A “deserved” Ross Wallace 30-yard thunderbolt helped Sheffield Wednesday beat promotion rivals Huddersfield Town at Hillsborough.
Wednesday struggled to get going in the first half, and Huddersfield’s fluid play made the away side look most likely to take the lead. Within two minutes they should have been in front. Roving right back Tommy Smith put a cross in from deep which found Nahki Wells unmarked at the far post, however he could only place his header directly at Keiren Westwood.
Huddersfield center-back Michael Hefele also threatened the Wednesday goal, and met an Aaron Mooy corner just inside the area, but he could only put his header wide.
As the half wore on the home side seemed to get into the game, and Barry Bannan became increasingly influential in midfield. Just before half time it was from his cross that Steven Fletcher headed over the ball at the far post.
The second half started with new signing Sam Winnall replacing Steven Fletcher, after the former Barnsley’s man move for £500,000. Immediately Wednesday had more energy and ideas, and eight minutes after his introduction they had the lead.
Ross Wallace picked up the ball 30 yards out in space, and with the home fans urging him to shoot, drove the ball high past Danny Ward into the top right corner of the goal for his first goal of the season.
The dynamics of the game had shifted, and Huddersfield found themselves contained inside their own half with no way of getting out. Fernando Foresteri who signed a contract extension this week, had a good claim for a penalty when he was felled by Hefele, before the Owls striker recovered and curled the ball wide.
The away side’s frustration was building, and in confusing circumstances, Jack Payne was sent off after a lunge on Sam Hutchinson. David Wagner said after the game that he felt the challenge only warranted a yellow card and that Huddersfield may appeal the decision.
Even at a numerical disadvantage, the Terriers did create chances late on. Both Hefele and Mark Hudson wasted good chances in the area to get the away side back on level terms, neither troubling Westwood’s goal.
In the last few minutes Wednesday sealed the game. The ball was nicked off the boot of Winnall when he was through on goal, Callum McManaman recovered the ball, advanced on the keeper before scuffing a shot that deflected off Forestieri into the goal.
Owl’s manager Carlos Carvahal paid tribute to goalscorer Ross Wallace after the full-time whistle. He said: “Ross deserved this goal. In previous games he has to play more tactically, but today he was given permission to fly.”
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt (Palmer 80), Loovens, Lees, Pudil, Wallace (McManaman, 87), Bannan, Hutchinson, Reach, Foresteri, Fletcher (Winnall, 45)
Subs not used: Wildsmith, Jones, Sasso, Nuhiu
Huddersfield Town: Ward, Smith, Hefele, Schinder, Lowe, Billing (Whitehead 61 /Hudson 86), Mooy, Kachunga, Payne, Brown (Lolley 61), Wells
Subs not used: Coleman, Bunn, Holmes-Dennis, Cranie