REPORT: Owls 4-0 Brentford
Sheffield Wednesday systematically dismantled ten-man Brentford to cement their place in the Championship top six.
After Yoann Barbet saw red after just six minutes, the Owls took full advantage and fired three first half goals through Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper and Kieran Lee to all but put the game to bed by half time.
Substitute Lucas Joao completed the rout near the end of a second half was little more than academic as Wednesday did everything that was asked of them in making the most of their numerical advantage.
It was an explosive start to the game in cold conditions at Hillsborough, with Brentford creating two clear chances just before suffering the huge blow that laid the foundations for defeat.
First, Nico Yannaris shot tamely at Keiren Westwood after ghosting in on goal then Alan Judge forced a superb save from the Owls’ number one.
But the Bees’ enterprising intentions crumbled when Barbet chased a long Tom Lees ball down with Gary Hooper and the defender felled his man – the red card that followed was inevitable.
Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors as Wednesday took the lead on 12 minutes.
Daniel Pudil crossed into the heart of the penalty area, where Forestieri was perfectly placed to glance past David Button.
Brentford responded with Sergi Canos trying his luck from 20 yards and Westwood palmed to safety before the keeper was the provider for the Owls’ second goal on 29 minutes.
Westwood delivered a long punt upfield that sat up nicely for Hooper, who promptly unleashed a bullet of a half volley that Button touched but could not prevent bulging the net.
Kieran Lee and Barry Bannan both went close before the former got his goal almost on the half time whistle.
Bannan was the architect, playing a delightful ball to Hooper, who headed into the path of Lee to do the necessaries from close range.
The Bees offered more in the early throes of the second half - Westwood saved well from Judge – but the Owls soon returned to the box seat.
Substitute Aiden McGeady caused problems on his home debut and sent one drive from distance inches wide, while Forestieri went close following some trademark trickery in the box.
Lewis McGugan and Lucas Joao were also given a run from the bench in the closing stages and it was the latter who put matters to bed two minutes from time, thumping home on the angle following a cute ball inside from Jack Hunt.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Sasso, Lees, Pudil, Wallace (McGugan 73), Bannan, Lee, Forestieri, Nuhiu (McGeady 61), Hooper (Joao 79)