REPORT | SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 4 ARGYLE 2
Sheffield Wednesday 4
Johnson o.g. 83
In the fourth meeting between these two sides this season, Sheffield Wednesday finally got the better of Argyle with a 4-2 victory.
Silla Sow and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored in a strong first period for the home side but a beautiful Adam Randell free-kick immediately halved the deficit a minute after the break.
Sam Hutchison had apparently won it for Wednesday with a header 11 minutes from time but a Marvin Johnson own goal gave the Greens hope, only for substitute Josh Windass to almost immediately seal the points for the Owls.
Argyle boss Stephen Schumacher made one change from the FA Cup win at Birmingham, Niall Ennis replacing Ryan Hardie in attack. New loan signing Romoney Crichlow took his place on a bench that also included fit-again Luke Jephcott, Ryan Broom and James Wilson.
After successive defeats to Sunderland and Shrewsbury, Wednesday manager Darren Moore opted for five changes to his side, and it is was two of those new additions who created the first opening on nine minutes, Sow feeding a pass wide for Jack Hunt to fire into the side-netting.
Blocks from James Bolton and Macauley Gillesphey repelled the next home attack. The pace and power of Ennis briefly switched the attacking emphasis back in Argyle’s favour before Dan Scarr executed a superb tackle to thwart a darting run from Sow.
When Mendez-Laing did find room for a curling effort, Mike Cooper got his positioning spot on to fist the shot clear. A deep cross then picked out Lee Gregory for a close-range header, expertly palmed over by the Pilgrim custodian.
The Owls did finally get their reward for a powerful start, Sow sweeping home from eight yards after a low cross from the right flank.
As the Greens struggled to find their normal passing rhythm, Wednesday very nearly pinched a second, with Massimo Luongo surging through midfield to clip a lovely pass to Gregory, who hit the outside of the post from a tight angle.
A clever run from the engine room by Barry Bannan was picked out by Fiasko Dele-Bashiru and Argyle were thankful to see the home captain drag his shot wide from 20 yards.
It was, sadly, a momentary reprieve for Argyle, with a sluggish first-half display receiving the double punishment of a second goal for the hosts, Mendez-Laing racing down the left before cutting inside to plant an accomplished finish into the far corner.
Only a desperate last-ditch challenge from Scarr prevented Mendez-Laing possibly putting the game beyond doubt in the final home thrust of a frustrating 45 minutes for the Pilgrims.
Within a minute of the restart, it was game on again, Randell won the free-kick with quick feet 25 yards out and the youngster promptly curled a sumptuous set-piece over the Wednesday wall and into the corner for his first Argyle goal.
There was some zip back in the Pilgrim passing, although a responsible recovery block from Jordan Houghton ensured Gregory was unable to find Sow for a sitter on 56 minutes. Scarr then blocked a curler from Luongo.
Broom for Danny Mayor was the first Argyle change on the hour, but the Greens were back in defensive mode, throwing bodies and blocks in front of the ball after a Bannan free-kick had caused problems in the penalty area.
Bannan next jinked inside from the right for a bending shot sent inches wide of the far post, as Schumacher turned to Jephcott as a replacement for Ennis in the final 20 minutes.
Bright play from Broom, cutting in for a clipped cross, forced the Wednesday defence into a hurried clearance. Argyle were turning the screw and a cross from Garrick found the head of Conor Grant, but Bailey Peacock-Farrell made the save.
Unfortunately, the fourth goal went the way of Sheffield Wednesday, Hunt swinging over a delicious cross for Hutchinson’s downward header directed beyond the stranded Cooper.
Ryan Law for Houghton was the final Argyle switch and the Greens were almost immediately back within touching distance. Randell curled over a cross for Broom to head against the post and the ball bounced up for Garrick to force it over the line, with home defender Johnson getting the final touch.
Within 30 seconds, however, Windass made it 4-2 after a swift turn and shot into the bottom corner and, this time, there was no route back for the Pilgrims.
Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2): 1 Bailey Peacock-Farrell; 2 Liam Palmer, 5 Sam Hutchinson, 18 Marvin Johnson; 32 Jack Hunt, 10 Barry Bannan (capt) (8 Dennis Adeniran 90), 17 Fiasko Dele-Bashiru, 21 Massimo Luongo, 41 Nathaniel Mendez-Lang; 9 Lee Gregory (13 Callum Paterson 90), 40 Silla Sow (11 Josh Windass 80). Substitutes (not used): 28 Joe Wildsmith (gk), 14 George Byers, 24 Saido Berahino, 34 Ciaran Brennan.
Booked: Luongo 55, Hunt 88
Argyle (3-5-2): 1 Mike Cooper; 2 James Bolton, 6 Dan Scarr, 3 Macauley Gillesphey; 8 Joe Edwards (capt), 20 Adam Randell, 4 Jordan Houghton (27 Ryan Law 82), 10 Danny Mayor (7 Ryan Broom 59), 15 Conor Grant; 11 Niall Ennis (31 Luke Jepchcott 70), 14 Jordon Garrick. Substitutes (not used): 25 Callum Burton (gk), 5 James Wilson, 16 Alfie Lewis, 33 Romoney Crichlow.
Booked: Broom 90
Referee: Christopher Pollard