Michail Antonio scored an injury time winner for Sheffield Wednesday against Carlisle as they closed the gap between themselves and city rivals United to just one point in the race for automatic promotion.
In an entertaining game, it was Wednesday who began the brighter as Jose Semedo released Michail Antonio down the right but when he cut in and crossed he couldn’t find a blue and white shirt.
Carlisle gave as good as they got and could have taken the lead when Jordan Cook broke free on the right and curled an effort just wide of the upright. With both sides playing attractive football the encounter just needed a goal and on the twenty-five minute mark it arrived.
Jermaine Johnson tore down the right before cutting in and firing a shot on goal, which Adam Collin in the Carlisle goal could only parry as far as Chris Lines who tapped in for his third of the campaign.
The momentum was suddenly all with Wednesday and they almost doubled their lead on several occasions as first Nile Ranger had a shot well saved and then defender Mark Beevers’ header was deflected wide from the ensuing long throw.
Carlisle rallied though as Francois Zoko surged down the right and his shot was saved by Bywater before bouncing of Llera and wide fortunately for the Owls.
It should have been 2-0 immediately after, however, as Johnson raced through on goal but he chose to shoot instead of square to Gary Madine who would have had the easiest of tap ins and Collin saved well.
The second half became a lot scrappier as Carlisle tightened up and offered less up front. Antonio had a header cleared off the line by Lubomir Michalik as Wednesday kept searching for the goal to kill off the game but the Carlisle centre backs Michalik and Danny Livesey were impressive in defence.
Wednesday were warned when Zoko had a glorious chance as the ball fell to him twelve yards out but he volleyed over. Dave Jones’ men failed to heed this warning and when a free kick was deflected into the path of James Berrett, he buried the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of area with an exquisite finish.
Wednesday were not to be denied, however, as deep into injury time Antonio picked the ball up near the by-line on the left before getting in and firing an unstoppable shot into the far corner to send the Hillsborough crowd into pandemonium.
Dave Jones said after the game, ‘It would have been a travesty had we not won. We must have had about twenty attempts. But that’s always the danger if you don’t get the second goal.’ On what today’s result meant to the promotion battle he said, ‘We’re still playing catch up. They still have the advantage. It’s going to be very nervy and fans and players are all in it together.’
Wednesday travel to Brentford next week whilst the Blades are at home to Stevenage.