitutes, a player who spent half the 2012/13 season on loan at Hillsborough.
The visitors looked to start brightly and catch the hosts out immediately by racing forward straight from kick-off. And the Robins went close within seconds when Josh Brownhill latched on to a through pass, cutting the ball back to O’Dowda but the Republic of Ireland’s left footed shot was dragged just wide of goal.
Aside from the early opportunity, Sheffield Wednesday would go on to threaten most with a flurry of chances in the first half.
It was credit to Ashley Williams though who had a standout display at the back, first positioning himself well to clear an Nuhiu header.
The Welshamn was then well placed again when Liam Palmer, completely unmarked, met a floated corner from Bannan, but his effort hit a crowd of bodies in front of goal with Williams reacting quickest to hack the ball away.
The Owls often look to Bannan for his creativity and he almost grabbed a chipped through ball assist when he picked out the running Adam Reach, who took the ball wide of Dan Bentley but fired wide, rippling the side netting.
City’s shotstopper was soon called into action with two saves just moments apart, the first he pushed away a shot from Kadeem Harris, before he held on to a low shot from Palmer.
The Robins had looked dangerous going forward, often looking to hit Sheffield Wednesday on the counter but Cameron Dawson in the Owls goal had little to deal with in the opening 45 minutes.
His counterpart Bentley was soon in the thick of the action after the restart too, first smothering a shot from Harris, after his initial free kick rebounded off the wall, before a Williams header fell as far as Reach but he was quickly closed down by City’s keeper.
City soon went close themselves when Tommy Rowe produced an inviting cross from the left-handside which Hunt met towards the far side, but his goalbound header was cleared from under the crossbar by Palmer.
Johnson soon introduced Kasey Palmer and Eliasson to bolster his attacking and creative options, with Hunt and Weimann making way.
But chances were at a premium as the game lacked quality, that was until a long-range free kick from Bannan looked destined for the corner, but for Bentley’s fine work.
However, the referee pointed to the spot when Nuhiu was pulled down by Rowe and up stepped Bannan with a cool head to calmly slot the ball into the far left corner of the goal.
Rowe was replaced by Antoine Semenyo in the aftermath with City needing to force an equaliser but they were quickly pegged back, only Williams’ vital touch turned away a dangerous cross from Harris.
The Robins couldn’t force a late goal of their own and will return to action on Boxing Day with a trip to Charlton Athletic (3pm).
- Bannan (85' pen)
- Morgan Fox, Massimo Luongo, Jordan Rhodes
- Jack Hunt, Tommy Rowe, Andreas Weimann