Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Norwich City
Sheffield Wednesday returned to winning ways on Saturday as they put five goals past a hapless Norwich City side at Hillsborough.
The Owls had lost their last two matches, including a derby defeat to Leeds at Elland Road, but boosted their play-off chances with a 5-1 victory over Alex Neil’s Canaries.
Wednesday started well, dominating possession before getting a breakthrough on 15 minutes. Sam Hutchinson chased down a stray ball in the opposition half, forcing Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to clear it down the line straight to Ross Wallace, who rifled in a 40-yard finish.
Record signing Jordan Rhodes doubled the lead seven minutes later, stooping to head in a Fernando Forestieri cross, guiding in his second goal for Wednesday since January’s move from Middlesbrough.
Norwich managed to give The Owls a scare 15 minutes later thanks to Cameron Jerome. Steven Naismith’s initial effort was blocked by Rhodes, but the ball rose to Jerome to head in from close range. It came at a time when they were beginning to threaten, capitalising on some lax passing from Carlos Carvalhal’s team just before half-time.
Their hope lasted just three minutes however, as Morgan Fox managed to make it 3-1 before the break with a sublime diving header through a mass of players on the goal-line.
The away side came out for the second half ready to rebuild and try to get a point, but were knocked back in the 54th minute when Jordan Rhodes scored his second of the match, diving to head home a Barry Bannan cross from eight yards out.
Forestieri then sealed the victory with a fantastic curling free-kick, making sure of the three points in Wednesday’s biggest victory of the season so far. It’s just the fifth time The Owls have won a game by more than one goal since August, but gives them a much-improved chance of qualifying for the play-offs at the end of the year.
The 5-1 win also means Wednesday have 15 points from the last 21, leaving them five points clear of Fulham, who beat Preston this weekend, in 7th and nine above Norwich in 8th.
January signings Rhodes and Sam Winnall are shaping up as a very effective partnership for Wednesday, and will be key for the Yorkshire club if they’re to finish in the top six and qualify for the play-offs again this year.
It was one of the best performances of the year from The Owls, who are starting to look more like the team which reached Wembley last season. They’ll be hoping to keep that up in the run towards May, and will be hopeful of carrying Saturday’s form into a trip to Villa Park, before a very tough visit from Reading in the month’s final game.