The fast-paced opening to the game made for great viewing, with both sides looking to strike first. While The Owls were looking for just their third victory in 2020, the hosts Bristol City were without a win in their last six outings.
The Robins would have opened the scoring had it not been for the heroics of Joe Wildsmith making just his second appearance between the sticks this season. The 24-year-old superbly diverted Nathan Baker’s strong header over the crossbar from point blank range.
Minutes later, The Owls made the most of Wildsmith’s terrific save when they went one nil to the good. Wickham found acres of space in the box and deftly flicked Jacob Murphy’s corner past Niki Maenpaa for his second goal in as many games.
Wednesday continued to press for a second goal after the interval and it took 14 minutes before another set piece led to Massimo Luongo scoring his third goal in blue and white stripes. Again, it was a Murphy corner which evaded City’s defence, Wickham stabbed at the ball before Luongo volleyed on the swivel and managed to find the bottom corner.
It looked like Garry Monk’s side would cruise to victory however on 68 minutes the game was sparked into life. Baker bulleted his header towards goal from Korey Smith’s searching ball. Wildsmith again pulled off a fantastic save but Wells was on hand to head home the rebound.
While the hosts pilled on the pressure late on, it was The Owls who went closest at the death when substitute Alessio De Cruz struck fiercely towards goal after a breakaway attack. Maenpaa came out on top this time as he parried wide.
These are crucial points for Wednesday, who move 10 points clear of the drop, however with a possible points deduction hanging over the club, they could still be dragged into a relegation battle.
Garry Monk: “It was another positive performance, against another side up there and amongst it. We had good control, we looked quite dangerous and another pleasing performance after last week.
“If we continue to build on these types of performances, it’s the way we need to go. They couldn’t have worked any harder and they played with a bit of confidence today.”
Lee Johnson: “I don’t think we struggled we just simply did not do our job in the box. The attitude was good, the character was good, we did lack a little bit of quality in the final third after some good counters and good breaks.”
Takeaways from the match
Wickham on target again
For the second time in two games, the on-loan forward has found the back of the net, both times with his head from a corner. The frontman looks fitter and sharper than before the break and will be a valuable asset with Steven Fletcher leaving the club which leaves just Wickham, Jordan Rhodes and Atdhe Nuhiu as The Owls’ out and out strike force.
Stellar performance from Joe Wildsmith
The stopper made his 50th appearance for Wednesday last weekend against Nottingham Forest and was equally as solid between the sticks today. He commanded his box perfectly, his distribution was steady, and he also pulled off two incredible saves, albeit the second was largely forgotten about due to Wells’ follow up. With good performances like this, Wildsmith could nail down his number one spot ahead of Cameron Dawson for next season.
Eliasson makes impact from the bench
After entering the fray in the 56th minute of the game, Niclas Eliasson made an instant impact on The Robins’ attacking threat. With three goals and 12 assists already, he was keen to add more goals and assists to his name, particularly when City reduced to gap to a single goal.
Man of the Match: Barry Bannan
The Scotsman dictated play from minute one to minute 96, he completed 43 successful passes, the most in the game. He was also the most successful player in terms of passes in the opposition half (34) and times he gained possession (15). The midfielder’s class is now really standing out in a midfield three where he has more freedom due to the work of Kieran Lee and Luongo.
Up next for both
The Owls host second placed West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night hoping to continue their good form.
Meanwhile, Bristol City travel to the City Ground to play Nottingham Forest.