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15 August 2015

Goals from Sears and Smith give Blues the win

Town got the Championship home campaign off to a winning start thanks to goals from Freddie Sears and Tommy Smith.

Just like the midweek victory over Stevenage in the Capital One Cup, Blues had to come from behind, Ross Wallace giving Wednesday the lead on 19 minutes.

Town responded immediately through Freddie Sears and created the better chances before Tommy Smith clinched the three points with a second-half header.

Christophe Berra started his first game of the Championship after missing out at Brentford last week through suspension, Jay Emmanuel dropping out. Jonathan Douglas was handed his first League start for Blues since arriving from the Bees, replacing the injured Kevin Bru.

Town had a scare in the first few minutes when Marco Matias hit the post from the edge of the area, but Mick McCarthy’s side got an immediate grip on the game - Daryl Murphy almost converting at the near post.

The Republic of Ireland international then brought a save from Keiren Westwood at full stretch.

Sears and Murphy again went close but against the run of play, Wednesday went ahead - Matias getting behind the defence and from his cross, Wallace buried his shot into the roof of the net. 

Two minutes later Town were level, Sears on to the ball down the right and from a tight angle he beat Westwood at his near post, the ‘keeper possibly anticipating a cross.  

It took a terrific tackle from Cole Skuse inside the box to stop Matias having a shot at goal from eight yards out after Lucas Joao’s surging run.

Sears forced Westwood into a save low to his left as a first-half that started at a frantic pace petered out.

Town had a penalty claim when Fraser went down in the box as the second-half got underway, then Jeremy Helan denied Berra with a goalline clearance.

Berra was denied again at the far post as he tried to get on the end of Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross but Town piled forward and on 53 minutes, Blues were ahead - Fraser the architect and when Westwood couldn’t hold his cross, Smith headed in from close range.

Westwood, who had been received lengthy treatment in the first-half, was forced to leave the field before the hour, Joe Wildsmith his replacement and his first touch was to beat out Sears’ effort. 

Maitland-Niles did well to get on the end of Fraser’s cross but couldn’t direct his header as Town threatened a third, Fraser dragging his shot wide from Sears’ pass.

Sears fired over from Skuse’s free-kick, Wallace forcing Bart Bialkowski to put the ball behind for a corner before Town made a first change on 73 minutes, with Fraser and Maitland-Niles replaced by David McGoldrick and Brett Pitman.

Bialkowski held firm as Jack Hunt sent in a couple of crosses aimed at the giant Atdhe Nuhiu, Berra denied again at the other end with another header cleared off the line.

Wednesday pressed for an equaliser in the four minutes of added time and Bialkowski saved low down from Joao but there would be no repeat of last week’s ending at Brentford as Town made it four points from six.  
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas (Coke 86), Maitland-Niles (Pitman 73), Fraser (McGoldrick 73), Murphy, Sears. Subs not used: Gerken, Emmanuel, Tabb,  Toure. Booked: Douglas, Fraser. 

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood (Wildsmith 57), Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Helan, Lopez, Hutchinson (Nuhiu 61), Wallace, McGugan (Lee 78), Matias, Joao. Subs not used: Palmer, Semedo, Sasso, Sougou. Booked: Hutchinson, Lopez.
Att: 20,081


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