Sheffield Wednesday 2 Sunderland 0: ‘Fantastic performance’ hails returning Dennis Adeniran

Dennis Adeniran reminded Sheffield Wednesday supporters what they have been missing with a starring role to knock Sunderland out of the League Cup.

The 23-year-old former Everton midfielder was making his first appearance since January, due to injuries.

And he celebrated his return with a stunning 30-yard opener, before setting up substitute Sylla Sow to secure a second-round tie at home to Rochdale.

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The last time these two sides met was back in May when the Black Cats beat the Owls in a two-legged play-off semi-final, before going on to Wembley and clinch promotion to the Championship.

Wednesday's Dennis Adeniran scores his first-half goal.    Picture: Steve EllisWednesday's Dennis Adeniran scores his first-half goal.    Picture: Steve Ellis
Wednesday's Dennis Adeniran scores his first-half goal. Picture: Steve Ellis

A crowd of 32,978 packed into Hillsborough then to see Patrick Roberts’s stoppage-time goal cancel out Lee Gregory’s opener, and claim a 2-1 aggregate win.

The prize in Wednesday night’s game was obviously not in the same bracket, with a crowd of just 8,412, but it was a comfortable evening for Darren Moore’s team.

“It was a fantastic performance from us,” said Adeniran. “It was a bit sour after losing in the play-offs last year, so just happy to be through to the next round.

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“It’s been difficult for me, having so many injuries last season. I have just got my head down and tried to remind the fans what I can do.

Owls' Sylla Sow celebrates his goal with Callum Paterson.    Picture: Steve EllisOwls' Sylla Sow celebrates his goal with Callum Paterson.    Picture: Steve Ellis
Owls' Sylla Sow celebrates his goal with Callum Paterson. Picture: Steve Ellis

“ I am just happy I can be there for the team, get a goal and an assist.”

The Owls made eight changes to their starting XI, Liam Palmer, Ben Heneghan and Callum Paterson the only players from the team which beat MK Dons at the weekend.

Cameron Dawson started in goal – his first Owls outing since October 2020 – while there were full debuts for Reece James and Tyreeq Bakinson.

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Sunderland went even further, making 11 changes, and maybe it was the lack of on-field chemistry – combined with the warm weather – but it was a pedestrian opening 45 minutes, with quality at a premium.

In fact, the only moment of note before Adeniran’s wonder strike after 15 minutes was an early booking for Sunderland’s Carl Winchester, for a mistimed tackle on Jaden Brown.

But when right wing-back Liam Palmer showed some urgency, breaking ranks to power down the flank, it helped break the deadlock.

Palmer’s first cross failed to hurt the visitors, but his second effort was only cleared to the feet of Adeniran.

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The former Fulham youngster – who joined the Owls last summer – shrugged off his marker, before smashing an unstoppable 30-yard effort into Alex Bass’s top right-hand corner.

The goal pepped the Owls up, and they nearly doubled their advantage five minutes late.

A clever corner routine was played short, and Gregory – last season’s top scorer – was only thwarted by a late block.

Defender Ben Heneghan – a summer recruit who has impressed since arriving in Sheffield – then headed wide, when he found himself unmarked at the far post.

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Sunderland, who have made an impressive start to life in the Championship, struggled for fluency. Jack Diamond, who spent time on loan at Harrogate, was the pick of the bunch, and he came closest to an equaliser but drilled his shot wide of Dawson’s goal.

Luke O’Nien headed tamely at Dawson, but Wednesday were forced into a change before half-time when Gregory limped off to be replaced by Sow.

The hosts took out the insurance of a second goal on 55 minutes, and again Adeniran was key.

He chased down a loose pass from visiting goalkeeper Bass, before delivering the perfect cross to pick out the unmarked Sow arriving at the far post.

Moore said: “I thought the boys did their jobs.

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“It was an excellent well-taken goal by Dennis, a great left-foot strike.

“It’s great to have him back and you can see what he brings to the team, in and around the opposition area.”

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Iorfa, Heneghan (Ihiekwe 45), James (Johnson 81); Palmer, Byers, Bakinson, Adeniran (Hunt 81), Brown; Paterson (Cook 71), Gregory (Sow 44). Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Bannan, Dele-Bashiru, Vaulks.

Sunderland: Bass, Winchester, Wright, Alese, Hume, Matete, O’Nien, Sohna, Embleton (Spellman 80), Roberts (Kelly 84), Diamond. Unused substitutes: Patterson, Cirkin, Batth, Simms, Gooch, Clarke, Neil.

Referee: T Reeves (England).

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