IT’S MADNESS AND IT SUITS OWLS BOSS!
OWLS boss Carlos Carvalhal hailed the madness of the Championship after Sheffield Wednesday rode their luck to seal victory over Preston.
They looked comfortable at 2-0, through goals by Kieran Lee and Daniel Pudil before Alan Browne's strike put the visitors back in it.
Despite some pressure from Simon Grayson’s side, Wednesday sealed the win late on after Lewis McGugan scored a long-range lob.
“This is the Championship and it was a typical Championship game,” said a relieved Carvalhal.
“The fact is, 2-1 is a dangerous score and all the time teams in this league believe they can score.
“It was important that we won after the sequence of games we have had lately.
“Our substitutes contributed a lot to the goal and it was a fantastic goal from Lewis. There was an amazing attitude throughout from the players.
“It’s better that we win and we now have an international break that I think will be good.
“We now have time to train extra and try to improve. This break will be very good for us.”
In truth, the first half was a nonevent with chances few and far between.
In one of the rare forays forward by either side, Wednesday’s Lee and Atdhe Nuhiu linked up brilliantly before the former failed to get a shot away after a clever return pass in the box from Nuhiu.
Despite a wretched 45 minutes, Wednesday then opened the scoring when Lee slotted home in the first of three added minutes.
Lee ran into the path of a brilliant back heel from Fernando Forestieri on the edge of the area, before coolly stroking past Jordan Pickford.
Wednesday threatened to build on that strike when Lee saw another header go just wide, less than two minutes into the second half.
Soon after, Barry Bannan unleashed a rocket that Pickford did well to keep out before Forestieri’s follow-up was turned behind for a corner.
Moments later and it was 2-0 after persistence down the left from Pudil.
The Watford loanee bombed forward and profited from some questionable Preston defending before prodding the ball into the net from an acute angle in front of the Hillsborough Kop.
The second goal seemed to calm any lingering nerves for the home faithful, with Preston struggling to impose themselves on the contest.
However, the visitors then surged into life with a quarter of an hour to go. Wednesday failed to clear their lines from a corner and Browne bundled home from just a few yards out.
John Welsh then saw his piledriver kept out by Keiren Westwood before Adam Reach was denied by the Ireland international.
Eoin Doyle then hit a rasping effort over the bar before the hosts' McGugan flashed a free-kick into the side netting. However, Wednesday then sealed the points in emphatic style with a scorching effort from McGugan right at the death.
Pickford had gone forward for a corner but was caught out when sub McGugan lobbed him halfway inside the North End half to finally kill off the visitors’ resistance.
North End boss Grayson said: “I thought in the first half we were comfortable.
“But, we were the architects of our downfall with all three goals.
“I’ve never known Hillsborough as quiet.
“Our goalkeeper has not had a save to make in that first half and we were very comfortable.
“We then had a mountain to climb.
“We should have got something and we had Wednesday on the back foot .
“At this level, if you make mistakes, then you get punished - at any level – and that’s how it proved unfortunately.
“I expected Stevie May and Will Keane to give us a bit more. But the subs we made came on and affected the game.”
BUNDLE: Sheffield Wednesday's Daniel Pudil celebrates scoring his team's second goal. Inset: He pokes the ball into the net