Preston 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday: Joe Garner goal sees off 10-man Owls
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/02/16 6:56pm
Preston made it three successive Sky Bet Championship wins as Joe Garner's header gave them a 1-0 victory over 10-man Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon.
Victory lifts the home side into the top 10 while the Owls - who had top scorer Fernando Forestieri sent off - slip to sixth, ending a seven-match unbeaten run.
The hosts had the first chance of the match after 10 minutes when Greg Cunningham's left-wing cross picked out fellow full-back Calum Woods, who struck just wide from 12 yards.
And they threatened again in the 22nd minute when Garner struck from 25 yards but Keiren Westwood held the dipping effort.
The Preston pressure continued a minute later when Adam Reach whistled a strike from 20 yards inches over the bar and the hosts were successfully silencing the vast away support.
Were it not for Westwood, Preston would have taken the lead after 27 minutes, but the keeper sprung low to his right to save Garner's header from Paul Gallagher's free-kick.
Sheffield Wednesday began the day as the Championship's top scorers but the chances continued to fall for Preston as another Gallagher free-kick made its way to Tom Clarke on 31 minutes but he thrashed the ball wide when unmarked from eight yards.
The Owls' best chance of the half came after 43 minutes when Barry Bannan whipped in a superb free-kick, but Tom Lees could not get enough of a head on it from six yards.
Preston began the second half on the front foot as Woods' cross from the right after 51 minutes just evaded Garner, who claimed Lees had pushed him, before Alan Browne fired over from the left edge of the area.
Smart play on the edge of the area released Gary Hooper for the visitors, who flashed a low ball across the six-yard box that nobody was there to meet.
Ross Wallace's free-kick on the hour mark sparked panic in the Preston area and the ball eventually fell to Daniel Pudil, who volleyed high over the bar from 12 yards.
The crucial moment arrived on 66 minutes when Wednesday's top scorer Forestieri, who had already been booked for diving, tried to handle the ball into the net and received a second yellow card.
Preston tried to make the most of their advantage and Reach attempted a hopeful long-range strike after 70 minutes that was easily held by Westwood.
But three minutes later they made the extra man count. Woods' left-wing cross found Garner at the far post and his bullet header from six yards gave Westwood no chance.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser and Lucas Joao looked certain to tap home Hooper's cross after 83 minutes, but a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Tom Clarke condemned Wednesday to their first defeat in eight league games.