Sheffield Wednesday 2 MK Dons 1: Josh Windass secures landmark late win for Owls

AHEAD of the game, the Christmas lights were switched on outside Hillsborough’s main entrance amid some fanfare.

Hillsborough. Picture: PA.

For eighty minutes, the main event was hardly illuminating on an occasion solely notable for Dejphon Chansiri’s first appearance at a match at S6 since March 2020.

Fortunately, by the end of it, the Owls chairman will have been on his feet alongside Wednesdayites among the 18,581 crowd following a finale which was potentially as significant as anything in the club’s season so far as his side came from behind to win for the first time since December 2019.

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It was also a night when Darren Moore’s side extended their unbeaten league sequence to nine matches and moved into the top-six for the first time this season and served notice to others.

The fun started when Lee Gregory’s 83rd minute leveller cancelled out Scott Twine’s wonderful opener and afforded the stage to substitute Josh Windass, who brought the house down with a winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

The key facet of the game on a night when Wednesday swapped places with MK Dons was that the hosts kept their wits about them and did not panic on a night which had the makings of one of those frustrating midweek evenings which have sadly become all commonplace over too many years to mention at Hillsborough.

And not just during Chansiri’s tenure either.

To their credit, Wednesday persisted and in a game where the main talking points looked likely to surround Twine’s stunning opener just after the restart and a miss from Jack Hunt which had to be seen to be believed - a Sheffield lad provided a bit of welcome order.

At a seasoned age of 33, Gregory has been around the block long enough to know that a striker’s life revolves around not getting too down at missing a chance or two.

Shortly after just failing to turn in Saido Berahino’s cross from the left, Gregory stayed alive to display cute movement and a textbook header to clinically nod home Windass’s corner.

Absent through injury until returning to the match-day squad on Saturday, Windass then fully underlined just why he will be a huge trump card for Wednesday should he stay fit when he lashed home a late winner. Momentum and mentality is growing.

Earlier, it was rather more agonizing. Possessing energy and movement on the break, MK Dons unhinged Wednesday’s backline down the sides at times in the first period and showed discernible elements as to just why they are enjoying a promising season and are up among the division's top-scorers.

The debit side was that they looked highly susceptible at the back from set-pieces, with the visitors failing to handle the aerial threat of Chey Dunkley from corners in particular.

The defender went close with three first-half headers which produced key blocks from an exposed Andrew Fisher and MK's failure to deal with him bordered on the reprehensible.

One ended when Ciaran Brennan converting the rebound from close in amid a crowded box, only for play to be pulled back for an infringement - much to the visitors’ relief.

It was an eventful night for Dunkley who saw Twine ghost past him early on following Matt O’Riley’s lofted pass, with the MK Dons forward firing over when clear.

Aside from that indiscretion, Dunkley was thankfully on-message to produce some timely clearances in a half when Liam Palmer and Brennan struggled at times.

Once or twice, Wednesday’s own defensive fallibilities from set-plays also surfaced, most notably when the unmarked Peter Kioso dragged an effort wide with plenty of the goal to aim at from Twine’s corner.

Both goals led a charmed life at times, but there was no breakthrough at the end of the opening half which wouldn't not have gone down too well with defensive coaches, with Dunkley’s display being the honourable exception.

Unfortunately, he could do little about Twine’s brilliant right-footed strike from distance which opened the scoring in sublime fashion early in the second period.

Not too long, Moore - having plainly seen enough - did not rest on his laurels and brought on Windass and Massimo Luongo.

Wednesday pushed and the tempo increased. Theo Corbeanu saw a couple of low shots saved, while Hunt headed straight at Fisher.

Hunt then produced his moment to forget when a mix-up between Warren O'Hara and Fisher presented him with an open goal, only to hit the post from a narrow angle, with salt rubbed into the wounds when no penalty was awarded straight down after Gregory went down following what looks to be a clear foul from David Kasumu.

The Owls set up camp in the MK Dons’ half, with Moore cajoling them incessantly from the sidelines. It got desperate, but by the end, it was glorious. For once.

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Brennan, Dunkley, Palmer; Byers (Luongo 54); Hunt, Bannan, Dele-Bashiru (Berahino 72), Corbeanu; Kamberi (Windass 54), Gregory. Substitutes unused: Wildsmith, Brown, Shodipo, Wing.

MK Dons: Fisher; Baldwin (Darling 77), O’Hora, Lewington; Kioso, O’Riley, Kasumu, Harvie; Boateng (McEachran 84), Watters (Eisa 72), Twine. Substitutes unused: Ravizzoli, Jules, Brown, Ilunga.

Referee: R Madley (West Yorkshire).