Double blow on opening day for Sheffield Wednesday

IT could hardly have been a worse start to the new campaign for Sheffield Wednesday.
Preston's Daniel Johnson beats Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood from the spot (Picture: Steve Ellis).Preston's Daniel Johnson beats Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood from the spot (Picture: Steve Ellis).
Preston's Daniel Johnson beats Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood from the spot (Picture: Steve Ellis).

Daniel Johnson’s late penalty secured Preston North End a first opening-day win since 2008 and before the game at Deepdale, Johan Djourou’s proposed move to the Owls fell through.

The 30-year-old former Arsenal defender is understood to have passed a medical after agreeing a deal, but talks then broke down and it remains to be seen whether the deal will be resurrected.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Djourou, 30, capped 67 times by Switzerland, is a free agent after leaving Hamburg at the end of last season.

Offering his thoughts on the game, Owls’ head coach Carlos Carvalhal admitted his side’s showing warranted nothing.

After play-off appearances in the last two seasons he will once again hold high hopes this season, but knows they must improve.

“We deserved to lose the game,” he said. “We were out of everything. We ran too much in the first half, but with no brain. We ran with emotion, we ran a lot, but not in good ways.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Preston won all the second balls. We had one or two chances, Preston had more than us so congratulations to them.

“We must do much better to win games in the Championship and we must analyse this game to do better in the future.

“We must talk with the players. We played too many long balls and we didn’t have control of the game with the ball.”

Johnson’s 78th-minute penalty came after Jordan Hugill was brought down by Tom Lees.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This solitary goal secured a competitive debut victory for new manager Alex Neil, taking charge for the first time following Simon Grayson’s departure to Sunderland.

A fiery and competitive start to the new season was typified by Ben Pearson’s booking for a two-footed tackle on Jordan Rhodes.

Preston almost struck after 39 minutes through new arrival from Cork, Sean Maguire, who was close to catching out Keiren Westwood at his near post.

The hosts continued to threaten after the break and the Owls were all at sea defensively, almost putting the ball into their own net after 64 minutes as the ball rolled just wide following Sam Hutchinson’s tackle.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fernando Forestieri headed harmlessly wide from Wednesday’s first chance in the 67th minute and David Jones whistled a shot over from 20 yards before former Owl Tommy Spurr hit the bar with a header for Preston after 76 minutes.

Hugill then surged into the area to earn the winning penalty.

Preston North End: Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington, Spurr, Cunningham, Pearson, Barkhuizen, Browne (Hugill 67), Johnson, Robinson, Maguire (Gallagher 74). Unused substitutes: Rudd, Vermijl, Horgan, Davies, May.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Boyd (Wallace 67), Hutchinson (Jones 70), Bannan, Reach, Forestieri, Rhodes (Hooper 57). Unused substitutes: Fox, Fletcher, Nuhiu, Wildsmith.

Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).