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Report: Blues 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Blues’ unbeaten start to the 2020/21 Championship campaign was brought to an end by Sheffield Wednesday at the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The only goal of the game was scored by Owls midfielder Barry Bannan from the penalty spot minutes into the second-half.

Although the penalty awarded was arguably a soft one, Blues could have no real complaints about the result.

Aitor Karanka made three changes to the Blues side that drew with Stoke City ahead of the international break.

Lukas Jutkiewicz was missing because he was feeling unwell, whilst Ivan Sunjic was dropped to the bench. Jon Toral was absent from the matchday 18. Scott Hogan, Gary Gardner and Dan Crowley began in their places.

Meanwhile, Mikel San Jose, Riley McGree and Jonathan Leko were all named in their first matchday squads, although the trio started the match on the bench.

Wednesday made the early running and were only prevented from taking a seventh minute lead by a superb Neil Etheridge save.

Blues lost the ball in midfield and Bannan found space before laying it off to Reach who let fly with a stinging left-footed effort from the edge of the box, but Etheridge was equal to it and tipped the ball behind at full stretch.

Blues’ first sight on goal came just before the quarter-hour mark, but Jeremie Bela failed to get a decent connection on his shot and it was comfortably saved by Dawson.

Wednesday were inches away from opening their account after being awarded a free-kick some 25 yards in front of the Blues goal. Windass stepped up and let fly with a neat curling free-kick which evaded Etheridge and cannoned back off the post.

The visitors were continuing to dominate, and Paterson flashed a header just wide of the post from close range after meeting Odubajo’s cross from the right.

Reach then had a golden opportunity to score for The Owls from just 10 yards, but instead he blasted the ball over Etheridge’s bar.

Half-time: Blues 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Wednesday began the second-half as they had ended the first, in the ascendancy.

And less than two minutes in Etheridge was called into action to deny Bannan, who tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the area.

But the Blues stopper was unable to prevent the same Wednesday player from scoring from the spot minutes later.

A seemingly innocuous coming together between Adam Clayton and Paterson in the Blues area, resulted in referee Graham Scott pointing directly to the spot.

Bannan stepped up and made no mistake as he slotted the ball into the far corner despite Etheridge diving the right way.

Blues made their first change of the afternoon just ahead of the hour mark when Australian midfielder Riley McGree was sent on in place of Dan Crowley.

Then less than 10 minutes later, Leko joined the action as a replacement for Bela.

Blues were beginning to enjoy their best spell of possession in the game but were struggling to find a way through a well-marshalled Wednesday midfield.

But when they did get through, Sanchez was upended just a yard outside the Wednesday box.

Sanchez stepped up and took the free-kick himself but it was deflected behind for a corner.

With just eight minutes of normal time remaining Blues created their best chance of the match so far after winning a free-kick to the left-hand side of the Wednesday box.

Sanchez curled the ball in and George Friend met it first, the ball flicked off his head and flew just wide of the upright.

With the game rapidly heading towards the final minutes, Leko was denied form just eight yards when his goalbound effort was deflected behind for a corner.

And then almost immediately Friend smashed a shot over the bar, before Clayton did similar.

On 89, Wednesday sub Marriott had the opportunity to put the game beyond doubt, but he dragged his shot just wide of Etheridge's far post.

But Blues were not yet out if it and could have equalised a minute later, but Hogan volleyed his shot at Dawson from just eight yards.

Deep into stoppage time Hogan diverted the ball into the visitors’ net, but his effort was ruled to be offside.

Blues: Etheridge, Colin, Friend, Dean, Pedersen, Clayton, Gardner (Roberts, 82), Crowley (McGree, 58) , Bela (Leko, 67), Sanchez, Hogan.

Subs not used: Prieto, Dacres-Cogley, Sunjic, San Jose.

Bookings: Gardner (66).

Goals: None.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Van Aken, Paterson (Pelupessy, 90+1), Flint, Harris, Bannan, Reach, Windass (Marriott, 77), Luongo, Odubajo, Kachunga (Dele-Bashiru, 84).

Subs not used: Wildsmith, Borner, Penney, Rhodes.

Bookings: Kachunga (74).

Goals: Bannan (49, pen).

Referee: Graham Scott.

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