Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Wigan: Steven Fletcher scores only goal in Owls win
Fletcher's goal secured first league win for the Owls since Boxing Day
Last Updated: 19/01/19 8:34pm
A brilliantly taken goal from Steven Fletcher secured Sheffield Wednesday an important 1-0 victory over struggling Wigan at Hillsborough.
The striker drilled home from 25 yards to give the Owls their first win in four Championship matches, leaving Athletic hovering just six points above the relegation zone.
Seven minutes in, Wednesday forced the first save out of Jamie Jones. Marco Matias tried to catch him out at his near post directly from the corner. Seeing it late, Jones reacted well with his left boot to clear the danger and Fletcher tried his luck with a bicycle kick which went wide.
Moments later there was a nervy moment in Wednesday's defence as Joe Garner was beaten to a long pass by Morgan Fox. Fox's back-pass to Keiren Westwood was under-hit, and fortunately for him his goalkeeper was quick off his line to clear the danger.
Wednesday were then denied a golden opportunity. A long ball from the back found the head of Fletcher who showed great awareness to nod the ball onto the feet of George Boyd, who charged into the box, only to be denied by a perfectly timed challenge by Reece James.
The hosts came forward again. The ball was worked inside to Barry Bannan who threaded the ball to Fletcher and on the turn he forced a good save from Jones, diving low to his right to turn it behind.
After the half-hour mark, Wigan took control for a brief period, Josh Windass having his long-range effort deflected wide.
Windass took the resulting corner and found Anthony Pilkington who flicked the ball towards Garner but he couldn't provide the decisive touch.
Latics then had a decent opportunity from close range. Garner headed a cross towards Pilkington and the forward did well to meet it with an acrobatic effort, only for his shot to be blocked by Bannan.
Matias dispossessed a defender and put Fletcher through on the right-hand side, but the angle was tight and his last touch was heavy, allowing Cedric Kipre to slide in and clear the ball for a corner.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 62nd minute. Fletcher picked up the ball just within Wigan's half and after the Latics failed to close him down, he found the bottom corner with a perfect shot.
The Owls carried on the pressure and Fletcher let fly from a similar position minutes later, but this time Chey Dunkley saw the danger and put in a robust challenge.
Bannan then had a decent opportunity from a free-kick 20 yards out, but fortunately for Wigan his dangerous effort deflected off the wall for a corner.
In the dying minutes, the Owls strived to double their advantage. After a neat exchange of play, Boyd was sent clean through and forced a good save from Jones, who also denied substitute Atdhe Nuhiu with his body.
Steve Agnew: "I thought in the second half we took the game to them. Fletcher got a well-deserved goal - he was a handful all afternoon. The combination play between Adam Reach and Barry Bannan, to get the ball to Fletch, started a terrific move and finished off nicely by Fletch.
"If you ask their two centre-backs, that was probably one of the hardest games they've played this season."
Paul Cook: "I think disappointing would be a fair reflection. I think first half we had our moments. To be fair, Sheffield Wednesday started the game really well and I thought we grew into the game.
"Second half, Sheffield Wednesday were comfortably the better team. They dominated the game and they created chances. We looked very limp, not anywhere near where we did last week. We must go home, train hard and see where it goes."