Sheffield Wednesday halted Stoke’s mini-revival and climbed to third in the Sky Bet Championship with a 1-0 victory over the Potters on Tuesday.
Following a dismal start to the season, Nathan Jones’ Stoke had shown signs of improvement with impressive wins against Swansea and Fulham in their previous two matches.
However, they were unable to maintain that run at Hillsborough, where Massimo Luongo’s winner took manager Garry Monk’s tally to 14 points from seven matches in charge of Wednesday.
The Potters lost Peter Etebo and Cameron Carter-Vickers to first-half injuries before Luongo exploited a mistake by substitute Liam Lindsay to put Wednesday in front shortly before the interval.
Luongo was himself forced off with an apparent ankle issue early in the second period and Wednesday were thankful to Cameron Dawson for a fantastic save to deny Lee Gregory midway through the second half as they held on for victory.
Wednesday made the brighter start, with Steven Fletcher forcing Adam Federici into the first save of the evening with a tame header from Morgan Fox’s deep left-wing cross after five minutes.
Stoke were struggling to build any kind of meaningful attack, giving Dawson – who continued in place of the injured Keiren Westwood – a quiet first half.
The visitors lost Etebo in the 20th minute and Carter-Vickers followed soon after, the centre-back sustained a knock as he tried to defend a Wednesday move that culminated with Harris firing over from close range and Fletcher making an unsuccessful penalty appeal for a foul in the build-up.
Adam Reach tested Federici with a fierce low drive that the Stoke stopper had to scoop wide, but Wednesday took a deserved lead two minutes from the break.
An ill-judged attempt at a clearance from Lindsay – on for Carter-Vickers – struck Luongo on the chest, sending the Australian through one on one with Federici and he kept his cool to slot home the finish.
Joe Allen felt he should have had a penalty following a coming together with Barry Bannan as the match approached the hour mark, before Dawson produced a wonderful save low to his left to keep out a close-range header from the unmarked Gregory.
Federici then pushed a Kadeem Harris shot from just inside the box over his crossbar, and Dominic Iorfa denied substitute Scott Hogan with a wonderful tackle at the other end.
However, despite a better second-half showing, Stoke – who also saw Tom Edwards limp off before full-time – were unable find a leveller, as Wednesday held on for a win that pulls them within a point of second-placed Leeds ahead of Saturday’s clash between the sides at Hillsborough.
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