Wickham strikes for Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday gained a valuable three points in their bid for Championship survival at Leicester on Saturday.
A single goal scored by Sunderland loanee Connor Wickham – his first for Wednesday – after the break secured a vital victory at the King Power Stadium.
It was the perfect response from Dave Jones’ side after the midweek setback at Watford, who turned in an excellent display in all areas against the promotion-chasing Foxes.
There was pressure on both sides heading into the fixture as the Owls were aiming to pull away from the dangerzone after back-to-back defeats to Nottingham Forest and the Hornets.
For Leicester, the game presented an opportunity to make up ground on the top four in the Championship after winning just one game in their previous six.
There was a good atmosphere inside the ground at kick off and plenty of noise being made by the 3,500 Wednesday fans in the corner but it was the home side who threatened first.
Foxes’ frontman David Nugent brought a fine diving save from Chris Kirkland, who plucked the ball from the top corner in the fifth minutes.
Michael Keane headed over from Ben Marshall’s corner moments later as Leicester began the game on the front foot.
But with Jeremy Helan and Michail Antonio patrolling the flanks for Wednesday, there was plenty of threat for the visitors and it was the latter who carved the Owls’ first opening on 12 minutes.
Antonio made fast tracks down in the wide right position before whipping a dangerous ball in the middle for Leroy Lita, who couldn’t direct his header on target.
Kirkland was then called into action on the half hour making a key near post save from Ritchie De Laet before Antonio and Lita almost combined to put the Owls in front but Lita’s header was comfortably gathered by Kasper Schmeichel.
De Laet was at the heart of the action again for Leicester as the full back jinked inside from the right and hit a firm drive on target but Kirkland was equal to the strike from ten yards and parried to safety.
There was a lively start to the second period with big chances at both ends.
First, ex-Owls loanee Marshall delivered a superb ball with pace into the box that Harry Kane headed over from close range.
From that chance, play quickly reverted to the opposite end where Lita played a cutting ball into the path of Antonio but Schmeichel was out quickly to close down the angle and keep out the strike.
The home side were beginning to enjoy the lion’s share possession but the breakthrough would come for the Owls on 70 minutes.
Lewis Buxton sent over an accurate cross into the middle, Antonio made a connection in the centre before the ball fell for Wickham, who powered his half volley on target and Schmeichel could not get enough behind the ball to keep out the ferocious effort.
The Foxes went close to grabbing a quick equaliser when Andy King struck the post with a glancing header.
But despite the late pressure and the five minutes of added time, that was as close as the home side came to rescuing anything from the game as the Owls emerged triumphant.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet (St. Ledger 86), Drinkwater, Morgan, Marshall (Gallagher 74), King, Keane, Schlupp, Nugent, Kane (Knockaert 61), Wood
Unused substitutes: Logan, Vardy, Waghorn, Wellens
Owls: Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, R Johnson (Wickham 59), Antonio, Prutton, Lee, Pugh, Helan, Lita (Semedo 79)
Unused substitutes: Bywater, Taylor, McCabe, J Johnson, Madine