REPORT: MK Dons 2-1 Owls
Sheffield Wednesday suffered only their second defeat in 15 league games after losing 2-1 at MK Dons, writes Nick Lough for swfc.co.uk.
Carl Baker fired the Dons in front midway through the first half after dribbling past a host of players before lashing home from close range.
Nicky Maynard doubled the scoreline early in the second period with a low finish after the flag stayed down from Samir Carruthers’ through ball.
Gary Hooper reduced the arrears 13 minutes from time with a maiden strike for the Owls but it was too little too late and the home side emerged triumphant.
Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal made four changes to the XI that drew 2-2 at Cardiff on Saturday afternoon. Jack Hunt, Modou Sougou, Alex Lopez and Atdhe Nuhiu all came into the side, with Liam Palmer, Ross Wallace, Sam Hutchinson and Lucas Joao making way.
Despite occupying a place in the relegation zone, Karl Robinson’s men didn’t seem to lack confidence through the early exchanges as they strung together a number of intelligent passing moves deep inside Wednesday’s half.
Central midfielder Carruthers was the first Dons player to try his luck after drilling his 25-yard strike comfortably wide of Keiren Westwood’s post.
Barry Bannan had the visitors’ first chance of the game after picking the ball up on the edge of the centre circle before driving forward, but sliced wide from the edge of the area.
The Owls looked to be in trouble moments later when MK Dons forward Nicky Maynard darted into the box before pulling back to Josh Murphy from the by-line.
The on-loan Norwich winger pulled the trigger, but fellow Canaries man Michael Turner was there to thwart him after producing a last-ditch block from point blank range.
After withstanding heavy pressure, Wednesday’s resistance was broken by a superb solo goal from Baker on 25 minutes. The former Coventry man jinked his way past a number of challenges before stabbing the ball past the outstretched arm of Westwood just outside the six-yard box and into the back of the net.
With little in the way of chances at either end of after Baker’s goal, there was just enough time for a change before referee Darren Deadman blew for half time. Midfielder Lopez appeared to be struggling with a knock, with wideman Wallace his replacement.
It took the Dons just five minutes after the re-start to double their lead, courtesy of centre forward Maynard. Carruthers threaded through the back-line for Maynard to chase, with the striker springing the offside trap to bear down on goal before slipping past Westwood.
Wednesday had one final throw of the dice to find a route back into the match, with Hooper coming on to replace Sougou.
And with the attacking complement of Joao, Forestieri and Hooper all on the pitch, the Owls were looking increasingly dangerous in the final third.
After a clever passing move saw the ball drop to Forestieri inside the penalty area, with a clear sight on goal he smashed the ball goal-bound but the strong fist of David Martin denied the skilful Italian.
But with 77 minutes on the clock the Owls found the breakthrough, and a first in a Wednesday shirt for the on-loan Norwich striker Hooper.
Wallace dropped his shoulder to gain a yard on his defender before cutting back to Hooper inside the box, and the ex-Celtic forward thumped high past Martin to cut the deficit in half.
The visitors dominated the final passages of the match as they went in search of the all-important equaliser, however it was to no avail as the referee brought the game to a close – handing the Owls only their second away league defeat in three months.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Loovens, Turner, Pudil, Sougou (Hooper, 56), Lopez (Wallace, 44), Lee, Bannan, Forestieri, Nuhiu (Joao, 46)