Sheffield Wednesday 4-2 Blackburn: Owls boost play-off hopes
Blackburn remain without an away win since January
Last Updated: 16/03/19 6:58pm
Sheffield Wednesday kept their play-off hopes alive thanks to a 4-2 win over Blackburn.
Goals from Steven Fletcher, Atdhe Nuhiu, Dominic Iorfa and Marco Matias gave Steve Bruce's men the points which leave them two points outside the top six with eight games to play.
Craig Conway and Elliott Bennett scored for Blackburn, who were never ahead in the game. Rovers remain without an away win since January 12.
Sam Winnall was handed his first start for Wednesday since August 2017, the striker having subsequently suffered a serious knee ligament injury during a spell on loan at Derby.
Wednesday went into the game on the back of a run of just one defeat in their last 15 games while Blackburn's 3-0 victory over Wigan ended a sequence of seven outings without a win.
During a quiet opening, Blackburn's Bradley Dack tried a shot from distance which went well wide of keeper Keiren Westwood's left-hand post.
Wednesday manager Bruce was forced to make a change when Sam Hutchinson picked up an injury with Joey Pelupessy taking his place in midfield.
Fletcher struck in the 10th minute to put the hosts ahead, applying a close-range finish after meeting Iorfa's low cross. Adam Reach then burst into the area and fired in a shot which was beaten away by David Raya.
As Wednesday continued to press, Michael Hector headed against Raya's left-hand post from a Reach cross and Winnall put an overhead kick wide.
Sloppy defending nearly allowed Dack to find a way through but the ball fell kindly for Westwood, who was able to claim it. When Dack threatened again, Westwood was forced to make a save down low to his left, parrying the striker's shot.
Blackburn had a great chance early in the second half when Rothwell's cross picked out Danny Graham but the striker put his header wide at the far post.
Nuhiu, who had joined the action just two minutes earlier, made it 2-0 on the hour-mark when he got on the end of a Barry Bannan free-kick, directing his header beyond Raya.
Reach tried an audacious effort from fully 45 yards after spotting Raya off his line and the keeper was relieved to see the ball go wide.
Wednesday skipper Tom Lees was then on hand to cut out the danger, clearing a probing cross from Conway, who had come on in place of Harrison Reed.
Mowbray made a double substitution in 68th minute, taking off Graham and Corey Evans and sending on Adam Armstrong and John Buckley, the latter making his debut.
Blackburn pulled a goal back when Rothwell squared to Conway (72) inside the area and he fired confidently past Westwood.
Iorfa restored the home side's two-goal advantage, firing into the net when the ball fell to him inside the area after Bannan's free-kick caused problems for the Blackburn defence.
After Hector bravely blocked Dack's goalbound shot, Matias (86) scored Wednesday's fourth, applying the finish following good work from Bannan. Raya got a hand to the ball but only succeeded in diverting it into the net.
Bennett (88) scored Blackburn's second goal after finding himself in space inside the area but they failed to stage a late comeback.
Steve Bruce: "To score four was great and we've got to be happy, although we went a bit sloppy towards the end and we nearly got punished. We went deep too quickly and I wish we hadn't conceded the way we did. We should have made it more comfortable than we did, but overall I'm delighted.
"It's fair to say we got our goals at the right time. Blackburn are a threat and they caused us problems. We've given ourselves a chance and we've taken steps towards it. It should be a fascinating end to the season."
Tony Mowbray: "There were lots of positives for us. I thought we gave them lots and lots of problems. The very obvious problem for us is that we have a team of kids at the back at the moment. We've got three international central defenders missing and the left-back is not available.
"We have to accept that and we'll be stronger in a couple of weeks when hopefully Mulgrew, Rodwell and Lenihan are fit. We came out of League One last year and I think we've done fantastically well. We were two points off the play-offs only six weeks ago."