Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Derby: Owls end winless run as Rams thwarted
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/02/18 11:35pm
Sheffield Wednesday beat promotion-chasing Derby 2-0 at Hillsborough.
A Lucas Joao double was enough to see manager Jos Luhukay's first league win since taking charge, putting a temporary halt on their drop towards the relegation zone.
The result saw Derby miss the chance to climb above Aston Villa into second and leaves them with only one win from their last five games.
Joao tucked away the first goal clinically, then scored with a stunning solo effort two minutes into the second half. The travelling team applied the pressure early on, but the Owls defended resiliently to cling onto just their fourth home clean sheet of the season.
Wednesday, who were seeking back-to-back home wins over Derby for the first time since 1987, made seven changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw at Barnsley, as Luhukay continued the search for his first three points.
The changes seemed to have an impact, as the Owls started brightly and 21-year-old Sean Clare, who impressed on his first league start, flashed a shot wide before Frederico Venancio nodded a corner straight at 'keeper Scott Carson.
The home side then took the lead after a swift move, when Adam Reach lofted a pass into the box towards Jack Hunt. Hunt calmly laid the ball off to Joao (18) who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner with his first touch.
Andreas Weimann wasted Derby's best chance of the half, when he headed Chris Baird's cross narrowly wide of the front post.
Hillsborough erupted just after the break, when Joao (47) doubled his side's advantage from 25 yards. The Portuguese striker drove inside unchallenged and unleashed a powerful driven shot into the bottom corner from distance.
The visitors, having not lost a league game since November, responded strongly. Bradley Johnson first had a penalty appeal waved away, after going down under pressure from Clare, then David Nugent headed high and wide before Tom Huddlestone saw his ambitious first-time shot blocked in the area.
Weimann had another golden chance to put Derby on the scoresheet, as Matej Vydra rolled in behind, but Wednesday stopper Joe Wildsmith stood strong and thumped the stinging effort out for a corner.
Sky Bet Championship's top goal-scorer, Vydra, was next to be thwarted by Wildsmith. Almost inside the six-yard box, the striker looked set to score but Wildsmith managed to keep him at bay with his legs.
The Rams continued to waste chances as Nugent selflessly released Johnson into the box and he scuffed his shot well wide. Weimann nearly got one back at the end.
Jos Luhukay: "I am pleased and proud of the team tonight and I say credit to all of the players, this was a team performance. We started the game well, continued well and finished well. The medicine tasted good tonight because this gives you confidence.
"Derby came here very high in the table but we showed we can compete even with the injuries that we have at the moment. The atmosphere from the stands helped us a lot, the fans made a lot of noise and the players gave a good response."
Gary Rowett: "We created a lot more chances than we have done in the past four or five games but we just couldn't find that bit of quality. We should have had a penalty when Joe Ledley was hacked down from behind (after 52 minutes) - I thought the ref had a really, really poor game.
"That's not why we lost but it is frustrating. We didn't defend well enough to give ourselves a chance of getting something from the game. The manner of the goals we conceded were disappointing."