Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Charlton: Wednesday cruise to victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/03/16 6:31pm
Sheffield Wednesday tightened their grip on the final play-off spot in the Sky Bet Championship with a 3-0 win over struggling Charlton at Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls put in a stirring second-half display to swat the Addicks aside, prevailing through goals from Tom Lees, Fernando Forestieri and El-Hadji Ba's own-goal.
The win sees them extend their cushion over seventh-placed Cardiff to three points as none of the chasing pack could win, with their involvement in the end-of-season play-offs - and a shot at a return to the top flight for the first time since 2000 - looking on the cards.
For Charlton, they move another step closer to exiting the division at the other end as they remain six points adrift of safety after a mini-revival was brought to an abrupt halt in South Yorkshire.
Having been beaten by relegation candidates Rotherham in their last outing at Hillsborough, Wednesday were keen to avoid a repeat and threatened to take the lead inside two minutes.
Ross Wallace was set clear with a superb crossfield ball and he got to the byline and sent in an inviting cross to Forestieri, whose looping header was superbly clawed away by Addicks goalkeeper Nick Pope.
That was as good as it got for the hosts, who went on to endure a frustrating first 45 minutes.
Fresh from beating Middlesbrough last time out, Charlton were in no mood to roll over and negated Wednesday's threat well, so much so that Pope was not forced into another save of note in the half.
It did not take much for Wednesday to improve after the break and after Carlos Carvalhal threw on Atdhe Nuhiu and Alex Lopez, they laid siege at Charlton's goal.
Pope was alert to palm away Forestieri's deflected effort, Nuhiu could not get enough contact on Gary Hooper's cute pass and Jack Hunt had a goalbound effort blocked.
But from the resulting corner of Hunt's effort, Wednesday finally got the breakthrough as Lees rose highest to power home a header from eight yards.
This gave Wednesday license to roam and it took only five minutes for the second to arrive.
Hunt whipped in a great cross for Nuhiu, whose header hit the post but Forestieri was the right man in the right position to slam home the rebound from close range for his 13th goal of the season.
Wednesday did a good job of topping up their goal difference as they added a third with 13 minutes remaining, though there was a good amount of fortune about it.
Wallace's vision from a short corner teed up Lopez 25 yards out and the midfielder's shot looked to be heading wide until Ba directed it into the bottom corner.
The Owls' afternoon was marred by a late injury to Hunt, who left the field in injury time with a leg brace on.