Sheffield Wednesday 1 Fleetwood Town 0: Fighting spirit from visitors but losing start to season continues
Fleetwood's tough start to the season continued with a narrow defeat at League One big guns Sheffield Wednesday.
It’s now four straight defeats in league and EFL Cup so far for Town, but they will take some encouragement from this effort in front of a hostile 21,000-plus crowd in South Yorkshire.
Town created a number of very presentable chances during the course of the 90 minutes but couldn’t quite muster that killer finish.
Lee Gregory’s routine finish early on proved the difference on another frustrating night for the Cod Army
Ahead of this historic first ever meeting between the two sides at the vast Hillsborough stadium, Town boss Simon Grayson – back at the club where he enjoyed a loan spell as a player in 2000 - opted to make a triple change to his starting line-up on the back of the defeat at Lincoln at the weekend.
Harrison Holgate, Callum Camps and Harrison Biggins were given the nod from the start, with Jay Matete, Shayden Morris and Max Clark the three who had to be content with a place on the bench for this one.
Goalkeeper Alex Cairns enjoyed a landmark evening in his home county as he played for the 200th time in a Fleetwood shirt.
As expected, the atmosphere was electric once the action got under way and it was the Owls who took the initiative early on.
Only a couple of minutes had passed when Jack Hunt threw over a terrific cross for Gregory, but he headed off-target on what was his first start since joining the club.
Town made some headway themselves in the fifth minute, with Danny Andrew playing in Ged Garner only for the visiting frontman to lash disappointingly into the side-netting from 12 yards.
Callum Morton then found himself charging through towards goal, but Wednesday defender Dominic Iorfa produced a superbly-timed tackle to end the move dead.
Town fell behind in the 15th minute. Gregory, who started the forward move, mopped up a simple rebound after Cairns could only parry Dennis Adeniran’s angled shot.
After Biggins had tested Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the Owls’ goal, the woodwork then saved Town when Gregory’s header thumped a post.
Seconds before the interval Wednesday’s lead was almost doubled.
Iorfa rose superbly to meet Barry Bannan’s inswinging cross but he headed straight at a grateful Cairns.
Town showed up first in the second period, with Biggins again testing Peacock-Farrell at the end of a smart move through the heart of the Owls’ midfield.
However, they survived a big scare in the 54th minute, when Marvin Johnson side-footed wide from six yards after darting in to meet Gregory’s low cross.
Gregory raced on to another precise through-ball from Bannan in the 63rd minute but thankfully for Town he couldn’t find the target.
Credit to Grayson’s men, they kept plugging away in search of a leveller and sub Morris looked likely when he came on and he tested Peacock-Farrell’s alertness.
However, the Owls hung on quite comfortably in the end.
Sheff Wed: Peacock-Farrell, Palmer, Hutchinson, Iorfa, Hunt, Adeniran, Bannan, Byers (Paterson, 72), Johnson, Wing, Gregory (Kamberi, 72); Subs not used Wildsmith, Brown, Dele-Bashiru, Luongo, Dunkley.
Fleetwood: Cairns, Halliday, Clarke, Holgate, Hill (Morris, 46), Andrew, Garner, Rossiter, Biggins, Camps (Edmondson, 86), Morton (Pilkington, 59). Subs not used: Crellin, Matete, Batty, Clark.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
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