Sheffield Wednesday 3 PNE 1
North End lost out at Hillsborough despite a spirited comeback, the home side eventually winning 3-1.
Kieran Lee slotted home from a neat back-heel by Forestieri in first half injury time, before Daniel Pudil’s low poke from close range ten minutes after the break.
Alan Browne sparked a comeback for the yellows, whilst Adam Reach saw a shot cleared off the line, but Lewis McGugan fired home from distance in the last minute of injury time to secure the three points.
For the second week in a row the Lilywhites unveiled a signing as the team sheets were handed in, with Paddy McCarthy beginning a 93-day loan from Crystal Palace with a place in the starting XI, alongside skipper Tom Clarke at the back.
Stevie May was the other inclusion for the suspended duo of Wright and Garner, the other nine who started against Wolves keeping their places in Simon Grayson’s side.
McCarthy’s debut lasted ten minutes, an ankle injury in the midfield forcing him off before his PNE career had even started. Chris Humphrey having to replace the new man, the Jamaican going to right back and Calum Woods moving to centre half.
The first half was very tactical affair, with both sides comfortable on the ball and happy to keep possession, waiting for the space to present itself and for North End the best of the opportunities to exploit space came seven minutes before the interval when they worked the ball well before Daniel Johnson fed the ball in between the two Owls centre halves of Turner and Lees for Stevie May, but the former Wednesday man’s touch didn’t bring the ball under control and Keiren Westwood was able to claim.
Neither keeper had been tested, but in first half injury time the home side went ahead. A long ball down the middle wasn’t dealt with by the PNE defence and Fernando Forestieri back-heeled the ball into path of Kieran Lee, the midfield man running on an slotting low into bottom left hand corner from 15 yards out.
Seven minutes into the second half and Jordan Pickford had to be at his very best to keep put Barry Bannan’s 30-yard drive towards the top left corner and then Calum Woods completed the job with a fine block to deny Forestieri.
But it was two on 55 minutes as Pudil poked home after the ball wasn’t cleared from the byline, although Nuhui, in an offside position, seemed to get the last touch.
Hugill and Doyle were introduced and on the hour mark the former had a great chance to halve the deficit as Cunningham’s precise cross from the left was perfect for the forward to attack, but he couldn’t keep his header down to test Westwood.
Four minutes later and another gilt-edged chance fell to the other substitute as Doyle header Reach’s perfectly weighted left wing cross wide of the right hand post from 12 yards out.
The lead was halved with 14 minutes to go. Alan Browne had won a corner and Daniel Johnson’s deep cross was headed down by skipper Tom Clarke to the Irishman, who spun and shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the six yard box.
North End were now driving forward and John Welsh from the edge of the ‘D’ forced Westwood to push the ball around the post. From the corner Pudil cleared off his own line, denying Adam Reach a first goal and an equaliser from Johnson’s cross.
It was all yellow as the game went into the last ten minutes; Doyle’s superb driven effort inches over from 30 yards after another powerful drive forward.
Five minutes of added time meant the yellows could throw caution to the wind and in the final minute North End had a corner with Jordan Pickford in the box, but with everyone forward the home side broke and broke the hearts of North End with substitute Lewis McGugan chipping into the empty net from 40 yards out.
Sheffield Wednesday line-up: Westwood, Turner, Hutchinson, Nuhiu, Lees (c), Lee, Hunt, Wallace (McGugan, 67), Pudil (Joao, 67), Bannan, Forestieri (Lopez, 85). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Loovens, Matias, Wiggins.
PNE line-up: Pickford, Woods, Cunningham, Welsh, Clarke (c), McCarthy (Humphrey, 10), Reach, Browne, Keane (Doyle, 55), May (Hugill, 56), Johnson. Subs not used: Kirkland, Kilkenny, Gallagher, Heaton.
Attendance: 20,383 (TBC away fans)
Referee: Mr A Woolmer