REPORT: Preston 1-0 Owls
Ten-man Wednesday suffered their first defeat of 2016 with a 1-0 loss at in-form Preston.
It was a day to forget for the Owls, who also lost key forward Fernando Forestieiri to a red card midway through the second half.
The Argentine picked up a second yellow card that left Wednesday with an uphill battle that went in Preston’s favour when Joe Garner scored the only goal of an entertaining game 17 minutes from the end.
Bu the afternoon began well enough for the Owls, who dominated the early exchanges but it was the home side that carved the first opportunity.
Greg Cunningham darted down the left flank and delivered a cutting ball that found Calum Woods, who shot back across Keiren Westwood and wide.
Still Wednesday enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but again the hosts went close, this time through Adam Reach firing from distance and the ball whistled inches past the post.
Joe Garner then forced Westwood into a diving save as Preston began to impose themselves on an end to end contest.
Skipper Tom Clarke spurned the best chance of the first half, lashing wide from six yards after finding space in the box from a Preston set piece.
For the Owls, the first 45 minutes spawned plenty of enterprising football but just one half chance, with Tom Lees a whisker away from connecting to a Barry Bannan free kick.
Wednesday started the second half with a spring in their step and Daniel Pudil smashed a half volley over the bar on the hour following a considered spell of pressure.
But the game was turned on its head in a ten-minute second half spell.
First, Forestieri handled an Atdhe Nuhiu cross and saw a first half yellow upgraded to red before Preston broke the deadlock on 73 minutes.
Woods sent a wicked cross to the far post and Garner climbed to power an unstoppable header past Westwood that condemned the Owls to their first reverse since Middlesbrough in late December/
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt (Matias 84), Lees, Sasso, Pudil, Wallace, Bannan, Lee (McGugan 77), Forestieri (s/o 67), Hooper, Nuhiu (Joao 69)