Sheffield Wednesday ended their seven-game winless run in the Championship as they beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 on Boxing Day at The City Ground.
The Owls took the lead early on through Adam Reach before Jordan Rhodes doubled their advantage just before half-time from the penalty spot. However, Forest did have a number of chances to score themselves but were unable to convert any of them.
Wednesday were able to cruise to victory in the second-half as Forest failed to create as many chances as they did in the first. Lucas João added gloss to the scoreline with an individual effort which sent the sizeable away support home happy.
Owls make a flying start at The City Ground
Forest manager Mark Warburton opted to make three changes to his starting line-up for this match with Tyler Walker, Andreas Bouchalakis and Barrie McKay coming in for Daryl Murphy, David Vaughan and Mustapha Carayol.
This was Wednesday's first match since manager Carlos Carvalhal left the club by mutual consent on Christmas Eve and interim manager Lee Bullen did make some key changes. He switched to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation and gave a start to João who rarely featured under Carvalhal.
The Owls made a flying start to life post-Carvalhal in this one as they took the lead after just five minutes. Ross Wallace's corner landed at the feet of Reach 22 yards out and he fired a volley into the top corner with his weak foot to put his side 1-0 up. There was very little the Forest defence could have done to prevent it.
However, the Reds did respond well to going behind and created three or four clear chances to get themselves level. Ben Brereton's pace was causing Owls full-back Morgan Fox problems and he created two chances for Tyler Walker who was unable to find the back of the net on both occasions.
Liam Bridcutt and Bouchalakis were both playing very well for Forest in midfield and the former played a great ball through to Barrie McKay midway through the first-half but his shot was well kept out by Joe Wildsmith. McKay turned provider minutes later as he played a great ball over the top for Ben Osborn but Wildsmith again prevented the Reds from levelling with another good save.
Forest were made to pay for failing to take their chances on the stroke of half-time. Referee Andy Madley awarded the Owls a penalty after he felt Walker pulled Fox down in the box. Rhodes stepped up and sent Jordan Smith the wrong way to put his side 2-0 ahead heading into the break.
João seals comfortable win for Owls
Forest knew they needed an early goal in the second-half if they were to have any chance of getting something from the game. They could have easily got themselves back into it early on but Brereton's strike from outside the box took a deflection that saw it go agonisingly wide of the top corner.
However, this was one of very few chances that the home side created in the second-half and the game was essentially ended as a contest in the 65th minute. João picked up the ball on the right-hand side before cutting into the area, gliding past Michael Mancienne and firing his shot into the back of the net to make it 3-0. He had been denied just moments before by a great save from Smith but the Forest keeper was left helpless this time.
This goal signalled the departure of a number of supporters inside The City Ground who left hugely frustrated with their side's inability to finish their chances in the first-half. The Reds did have a couple of opportunities to score a consolation goal as substitutes Matty Cash and Jamie Ward had chances late on.
However, the Owls were able to comfortably hold on to their three goal advantage and see the game out for a valuable three points. This moved them to within one point of their opponents and supporters will be hoping that their new manager can help lead them to an unlikely play-off push.