Early signs promising as Sheffield Wednesday keep it clean again to deny Rotherham United in derby duel

Bailey Peacock-Farrell rated his derby penalty save in his ‘top three’ after emerging the hero in the South Yorkshire derby.

BIG MOMENT: Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell saves a penalty kick from Rotherham's Kieran Sadlier just before half time. Picture: Steve Ellis
BIG MOMENT: Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell saves a penalty kick from Rotherham's Kieran Sadlier just before half time. Picture: Steve Ellis

Well, if he has produced two better saves than the 45th-minute block to deny Rotherham United substitute Kieran Sadlier, then they must have been stunners.

Sadlier smashed his spot-kick, but Peacock-Farrell – the Northern Ireland international on loan at Sheffield Wednesday from Burnley – guessed correctly, diving to his right and tipping the ball away to safety.

It was a game-changing moment, as the Owls – under the cosh for the majority of the first-half – emerged after the break, with goals from Florian Kamberi and Lee Gregory securing victory to send Darren Moore’s top of the League One table.

Barry Bannan and Dominic Iorfa lead the Sheffield Wednesday team celebrations after their 2-0 win at the New York Stadium over hosts' Rotherham United. Picture: Steve Ellis

“It was not bad (save),” said Peacock-Farrell, rather modestly. “I am happy about that one.

“It’s up there with my best penalty saves. When you take into account how the game was, I think it’s top three for sure.

“They score and it’s a different game, away from home and with the hostility of the fans here.

“It’s a good rush. It’s probably the closest you can get in terms of that adrenaline which a striker gets when they score a goal.

Sheffield Wednesday's Florian Kamberi celebrates his goal against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium. Picture: Steve Ellis

“That’s probably my equivalent. They don’t come around too often. You could see the emotion with myself and the lads, what it meant to us to keep that clean sheet.

“It was struck well, it was a big moment. Away from home, if that goes in it’s a different match altogether. I did my job, and it gave the lads something to go and nick a goal, like we did.

“If you were him (Sadlier) you probably feel a little bit hard-done by. He has done everything right, but I won that battle today.”

Peacock-Farrell has yet to concede a goal in Wednesday colours – the Owls have started the season with five clean sheets, following relegation from the Championship.

BIG SAVE: Sheffield Wednesday penalty hero Bailey Peacock-Farrell. Picture: Steve Ellis

Moore has totally revamped the Owls squad – 13 new players arrived in the summer, including Peacock-Farrell – and they are improving with every game.

“I see the clean sheets as a positive,” said Peacock-Farrell. “When people see that we have not conceded again, that sets a tone for the league.

“It shows how solid we are and teams know it will be difficult to score against us.

“You build upon that, and it becomes maybe a bit of a fear for teams who are going to play against us, that they won’t get many chances. It’s probably a good, little psychological edge.

“It’s amazing (to win), it’s a big statement. The atmosphere was really good, you can’t ask for more than that. Our set of fans are incredible.

“If you look at our first game compared to now we are improving, we are only going to make forward steps.

“Collectively as a team we are confident. Today we had a couple of changes in personnel, they have stepped in and done the job. That shows the strength in the squad we have, no matter who starts they are doing the job.”

Rotherham – who did a league double over their South Yorkshire neighbours last season – looked the better team in the first half, but could not deliver the goals their approach play deserved with Josh Kayode, Michael Smith and Sadlier all failing to find the target.

The latter was a first-half replacement for Chiedozie Ogbene, the pacy Millers winger who limped off with a hamstring issue, much to the relief of Owls left-back Liam Palmer.

Rotherham were awarded the penalty at the end of the first-half after Callum Paterson chased back and Kayode went down under his challenge.

But Peacock-Farrell’s save visibly lifted the visitors and they took the lead four minutes after the break.

Australian midfielder Massimo Luongo – one of five Owls changes from the midweek win over Fleetwood Town – slid in Paterson down the right wing, and his cross picked out the unmarked Kamberi for his first goal in Wednesday colours.

Sadlier saw his shot fizz the wrong side of the post, before Owls captain Barry Bannan played in Gregory on 67 minutes, but the substitute was thwarted one-on-one by Millers goalkeeper Viktor Johansson.

Wednesday’s second is one Johansson will want to quickly forget, as he failed to collect Dennis Adeniran’s tame low shot, and Gregory nipped in to slot the ball into an unguarded goal.

“Being a big club in this league you have to be able to handle the expectations,” said former Leeds United stopper Peacock-Farrell, 24.

“We are doing so at this moment, but you can’t get carried away, it’s still early days.”

Rotherham United: Johansson, Ihiekwe, Wood, Harding, Lindsay, Ogbene (Sadlier 25), Rathbone (Barlaser 73), Wiles, Ferguson, Smith, Kayode (Ladapo 64). Unused substitutes: Mattock, Miller, Edmonds-Green, Vickers.

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell, Hunt, Iorfa, Dunkley, Palmer, Bannan, Wing (Adeniran 59), Luongo, Brown, Paterson, Kamberi (Gregory 59). Unused substitutes: Byers, Dele-Bashiru, Johnson, Corbeanu, Wildsmith.

Referee: M Edwards (Durham).