Sheffield Wednesday 2 Brentford 0: Fletcher's goals push Owls towards play-offs

Fernando Forestieri
Fernando Forestieri
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Steven Fletcher netted twice to give Sheffield Wednesday victory against Brentford at Hillsborough in the Championship.

The Scotland international netted either side of half-time to complete a comfortable Owls win, and push the hosts to within six points of the play-offs with a dozen games remaining.

Striker Fernando Forestieri missed the 3-1 win over Swansea City at the weekend, as he served a one-game ban, but returned tonight in place of Lucas Joao.

It was the only change by Steve Bruce, who was looking to extend his unbeaten run since arriving as Owls manager on February 1.

The Owls had actually not lost since the 3-0 defeat at Hull City, on January 12, a six-match unbeaten league run.

And it was Forestieri who had the first shot of the evening, failing to keep it down, as the ball sailed wide of Daniel Bentley's far post.

Brentford - who lost Kamohelo Mokotjo to injury in the warm-up - came in fresh from beating Hull City 5-1 at the weekend.

Steven Fletcher poked the ball the wrong side of the post, after Barry Bannan's curling free-kick evaded the Bees defence, before Rolando Aarons - the on-loan Newcastle United winger - fizzed a shot wide.

Tom Lees was the next to spurn a good chance for the Owls, heading over at the near post on 18 minutes after a corner from Achraf Lazaar - like Aarons, the left-back on loan from St James' Park until the summer.

At the other end, Michael Hector headed behind a dangerous cross from Henrik Dalsgaard.

But it was Wednesday who posed the greater threat going forward, and Bentley had to be at full stretch to claw away a fierce drive from Fletcher.

The hosts were forced to make a change before half-time, Lazaar limping off to be replaced by Dominic Iorfa.

Wednesday took the lead on 41 minutes. Moments after Fletcher's overhead kick was saved by Bentley, the Scotland striker raced away after Bannan's pass split open Brentford's defence, and drilled the ball into the back of the net for his seventh goal of the season.

The 31-year-old forward had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time, but fired wide after a burst down the right flank from Adam Reach.

The latter was close to adding a second at the start of the second half, latching on to good work from Aarons, before side-footing his shot inches wide of Bentley's right-hand post.

But Fletcher did make it 2-0 on 48 minutes. Sam Hutchinson won the ball back in the centre of the field, before Reach picked out Fletcher at the back post who headed the ball back across Bentley.

Bentley had to race out to deny the pacy Aarons, as the Owls continued to threaten going forward.

With one eye on next week's Sheffield derby, Hutchinson - on a yellow card since the 14th minute - and Forestieri were replaced by Joey Pelupessy and George Boyd.

The visitors had a couple of late efforts, from substitute Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay, but neither could beat Keiren Westwood.