First half goals courtesy of in-form duo Harry Wilson and Jack Marriott heaped the pressure on Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay as Derby County came from behind to beat the Owls 2-1 at Hillsborough.
A quick check of respective recent fortunes would have pointed towards an away win, and so it proved on what was a bitterly cold afternoon. The home side raced into an early lead through Adam Reach, but Derby found themselves going into the break ahead after striking twice in the space of 6 minutes.
Reach continued his red-hot goalscoring streak with a cool finish low beyond Scott Carson to register his 5th of the season and send the Wednesday faithful wild. Their joy was short-lived, however, young prospect Harry Wilson in the right place at the right time to level things up just shy of the half-hour mark.
And the travelling support didn’t have long to wait for a second; summer acquisition Jack Marriot looks a confident player at the moment, and he capitalised on poor defending to slot home.
Although a tad fortunate to be ahead, Frank Lampard’s men looked dangerous each time they came forward, with goal scorer Wilson and Florian Jozefzoon causing all kinds of problems for the Owls defence.
Things may have been a lot different for the hosts had Ash Baker’s tempting cross been met by a blue and white shirt moments after the re-start, though at the other end Derby could have had a third and effectively put the result beyond all doubt but for interventions of Joey Pelupessy.
The home fans were left scratching their heads when first talisman Fernando Forestieri and then Portuguese Marco Matias squandered golden opportunities by failing to steer their efforts goal bound.
At the other end, Cameron Dawson had to be alert to tip over veteran Tom Huddlestone’s long range effort on 70 minutes.
Tom Lawrence entered the fray with 12 minutes remaining, and the once Manchester United wide man was quick to join in with flurries forward.
An ambitious Adam Reach effort would sum up Wednesday’s afternoon – full of intent yet severely lacking in the quality department.
The result ensures Derby stay a place above rivals Nottingham Forest in 6th, whilst the Owls, without a home win since August, sit just three points above the drop zone.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Baker, Lees ©, Hector, Fox; (Penney, 74’) Reach, Pelupessy, Bannan, Matias; (Nuhiu 73′) Forestieri, João. Subs not used: Wildsmith, Palmer, Onomah, Thorniley, Pudil.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh ©, Tomori, (Davies 45′) Malone; Huddlestone, Holmes; Jozefzoon, (Lawrence 77′) Mount, (Bryson 70′) Wilson; Marriott. Subs not used: Roos, Waghorn, Johnson, Pearce.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Sheffield Wednesday: None
Derby County: Fikayo Tomori, Harry Wilson, Jack Marriott
Sheffield Wednesday: Adam Reach (12’)
Derby County: Harry Wilson (29’), Jack Marriott (35’)
HT Score: 1-2
FT Score: 1-2
Man of the Match: Florian Jozefzoon (Derby County)