Sheffield Wednesday continued their resurgence under the management of Steve Bruce in the Championship as they beat Brentford 2-0 at Hillsborough on Tuesday evening.
It was the Owls who had the better of a largely uneventful first half. Steven Fletcher found the back of the net just before half-time to give his side a deserved lead.
The experienced striker headed home his second at the back post shortly after the restart to ensure the Owls came away with all three points and continued their unbeaten run in the Championship.
Fletcher strikes again
Bruce made just one change to the hosts’ starting line-up as Fernando Forestieri replaced Lucas João on his return from suspension. As for Brentford, Thomas Frank also opted to make few changes to his side, which didn’t come as much of a surprise considering the Bee’s impressive display in their 5-1 victory over Hull City at the weekend.
Although he was only planning on making one change, Frank was forced into making a second just before kick-off. Kamohelo Mokotjo picked up an injury in the warm-up which saw Josh McEachran drafted in.
It was the Owls who made the brighter start to proceedings at Hillsborough. Forestieri tried his luck from a tight angle within the first minute but his effort sailed over the bar. Their first clear chance to open the scoring came around 20 minutes in. Tom Lees headed Newcastle United loanee Achraf Lazaar’s corner over the bar when he should’ve done better.
The hosts had a big appeal for a penalty waved around five minutes before half-time. Moses Odubajo appeared to handle the ball in the area, but nothing was given by the referee, much to the dismay of Bruce on the touchline. He needn’t have worried though; his side took the lead just moments later through Fletcher. Having scored against Swansea City at the weekend, the experienced striker made it two in two as he calmly struck home after being played in on goal.
Fletcher had a huge opportunity to pick up his second of the game in first half injury time, but failed to convert Dominic Iorfa’s cross when he all he seemingly had to do was tap home into an empty net.
Owls comfortably see out victory
The Owls could've doubled their advantage shortly after the restart. Adam Reach managed to create a pocket of space for himself on the edge of the area, before dragging his effort just wide of the target.
The 26-year-old was terrorising the Bees again just moments later. His dangerous cross into the area was turned home at the back post by Fletcher. It was the least the Owls deserved after making a storming start to the second half.
The hosts did seem to take their foot off the gas a bit after doubling their advantage, which wasn't really a surprise with the Steel City derby coming up next week. This allowed the Bees to have a lot of possession in the latter stages of the match, but they really struggled to create any clear cut chances.
Neal Maupay's speculative effort with around five minute of normal time left to play was about as good as it got for the away side.
Takeaways from the match
Fletcher is still a threat
There's no doubt that the Owls are performing far better in the final third under the management of Bruce. Jos Luhukay simply didn't get the best out of his attacking talent. Fletcher is just one of numerous proven Championship strikers at his disposal.
The 31-year-old striker took his tally for the season to nine with two well-taken goals against the Bees. This was the perfect way to build on his solitary goal against Swansea at the weekend. Before that, he had gone five games without finding the back of the net. He'll be hoping he can further extend his tally against Sheffield United next week.
Steve Bruce has made an impact
There's no doubt that Bruce was harshly treated towards the end of his reign at Aston Villa. Given the circumstances, many believe that he did a reasonable job at Villa Park. He's certainly done a good job at Hillsborough since he took over earlier this month. The Owls are on an unbeaten run in the Championship and will be heading into the Steel City derby next week full of confidence.