- English Football League - Championship
- Monday, April 22nd 2019
James Crawley reports from Hillsborough
Report: Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Bristol City
Monday, April 22nd 2019
Two first-half goals including a long-range drive from Barry Bannan had the beating of City at Hillsborough on Easter Monday.
Bannan fired a stunning strike from 30 yards which sailed past Max O’Leary and a goal just before half-time from Lucas Joao gave the Robins more work to do.
The Robins always looked to stretch their wings though and Jay Dasilva had the best of the first-half chances when he dribbled forward but shot inches wide, before whipping a cross off the far post.
Lee Johnson made attacking changes after the break but Owls goalkeeper Cameron Dawson produced two close-range stops to deny Famara Diédhiou and Josh Brownhill as they held on to the 2-0 scoreline.
Niclas Eliasson got the nod to start at Hillsborough; Johnson’s only change from the team which kicked off the 1-1 draw with Reading three days earlier. He came in to replace the injured Korey Smith who is awaiting the results of a foot scan.
The sun was beaming down on Hillsborough and it was the hosts who started brightly too, going close in the early exchanges when Gary Hooper headed over, before O’Leary produced a fine diving save to push away Joao’s finessed effort.
Minutes later, a quick-minded Adam Webster robbed the ball in midfield before surging forward and finding Weimann to his right. The Austrian ended up poking the ball across the six-yard box as he appeared to get caught in two minds over whether to cross or shoot and the ball ended up rolling out for a goal kick.
But just as the game settled, Steve Bruce’s side took the lead through Bannan. Hooper laid the ball into his teammate’s path who lashed the ball beyond the helpless O’Leary from distance.
City came a whisker away from equalising with Dasilva, on his birthday, almost with the goal to celebrate. After an initial cross into the box was blocked, the young wing-back collected the ricochet and drove at the Owls backline. He played a one-two with Diédhiou before wriggling through one-on-one with Dawson, but he placed the ball the wrong side of the keeper’s post.
Bruce’s side would double their advantage at the break, with Joao lobbing O’Leary five minutes before half-time. Bannan’s eye-of-the-needle lofted pass was controlled well by Joao who then guided the ball over the City keeper. Dasilva made the lung-busting run to hook the ball off the line but he couldn’t prevent the ball landing in the City net, despite his best efforts.
But before the whistle, only the woodwork denied City’s number three from halving the deficit when his cross left Dawson stranded but fortunately for the home side, the ball pinged back off the post.
A big second half was needed if City were to crack Wednesday and a solo run from Weimann required a better finish. City’s number 14, who only a couple of weeks ago struck a hat-trick down the road at Bramall Lane, teased and teased the home defence before dragging a scuffed shot wide.
The Robins needed to remain positive and Weimann soon found himself beyond the Wednesday backline as he looked to meet Marlon Pack’s through ball, but Dawson was quick off his line to win the race.
Johnson made a tactical tweak as the hour-mark approached with the attack-minded Kasey Palmer on to replace Bailey Wright. They needed to force the Owls back and were enjoying lots of possession inside the host’s half, with the blue and white stripes finding themselves penned in.
The loanee from Chelsea looked full of energy too, twisting and turning as he looked to create City’s attacks. He nearly fed Diédhiou too but a slotted through pass which had a little too much pace for the Senegal striker.
Young striker Antoine Semenyo entered the field ten minutes later, replacing Eliasson, with City continually looking to attack the game, but that would allow Bruce’s side to set up for the counter. Shortly after, when a poor touch let Jack Hunt down against his former club, Wednesday operated a swift move involving Joao, Bannan and Adam Reach ,with the latter producing a cross at the byline but the Robins had the recovering Pack to thank as he cleared the delivery.
And try as they might, when City did test Dawson the owls keeper was in top form to keep out close-range efforts. The first fell to Diédhiou who chested the ball down before firing on goal. Palmer recovered the free ball as it bounced off the keeper, eventually finding Brownhill to his left. The midfielder took one touch before having a go on goal but Dawson blocked again with his leg as the hosts survived the danger.
Walsh, on to make his second consecutive appearance from the bench, looked spirited and Semenyo’s showed his ability with some neat touches and used the space well but City couldn’t muster a late comeback as the Owls saw out the victory.
Next for City is a return to Ashton Gate on Saturday for the visit of Derby County (April 27th, 3pm KO).
- Bannan (17') , Lucas João (39')
- George Boyd, Gary Hooper, Lucas João
- Bailey Wright, Marlon Pack, Niclas Eliasson