Owls 4-1 Blues

A stunning brace from Caolan Lavery helped Sheffield Wednesday soar to a comprehensive victory over Birmingham City, a result that extended the healthy gap between Stuart Gray’s men and the bottom three.

This result was a complete reversal of the result that the last encounter produced between these two sides, when the Blues beat Wednesday by the same scoreline back in September last year. Any fears of a repeat of September’s events were dashed just 21 minutes into this contest, when the hosts found themselves 2-0 up with two goals in the space of five minutes. Lavery opened the scoring with a magnificent goal, as he latched on to a delicious cross-field ball from Kieran Lee, before cutting in from the right, chopping the ball past Tyler Blackett and finding the bottom left corner of Randolph’s goal with his weaker foot. Much-criticized loanee Leon Best made it two moments later, with a goal that even a blindfolded Mamady Sidibe could have scored. Lavery’s header from Chris Maguire’s driven corner ricocheted off Blues’ ‘keeper Darren Randolph, but even he couldn’t stop Best from tapping home from point-blank range, who was in the right place at the right time.

Adthe Nuhiu had a goal disallowed on the stroke of half time for an alleged push on Will Packwood, who later put the game beyond doubt with a comical own goal in the second period. Menacing full-back Jeremy Helan’s low ball across the face of goal was met by Packwood, whose attempted clearance went horribly wrong when ball looped up into the air and found the roof of his own net. The outstanding Lavery grabbed his second goal when he delightfully bent the ball into the top corner from a tight angle, following great work from Nuhiu and Maguire.

Lee Clark’s men added some respectability onto the scoreline, when the persistent Andrew Shinnie teed up Lee Novak for a poachers’ goal at the back post just ten minutes from time.

 

Sheffield Wednesday

Damian Martinez – Barely had a save to make but his kicking was pretty inconsistent. 6.5
Lewis Buxton – Slotted back in at right back with consummate ease. Defended steadily and solidly and offered a threat going forward, supplying some decent crosses into the forwards as well. 8.0
Oguchi Onyewu – Another solid display at the heart of the Owls rear guard, using his superior aerial ability to his advantage as well. 8.0
Glenn Loovens – The Dutchman oozes class, another faultless display from one of the Football Leagues’ best central defenders. Won plenty of headers, made a great last-ditch tackle to prevent Novak scoring in the first half and showed great composure in possession. Quality. 9.0
Jeremy Helan – The Frenchman had the usually dangerous Chris Burke in his back pocket. Used his pace to make vital interceptions and read the game fantastically well. Looked comfortable on the ball also. 8.5
Coalan Lavery – Scored two incredible goals, looked a genuine threat every time he got the ball on the wing. A box of tricks, endeavour, pace and energy. Showed that he has a great footballing brain as well. Wednesday MUST keep hold of him. 9.0
Sam Hutchinson – Added steel and solidity into the engine room, which allowed the more forward thinking players more freedom to attack. 7.5
Kieran Lee – Showed excellent composure on the ball and hardly ever gives possession away. Covered plenty of ground and set up Lavery’s opener with a scrumptious cross-field pass. He’s been a huge miss for the Owls through injury. 8.0
Chris Maguire – A bit quieter than some of his team mates but February’s player of the month is hopefully getting back to his best after what has been a disappointing start to March on a personal level. Set up Lavery’s second goal. 7.0
Adthe Nuhiu – Held the ball up well and made it stick in the final third with his strength and range of passing. Unlucky to see his goal disallowed. Looks to be adapting to English football 8.0
Leon Best – Offered a physical threat up front but sometimes made the wrong decisions in key areas. Showed his strikers’ instinct with a real poachers’ goal. 7.0

Substitutions

Miguel Llera – Made the mistake for Birmingham’s goal and he was only on the field for ten minutes. Looked nervy and slow to react. 5.0
Jermaine Johnson – Offered a threat with his pace as the away side started to tire. 6.5
Benik Afobe – Looked threatening with his fresh legs. Didn’t make a huge impact. 6.5

Birmingham City

Darren Randolph – Made one or two decent saves and couldn’t have prevented any of Wednesday’s goals. 6.5
Jonathan Spector – Couldn’t deal with the pace in the Owls’ ranks and failed to prevent crosses going into the box on numerous occasions. 5.0
Will Packwood – Bullied physically by Nuhiu all game, he couldn’t live with the lofty striker. Scored a comical own goal to hand the hosts a 3-0 lead. 4.0
Paul Robinson – Slipped in the build up to Wednesday’s second goal. Showed real spirit to play on until half time after being knocked out midway through the first period. 5.5
Tyler Blackwood – Easily took on by Lavery for goal number one and failed to mark Best for goal number two. The youngster was substituted alarmingly early and didn’t look injured at the time either. 4.0
Tom Adyemi – His distribution was very poor which resulted in him giving the ball away a lot. Offered very little and the game seemed to bypass him. 4.5
Olly Lee – Composed in possession and didn’t give possession away as often as his teammates. Overrun at time and was substituted just shy of the hour mark 6.0
Chris Burke – Marked out of the game by Helan who was far quicker than Burke. Offered very little in terms of an attacking threat. 4.5
Emyr Huws – Looked like the Blues’ most creative outlet. 6.5
Andrew Shinnie – Grafted and worked extremely hard but enjoyed little reward. His persistence helped set up Novak’s goal 6.5
Lee Novak – Cut an isolated figure whilst leading the line on his own. Kept quiet by Loovens and Onyewu for the majority of the contest. Popped up at the backpost to reduce the arrears. 6.5

Substitutions

Aaron Martin – Made two vital tackles in his own penalty area. 6.5
Paul Caddis – Didn’t offer anything different to Spector. 5.5
Federico Macheda – His introduction made City look a lot more threatening. Although he didn’t have a sniff of goal, Macheda offered more support to Novak. 6.5

 

Man of the Match

Caolan Lavery – Two magnificent goals and a terrific all-round performance ensured that the exciting youngster would end a very difficult week personally on a high. 9.0

 

Highlights


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