REPORT: Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 PrestonThe Owls registered a fourth successive win with a 3-1 triumph over Preston at Hillsborough.
Goals from Kieran Lee, Daniel Pudil and a Lewis McGugan stunner from 50 yards did the damage as Wednesday proved too strong for the newly-promoted Lilywhites.
Alan Browne scored for the visiitors at 2-1 but with the Lancashire side pushing for a leveller, McGugan put the points out of reach.
Despite dominating, the Owls had to be patient and waited until the stroke of half time before drawing first blood.
Prior to that, chances were few and far between at both ends, with Atdhe Nuhiu and Tom Lees going closest.
So the breakthrough was welcome on all fronts when it came on 45 minutes.
Midfield man Lee manoeuvred into position to get on the end of a Fernando Forestieri flick and advanced to bury past Jordan Pickford.
The goal was certainly needed to liven up a contest low on incident, with neither goalkeeper troubled in almost the whole of the first half.
It certainly set the scene for an improved second period and the Owls applied the pressure from the start – Lees headed just wide from a Forestieri cross.
Moments later, Pickford made a spectacular save from a Barry Bannan sighter and Forestieri was denied on the rebound by a brave Calum Woods block.
But on 53 minutes, the Owls did double their lead. Pudil aimed a dinked effott into the bottom corner and Nuhiu made sure just after the ball crossed the line.
Wednesday were in command before a late rally from Preston, who might have halved the deficit on 64 minutes when Eoin Doyle missed the target with the goal at his mercy.
But the Lilywhites did exactly that 13 minutes from the end when Browne swept home following a deep corner from the left.
The visitors had the bit between their teeth in the closing stages – John Welsh forced Keiren Westwood into a flying save before Lee capped his 100th SWFC appearances in crucial style by clearing an Adam Reach shot off the line.
Still there was time for late drama as Preston keeper Pickford went up for a corner in stoppage time but the ball cleared to McGugan just inside the Preston half and the substitute executed a perfect lob to put the game to bed.
Wednesday: Westwood, Turner, Hutchinson, Nuhiu (Joao 66), Lees, Lee, Hunt, Wallace (McGugan 66), Pudil, Bannan, Forestieri (Lopez 85)