The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

RE­LIEVED Sheffield Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal ded­i­cated this tense vic­tory to Owls leg­end Ron Springett – although the de­fend­ing of both sides would have given the for­mer Eng­land goal­keeper night­mares.

Fans broke into spon­ta­neous ap­plause dur­ing the pro­posed one minute’s si­lence for Springett, who died last week at the age of 80.Then the flood­gates opened in front of goal with winger Ross Wal­lace cre­at­ing all three for Wed­nes­day.

Jamie O’Hara and Tom Cair­ney replied for Ful­ham to set up a grand­stand fin­ish. And Car­val­hal said: “This vic­tory was for Ron Springett. There was a lot of emo­tion and the game was ex­cit­ing.

“We played well for 70 min­utes and for 20 min­utes we tried to close all our win­dows and doors.

“Our trav­el­ling fans saw us play well at Burn­ley and Bolton, but we needed to do this for those who didn’t see that. We can and we will get bet­ter day by day.

“I left out Ross Wal­lace on Tues­day be­cause some play­ers take longer than oth­ers to re­cover and he could play with full energy now.”

Wed­nes­day made hard work of the three points af­ter dom­i­nat­ing most of the game against a dis­ap­point­ing Ful­ham.

En­ter­tain­ment was in plen­ti­ful sup­ply, aided by some aw­ful aerial de­fend­ing.

The visi­tors were most at fault, barely get­ting a header or a foot in the way of a se­ries of ex­cel­lent Wal­lace crosses.

Barry Bannan high­lighted weak­nesses in Ful­ham’s de­fence by hav­ing a free header tipped over by Andy Lon­er­gan in only the fourth minute.

The same midfielder then placed a left-foot shot wide from a good po­si­tion be­fore Fer­nando Forestieri headed Wal­lace’s cor­ner low into the net for his first Owls goal in the 13th minute.

Richard Stear­man was for­tu­nate to get away with a chal­lenge on At­dhe Nuhiu when the burly striker was al­most through on goal be­fore Ful­ham be­gan to chal­lenge.

Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe flashed a ven­omous shot a foot wide be­fore O’Hara, Ful­ham’s mae­stro, lev­elled mat­ters with a bounc­ing shot from just out­side the box.

The fact par­ity lasted as long as it did was thanks to Lon­er­gan’s ath­leti­cism in claw­ing out Alex Lopez’s header. But from Wal­lace’s cor­ner, the goal­keeper was left stranded by his erring de­fend­ers, although he could have done bet­ter with a far­post header by Tom Lees that sneaked into his net.

When Michael Turner nod­ded a Wal­lace free-kick for Wed­nes­day’s third shortly af­ter the break, a com­pre­hen­sive win seemed prob­a­ble.

But the wily O’Hara picked out Cair­ney for yet another close-range header in the 67th minute and home nerves be­came frayed, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing six min­utes of added time.

But for an ex­cel­lent Keiren West­wood save from sub­sti­tute Dan Burn, the Lon­don­ers could have sneaked a for­tu­nate point. Ful­ham boss Kit Sy­mons said: “I’m frus­trated and an­gry with our de­fend­ing, but also proud of my play­ers for the way they played in the sec­ond half.

“We nor­mally de­fend the high balls bet­ter than that, although Wed­nes­day put in some very good crosses.

“We need to tighten up de­fen­sively be­cause we will al­ways score goals. We can be there or there­abouts this sea­son and I’m pleased with what we’ve got.”

Whilst Ross McCor­mack barely had a kick for Ful­ham, Forestieri’s 45-minute cameo will have heart­ened the Hills­bor­ough faith­ful.

Still bet­ter, Car­val­hal re­vealed he with­drew his new sign­ing as a pre­cau­tion and he should be fit to re­sume his part­ner­ship with Nuhiu.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TURN IT IN: Michael Turner of Sheffield Wed­nes­day scores what proved to be the win­ning goal

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