Lee Gregory's finish allows Sheffield Wednesday to win ugly against Bolton Wanderers

Sheffield Wednesday did not play very well against Bolton Wanderers. But Sheffield Wednesday beat Bolton Wanderers.

BLONDE AMBITION: Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson tackles former Owl Kieran Lee during his side's 1-0 win
BLONDE AMBITION: Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson tackles former Owl Kieran Lee during his side's 1-0 win

Is that a good sign or a bad sign?

The Owls are a year behind the Trotters in their rebuilding work, and the signs from their 1-0 win are that things are yet to properly gel. Manager Darren Moore looks as though he is spoilt for choice in the number of players he has at his disposal and does not know his best XI, or even his best shape.

But at least he has a finisher of the quality of Lee Gregory, and that can cover up a multitude of sins.

Once in each half, his team-mates delivered excellent balls for him to run onto. His header from the first, a gorgeous Barry Bannan delivery, was tipped over by Joel Dixon but there was no stopping him when Jack Hunt laid a chance on a plate for him after 67 minutes.

The least said about what went on before and after, the better.

It was far from a classic display but where there were a handful of boos at the half-time whistle, there were only cheers when David Rock sent everybody home for the afternoon. A decent side in good form had been beaten. Somehow.

Given that Bolton had named the same team which had beaten Shrewsbury Town the previous weekend, and Wednesday had not just made six personnel changes from their last League One side, but switched to three at the back for the first time this season, it was no great shock that the Trotters started the better.

Former Bradford City striker Eoin Doyle came close to putting them ahead in the opening minutes, but was unable to get on the end of a cross from the returning Elias Kachunga.

If Kachunga was causing his old teams problems down the left, Oladapo Afolayan was doing the same on the left, where he showed more of a hunger to come inside. He hit the side netting in the eighth minute, and had two shots in the 13th, putting his second effort wide after the first was blocked. He also put a free-kick into the defensive wall.

Things were just not clicking by the hosts, as shown in the 18th minute when Gregory did well to take the ball around Dixon with his head in the 16th minute, but by the time he pulled it back, it had already crossed the byline.

It took left wing-back Jaden Brown popping up in the D in the 20th minute to give the 23,692-strong and quite young home crowd its first moment of hope, but his shot went wide a millisecond before he was tackled.

Right-sided centre-back Liam Palmer did well to put himself in the way of a Doyle shot on the turn just after the half-hour.

Moore clearly wants his team to play in the right way, but it can be frustrating when the players are not up to it and this is, after all, a League One team.

Palmer and Dominic Iorfa each galloped out of the back three but it came to nothing more than a booking for the latter. There were jeers as Lewis Gibson, on his league debut, exchanged passes with Brown in their own half in the 39th minute.

There were at least a couple of moments of encouragement as the half reached a close, Gregory's header, then Saido Berahino's persistence winning the ball from Richard Santos. With Gregory square, he hit the side netting from a tight angle.

It was not enough to spare the Owls from a few boos as the half-time whistle blew shortly after Declan John put a free-kick narrowly wide.

Moore had a half-time rethink, changing shape to 4-2-3-1 at the break.

Playing because Bailey Peacock-Farrell was on international duty, Joe Wildsmith started the second half with a good point-blank save from Doyle.

Dominic Iorfa made two brilliant tackles - one on Sarcevic, the other on Afolayan - but it shouwed the change of shape had not changed the match as much as Moore hoped.

Callum Paterson made space for himself and shot over in the 64th but you could hardly say that what was coming over the horizon was on its way.

Once Gregory found the net, Wednesday sank into a 5-2-3 to sit on their lead. It was a game of few chances from that point, but the nerves on the terraces persisted right until the final whistle.

It was far from pretty but it was at least job done.

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith; Palmer, Iorfa, Gibson (Adeniran 46); Hunt, Hutchinson (Dunkley 46), Bannan, Brown (Shodipo 73); Paterson; Berahino, Gregory.

Unused substitutes: Wing, Corbeanu, Kamberi, Render.

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon; Jones, Santos, Johnston, John; Williams, Lee; Kachunga (Isgrove 73), Sarcevic (Sheehan 73), Afolayan; Doyle (Bakayoko 73).

Unused substitutes: Delfouneso Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon.

Referee: D Rock (Hertfordshire).