REPORT: Owls 3-2 Bolton
Sheffield Wednesday extended their impressive Hillsborough pedigree after beating Bolton Wanderers 3-2.
The Owls took the lead through Fernando Forestieri’s astonishing 25-yard strike inside quarter of an hour, before Gary Madine levelled for the visitors just five minutes later.
Wednesday went back in-front seven minutes after the break when Gary Hooper fired home six-yards out after dispatching a Daniel Pudil cross.
The visitors again evened things up when centre half David Wheater headed home winger Liam Feeney’s low cross ten minutes later.
However it was Hooper who the match winner 13 minutes from time after expertly controlling Ross Wallace’s ball over the top, before steadying himself to rifle beyond Ben Amos.
Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal made four changes to the side that knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup on Saturday.
In came defender Jack Hunt alongside attacking trio Forestieri, Hooper and Atdhe Nuhiu, with Liam Palmer, Alex Lopez, Modou Sougou and Lucas Joao all named amongst the substitutes.
From the off Wednesday were dominant and looked threatening every time they went forward.
Winger Wallace was first to test Wanderers ‘keeper Amos will a long distance effort, but couldn’t repeat his heroics against Fulham with the ball a comfortable height to catch.
The first significant opening of the match came through forward Hooper who beat the offside trap to latch on to Forestieri’s through ball but dragged his shot wide of the post.
With the pressure mounting, Wednesday took the lead in sensational style on the 14th minute.
After a smart passing move around the penalty area ended up at the feet of Forestieri and the Italian let loose with an imperious drive which flew over Amos and bulged the back of the net.
It was a sublime strike which would challenge both Wallace and Barry Bannan for goal of the season, but with their first notable attack Bolton drew level.
Just five minutes after breaking the deadlock bullish midfielder Liam Trotter slammed the ball goalwards, only for former Owls striker Madine to deflect it past the wrong-footed Joe Wildsmith.
Bolton had their tails up as they moved the ball about with pace and worked their way behind the Wednesday back-line. They had little luck, but Feeney might have come a bit closer to scoring if his
free kick had have stayed down from just outside the area.
With the half time whistle imminent, there was just enough time for the hosts to register and re-take the lead.
Again Forestieri was instrumental in the move after nipping behind Dorian Dervite to control Bannan’s ingenious ball over the top, but after laying off to Hooper the on-loan forward’s shot sailed over the bar.
The second half started with a bang as the Owls regained the lead through Hooper in the 52nd minute. A breakaway down the left saw Daniel Pudil burst towards the penalty area before drilling across the face of goal for Hooper, who finished well from close range.
Once again Wednesday were only in the ascendency for a short period of time as Bolton dragged themselves level in the 62nd minute.
After winning a free kick out wide on the left, defender Wheater stooped to meet Feeney’s low fizzing cross and looped up over Wildsmith and into the opposite corner of the net.
Neil Lennon’s men had been looking lively and could have found themselves in front if Madine’s flicked header from Feeney’s cross had been on target.
Wellington Silva was next to try his luck from a free kick after Madine went down right on the edge of the penalty area, but the Arsenal loanee couldn’t get enough whip on the ball.
Wednesday needed to reprieve some of the pressure, and they almost found the perfect response when substitute Joao slipped in Wallace but his shot was straight at Amos.
Having come close moments before, the pendulum swung towards the Owls once more as they edged in front for the third time in the match in the 77th minute.
Wallace chipped a delightful ball into the area in the direction of Hooper who smartly flicked the ball round Wheater before smashing into the roof of the net.
Captain Darren Pratley diverted a shot just wide of the post moments later but Wednesday nullified their opponents until the final whistle – extending their unbeaten run at home to 12 with four wins on the bounce.
Wednesday: Wildsmith, Loovens ©, Nuhiu (Joao, 63), Hooper, Lee, Sasso, Hunt (Palmer, 82), Wallace, Pudil, Bannan, Forestieri (Helan, 78).