Sheffield Wednesday promotion bid back on track despite Bristol Rovers fight back

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It was the battle of the League One Player of the Season nominees as Barry Bannan got a goal and an assist for Sheffield Wednesday, while Aaron Collins netted a concellation goal for Bristol Rovers.

Bristol Rovers couldn’t overturn a two-goal deficit as Sheffield Wednesday held on to win 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium.

Goals from Bannan and Akin Famewo put the visitors two goals to the good, and they hung on well to see out the win despite a goal inside the first 60 seconds of the second half from Aaron Collins, condemning the Gas to their first defeat in four, and their first defeat to a side in the top six at the Memorial Stadium.

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James Belshaw was called into action early on when Michael Smith’s flick-on was put into the path of Dennis Adeniran, the midfielder’s effort was hard and low but Belshaw was equal to it, and got down quickly to save.

Aden Flint’s yank on Josh Coburn just outside the Wednesday box brought a good opportunity for Grant Ward to swing the ball in - he obliged and the ball met the head of James Connolly who’s header was saved easily by Cameron Dawson.

It was almost disaster for the Rovers defence, when a seemingly easy back pass for Lewis Gibson back to his keeper was underhit, Smith got to the ball ahead of Belshaw but his touch to go round the keeper was too heavy and went past the post, an early let off for the Gas.

The Gas were putting the away side under sustained pressure, and this time it was Loft with the half-chance when he was found in the box by a Grant Ward cross. The striker’s volley bounced off the turf and graciously into the hands of Dawson.

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The away side took the lead just before the half-hour mark against the run of play. Jarell Quansah’s pass to Grant Ward on the edge of his own box caused problems and the midfielder had his pocket picked by Lee Gregory -who then teed up Barry Bannan who was unmarked just inside the box. His strike was hit fantastically and blasted across Belshaw and into the back of the net.

The Gas had just under 70% possession of the ball, however the majority of that was amongst their back five, as Joey Barton’s side struggled to break down a resolute Wednesday defence.

Five minutes before the break, it was two. A corner was swung in by Bannan and pinballed round the box as Rovers failed to clear their lines, ending in Akin Famewo poking the ball into the back of the net, despite Belshaw getting a touch on it.

Joey Barton was clearly not happy at the break, with a triple substitution adding Scott Sinclair, Antony Evans and Sam Finley into the fold, with James Connolly, Grant Ward and Ryan Loft making way, with the Gas switching from a back five to a four.

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Something the Rovers gaffer said to his team clearly worked, as they had a goal back within a minute of the restart. James Belshaw’s kick was misjudged by Domonic Iorfa and Aaron Collins found himself bearing down on goal, slipping the ball past Dawson and halving the deficit.

The Gas pushed for an equaliser as the away side took every opportunity to run down the clock, and John Marquis had the ball in the back of the net with just over ten to go after he met Sam Finley’s shot in the box. Unfortunately for Marquis he was offside and the flag was raised instantly, despite the Rovers fan’s celebrations.

Wednesday defended resolutely late on, and secured all three points to strengthen their promotion bid.

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