Late May strike sees Owls soar into sixth

In a tight contest which could have swung in either direction, Sheffield Wednesday edged out Reading courtesy of a deflected free-kick from £800,000 signing Stevie May, a result that has lifted Stuart Gray’s men into the top six of the Sky Bet Championship.

However, the Royals had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the first half, when on-loan striker Glenn Murray was brought down in the area by Giles Coke. Murray took on the responsibility of trying to score from 12 yards, but his spot kick was saved superbly by the legs of impressive ‘keeper Kieren Westwood.

Both sides had their fair share of chances; Jake Cooper was denied by Westwood with a close range header, whilst May and Nick Blackman both came close with powerful, drive efforts.

The visitors looked very threatening from corners in the second period, but the only set piece that counted was May’s free-kick with just seven minutes remaining. The former St Johnstone hitman struck a low driven shot from twenty yards that took a hefty deflection off Jake Cooper, which wrong footed Anderson, sending 29,000 home supporters into delirium.

 Sheffield Wednesday

Kieren Wetwood – Kept goal extremely well throughout the contest. Made plenty of great stops including a penalty save. Showed good distribution and he was reliable when called upon. 8.5
Liam Palmer –Although he was caught out a few times, Palmer was generally Ok defensively. His crosses were quite disappointing however. 6.0
Glenn Loovens –Looked solid enough, despite enduring a few defensive hiccups which could have been punished 6.5
Tom Lees –Continued his excellent form with another outstanding display at the heart of the owls’ rearguard. Won his aerial battles and read the game well, hardly put a foot wrong 8.0
Joe Mattock – Defended solidly enough down the hosts’ left flank, without causing huge problems going forward. 7.0
Chris Maguire –Pretty ineffective, didn’t trouble Reading’s back four much and he made sloppy errors on the ball. Showed poor decision making. 5.5
Giles Coke –The game seemed to bypass Coke, who didn’t really get on the ball much in that midfield area. Seemed to go missing a bit and he gave away the penalty. 5.5
Jose Semedo –Dominated the midfield area with his physicality, didn’t allow Reading’s creative outlets to impose their selves on the game. Didn’t make many key passes but he hardly gave the ball away, a job that Semedo does so well  8.0
Jacques Maghoma – Gave Gunter a few problems with his trickery, although he didn’t manage to complete a huge amount of crosses. Looked nippy and was hard to pick up when moved central. 7.0
Stevie May –Worked tirelessly all afternoon, ran the channels and he pressed the Royals defenders when they were in possession. Deserved his lucky break, which eventually separated the two teams.  7.5
Adthe Nuhiu –Like his partner, the Austrian worked hard. Nuhiu held the ball up well at times but he didn’t really get into any goal scoring positions 6.5

Substitutions

Hallam Hope – The Everton loanee looked fairly lively and was perhaps unlucky not to score. 6.5
Jeremy Helan –Took the pressure off the Owls’ back four with a few pacy direct runs. A decent cameo from the Frenchman. 7.0
Claude Dielna –Introduced in the dying embers to help Wednesday see the game out. Had insufficient time to make an impact. 6.0

Reading

Mikkel Anderson – Didn’t have any crucial saves to make, and he wasn’t at fault for the goal. 6.5
Chris Gunter –Caught out a few times by the trickery and pace of Maghoma, but he didn’t make any huge errors. 6.0
Jake Cooper – Put in an impressive performance, an absolute warrior in the air and he caused havoc at set pieces. Came very close to scoring as well. Lucky to have not been penalised for a few more fouls however. 8.0
Alex Pearce – Competent enough, seemed content to sweep and let Cooper win headers. 7.0
Jordan Obita – The young utility man put in an accomplished performance. Read the game very well, defended with composure and kept Maguire very quiet. 7.5
Nick Blackman –Worked hard down the right hand and offered plenty of pace. Had an excellent free-kick attempt well saved by Kieren Westwood. 7.0
Hope Akpan –Like his opposite number Giles Coke, play seemed to bypass him and he didn’t manage to get on the ball and dictate. 6.0
Oliver Norwood –Demonstrated his good range of passing in midfield, and he kept the Royals ticking over at times. 7.0
Jake Taylor – Pretty anonymous going forward, didn’t give Wednesday’s backline much to worry about. Tracked back fairly well however. 5.5
Glenn Murray –Missed a sitter in the first half, as well as the penalty. Made very little positive impact on the contest. 5.0
Simon Cox –Suffered from having little service, but showed glimpses of quality. Quiet however. 6.0

Substitutions

Pavel Pogrebnyak – Offered Reading a physical presence up front when he came on, but the big Russian failed to make a huge contribution. 6.5
Jamie Mackie –Didn’t make an impact. 6.0
Danny Guthrie –Didn’t have enough time to make in impact. 6.0

 

Man of the Match

Kieren Westwood – Made terrific stops to thwart Murray, Blackman and Cooper, kept the Owls in it at times. An absolute bargain of a free transfer 8.5

Highlights


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