REPORT: Owls 1-0 Aston Villa
Wednesday 1-0 Aston Villa
The Owls saw their new Championship season underway with a deserved win against Aston Villa.
In truth, the contest could have gone either way as Wednesday dominated the first half and Villa edged much of the second – but the hosts had the final say with a late strike from Fernando Forestieri.
The opening quarter saw the Owls on top, playing some delightful football in all areas of the pitch.
Right from the back and through the thirds, Wednesday were sublime, with the Villa rearguard under the cosh.
Steven Fletcher almost illuminated a buoyant Hillsborough with an overhead kick that rolled the wrong side of the post, before the Owls were dealt a blow midway the first half.
New recruit Fletcher, who looked sharp and lively, clashed heads with Tommy Elphick and after lengthy treatment, the Scot was forced out of the action.
The Owls stayed in the driving seat, though, and Forestieri had a smart free kick deflected just wide ten minutes before the break.
The Italian almost caught the visitors out seconds after the restart, forcing Pierluigi Gollini into a scrambling near post save.
Villa then enjoyed their most productive spell of the game and Rudy Gestede’s header brought a flying Keiren Westwood save.
Ashley Westwood let fly moments later and was inches off target, before new signing Ross McCormack thundered another header just wide of the upright.
At the other end, Gollini came out on top following another duel with Forestieri as the Owls rallied for the closing stages.
But it was McCormack who almost stole it for Villa, thwarted only by a fine save from Westwood, who darted off his line to snuff out the danger.
And that left talisman Forestieri to seal the points for Wednesday, latching on to a deflected through-ball from substitute Atdhe Nuhiu and slotting beneath Gollini.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt (Palmer 84), Lees, Hutchinson, Pudil, Lee, Bannan, Abdi, Wallace (Nuhiu 67), Fletcher (26), Forestieri