Agnew lauds match-winner Fletcher as Wednesday get back to winning ways

Sheffield Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher earned the praise of both managers after firing the Owls to victory over Wigan with a superb winner at Hillsborough.

The Scotland international drilled home from 25 yards in the 62nd minute to earn Wednesday their first win in four Championship matches.

Fletcher’s fine finish was not his only contribution to the triumph, with Wednesday’s caretaker manager Steve Agnew claiming the Wigan centre-backs would not have had a much tougher 90 minutes all season.

Wigan boss Paul Cook also acknowledged Fletcher’s ability following a defeat which left his side just six points above the relegation zone.

Agnew said: “I thought in the second half we took the game to them. Fletcher got a well-deserved goal – he was a handful all afternoon.

“The combination play between Adam Reach and Barry Bannan, to get the ball to Fletch, started a terrific move and finished off nicely by Fletch.

“I spoke to him yesterday –  it’s almost his third game in a week – and I said, ‘How do you feel?’ He said, ‘I feel great’. There were no knocks, no tightness and that’s how he performed.

“He looked fresh, he looked lively, he won almost every header and he deserved his goal.

“If you ask their two centre-backs, that was probably one of the hardest games they’ve played this season.”

Wednesday dominated the majority of the contest with Marco Matias testing visiting goalkeeper Jamie Jones early on.

Bannan then threaded the ball to Fletcher and on the turn the former Wolves and Sunderland forward forced another good save from Jones, who dived low to his right to turn the ball behind.

The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour when Fletcher picked up the ball just inside Wigan’s half, advanced and, as the Latics defence failed to close him down, crashed a shot into the bottom corner.

In the dying minutes, Owls looked to double their advantage but Jones produced further saves to deny George Boyd and substitute Atdhe Nuhiu.

Agnew added: “I enjoyed the game. I thought from the start we were on the front foot and we created chances.

“Reach got through – I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not – and Fletcher overran one just before half-time.

“If I have a criticism, I would’ve liked to see a second goal but we’ll take the three points.”

Wigan came into the game on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over Aston Villa but they failed to reach those heights at Hillsborough and manger Cook conceded Wednesday were deserved winners in the end.

He said: “I think disappointing would be a fair reflection. I think first half we had our moments.

“To be fair, Sheffield Wednesday started the game really well and I thought we grew into the game.

“Second half, Sheffield Wednesday were comfortably the better team. They dominated the game and they created chances. We looked very limp, not anywhere near where we did last week.

“The game looked like it might be a 1-0 from an early stage. It probably wasn’t the best football spectacle in the world, it was quite stop-start.

“Sheffield Wednesday got on top second half. They created chances, they created good situations and for me they’re deserved winners. We go away very disappointed.”

Cook, whose side have won just once away from home in the league this season, added: “Great credit to the away fans who travelled across. They supported us so loyally and well, but the away form is what it is, there’s nothing we can do about that.

“We must go home, train hard and see where it goes.”

Cook also refused to point the finger at his team for failing to stop Wednesday’s match winner, saying: “Steven Fletcher is just a good player. If you look back at his career, he’s done quite well so I’m not going to be critical of my players.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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