Sheff Wed 1-2 Middlesbrough: Pressure cranks up on Carlos Carvalhal
By Press Association
Last Updated: 23/12/17 7:03pm
Middlesbrough came from behind to win 2-1 at Sheffield Wednesday to increase the pressure on Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal.
Ross Wallace had given the hosts the lead on the half-hour mark, but second-half goals from Jonny Howson and Ryan Shotton turned the Sky Bet Championship match in favour of Boro, for whom Grant Leadbitter missed a penalty.
The result left Wednesday without a win in their last seven games, leading to chants of 'We want Carlos out' from a section of the Hillsborough crowd at the end of the match.
The hosts threatened in only the second minute when Adam Reach shot wide from inside the area. David Jones then had a free-kick deflected off-target, and Gary Hooper sent a glancing header wide from a Wallace cross.
Boro's first effort on goal came from Martin Braithwaite, who received an incisive pass from Stewart Downing before seeing his shot saved by Joe Wildsmith at his near post.
Wallace then fired a free-kick over the bar before Boro had another good opening, with Patrick Bamford directing a close-range header wide from Cyrus Christie's cross.
The home side took the lead after half an hour, when a low cross from Reach found Hooper inside the area and he laid off for Wallace to lash low past Darren Randolph.
Downing missed the target with a free-kick and then, when Braithwaite was forced wide after rounding Wildsmith, he squared the ball to Britt Assombalonga whose effort was blocked. Assombalonga threatened again before the break after finding some space inside the area, shooting just beyond the far post.
Liam Palmer went close to extending Wednesday's lead just before the interval with a low drive which was saved by Randolph. Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu failed to make proper contact with the ball when Daniel Pudil's cross into the area found him.
Wildsmith then came to his side's rescue with a superb reaction save to keep out Braithwaite's shot from close range. Assombalonga did put the ball in the back of the net soon after, but Boro's celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
Wallace, who had received some treatment a couple of minutes earlier, was taken off and replaced by Jacob Butterfield on 65 minutes.
The equaliser arrived in the 71st minute when Howson scored from long range moments after Leadbitter's penalty - awarded following Butterfield's clumsy challenge on Bamford - had been saved by Wildsmith down to his right. Wildsmith looked to have Howson's shot covered, but fumbled his attempted save.
With Wednesday looking for an immediate response, Reach directed a header on target but the ball was comfortably collected by Randolph.
And the winner soon arrived - at the other end - courtesy of Shotton, seven minutes from time. The defender climbed high to meet Downing's corner and head beyond Wildsmith into the far corner of the net.
Carlos Carvalhal: "We played against a strong team and I thought we started very well, but they were better than us today. We were defending very well and when we scored the goal, the team calmed down a little. We lost some intensity and they started putting more direct balls in and started causing problems for us. We tried to block them in the middle and then they scored their first goal.
"I am not happy. I still believe we can achieve the play-offs but we need to be stronger and be more of a threat to opponents. I think the circumstances are very difficult at the moment with nine players out injured. I have done my best since coming to Sheffield Wednesday and I will continue to work hard and do my best to try and win games."
Garry Monk: "That was our best away performance of the season and I thought it was a thoroughly deserved win. I thought we were excellent today. With two disallowed goals which were onside and a missed penalty, you do wonder, but we dominated for most of the game.
"They are a good team with some quality players and they had their moments, but overall we dealt with their moments pretty well. We answered a few questions that were thrown at us today and there are a few more to be answered."