Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Birmingham City: Ugbo’s first Owls double punishes lacklustre City 

Two sides stuck in the bottom half of the Championship table met at Hillsborough on Friday night. Danny Rohl’s Sheffield Wednesday had conceded four in back-to-back games in all competitions; most recently at Coventry City in the FA Cup on Tuesday. Birmingham City’s latest defeat, however, was much narrower as they tasted defeat at local rivals West Bromwich Albion.

SHW: Beadle; Valentin, Bernard, Famewo, Johnson; Poveda, Diaby, Bannan, Gassama; Ugbo, Cadamarteri

BIR: Etheridge; Laird, Bielik, Long, Buchanan; Dozzell, Sunjic; James, Bacuna, Dembele; Hogan

With both sides in desperate need of points for different reasons, it was the visitors who started the brighter at Hillsborough, with Kevin Long’s close range effort hooked just wide from a few yards out. Juninho Bacuna also saw a first time strike fly just over the bar early on following Siriki Dembele’s cutback. 

Sheffield Wednesday may have been forced back into their own half for the first quarter of the game, but the momentum slightly shifted the hosts’ way when they took the lead against the run of play. Ian Poveda picked up the ball down the right hand side and drove forward. The Leeds United loanee then cut the ball back towards Ike Ugbo, who steered the ball home from a few yards out. 

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The away side weren’t put off by falling behind, however, with Ethan Laird laying the ball off to Jordan James down the other end. James then saw his close range strike deflected over by Akin Famewo. Krystian Bielik’s exquisite back heel then set up Juninho Bacuna, whose shot from the edge of the box was straight at James Beadle.

Wednesday had two excellent chances to extend their lead as the first half approached its end. Ian Poveda’s solo run ended with the former Manchester City youngster sending a teasing effort just wide of the far post, while Ike Ugbo almost notched his second of the night, but instead sent his strike just wide. 

The hosts carried this momentum into the second half, which saw them double their lead in the 52nd minute. Marvin Johnson made an excellent run down the left hand side and hung the ball up for Ike Ugbo, who notched his – and Sheffield Wednesday’s – second of the evening; a goal their start to the second half had warranted. 

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Birmingham tried throughout the whole second half to muster a response to Wednesday’s advantage, but as the chances fell, Tony Mowbray’s side failed to capitalise on them, with substitute Tyler Roberts, Lee Buchanan and Jordan James all dragging shots wide of the hosts’ goal; leaving James Beadle with little to do. 

Both sides face huge tests in the Championship next week, as Sheffield Wednesday take the trip to runaway leaders Leicester City while Birmingham return to St. Andrews, where they’ll host former boss John Eustace and Blackburn Rovers – both games kick off at 7:45pm on Tuesday.