Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Preston: Celebration time for Kieran Lee & Daniel Pudil
Last Updated: 03/10/15 9:25pm
It was a day of celebration for Sheffield Wednesday's Kieran Lee and Daniel Pudil as they scored in a 3-1 win over Preston at Hillsborough.
Lee celebrated his 100th appearance for the club with the opener against Preston and Pudil marked the birth of his second child earlier in the day with Wednesday's second after the break.
The thoroughly-deserved win, which was confirmed by Lewis McGugan's injury-time strike, was the third on the bounce for Carlos Carvahal's men and they look to be building the foundations of a good season at Hillsborough.
The same cannot be said of Preston, who prop up the rest in the Sky Bet Championship. They have now gone eight games without a win and a season of struggle looks on the horizon, despite a stirring finish following Alan Browne's 76th-minute consolation.
Given their poor form over the last few weeks, it was no surprise to see Simon Grayson set up his side to contain Wednesday and that led to a drab opening 45 minutes.
The Owls, on the back of successive league wins and a Capital One Cup victory over Newcastle, were the side who were showing the most intent but they were undone by a lack of quality for the majority of the first half.
It looked as if North End's game plan to stifle was going to get them into the half-time break on level terms, but they had the rug pulled from under their feet in first-half injury time as the hosts found their first moment of real quality.
A slick passing move saw Ross Wallace feed the ball into Fernando Forestieri and his first-time flick set Lee free. The midfielder made no mistake from eight yards, rolling home past Jordan Pickford.
That gave Wednesday the perfect platform to come out after the break and flex their muscles as they took the game away from Preston.
They came close to a second when Barry Bannan's fierce drive from distance was kept out by a fine Pickford save, with Forestieri's goalbound follow-up deflected wide.
But there was no denying them in the 55th minute as they deservedly doubled their advantage.
Pudil capitalised on some weak defending by John Welsh, who was robbed in the penalty area, and the Watford loanee poked home from close range, with Atdhe Nuhiu making sure after the ball had already crossed the line.
At that point Preston had to change things and after throwing strikers Eoin Doyle and Jordan Hugill on they got themselves back into the game when Browne converted from a corner.
That changed the complexion of the game completely as Adam Reach saw an effort cleared off the line while Doyle flashed a 20-yard drive just over.
But Wednesday made sure of a victory that was more tricky than it should have been when McGugan struck from 40 yards into an unguarded net, with Pickford having gone forward for a corner.
"This is the Championship, the teams all the time believe they can change the score. It's most important that we win, we are in a sequence of a lot of games. It was a typical game from the Championship. We won and we have three points and that is the most important thing."
"Up to the 44th minute we were comfortable, I have never known Hillsborough so quiet, our goalkeeper has not had a save to make, we weren't having to defend for our lives. Then we make a mistake and we made another one after half-time and we have a mountain to climb."