Sheffield Wednesday 5 Burton 2: Bannan inspires Owls to five-star display

Sheffield Wednesday could have been embarrassed by a bout of Brewers’ droop last night but in the end it just served as a useful reminder of the need to keep going as a 5-2 win kept the bandwagon rolling at Hillsborough.

With half an hour gone it all looked very easy against Burton Albion.

Too easy. The typically outstanding Barry Bannan’s first goal of the night put Wednesday 2-0 up and in control, the atmosphere pancake flat thanks to the lack of jeopardy from some lightweight visitors.

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Then, to the stunned reaction of everyone, former Sheffield United midfielder Adlene Guedioura’s long-range shot took a deflection which beat Bailey Peacock-Farrell too easily.

Owls' Liam Palmer celebrates his goal. Picture: Steve Ellis

Suddenly the hosts looked hesitant, verging on nervous, against limited opponents, summed up when Marvin Johnson unwisely headed the ball across his own area and it seemed to take an eternity before anyone took control of the situation.

Before the Owls could shake themselves back into life it was 2-2 – another player let go by a Yorkshire club, former Huddersfield Town and Hull City striker Oumar Niasse, bobbling the ball into the net.

Manager Darren Moore tried a substitution and a tactical rejig to reset his slightly odd starting selection but all it really needed was Callum Paterson’s brute force.

You can play with all the beauty of Bannan and Johnson, but sometimes in League One you need a battering-ram striker bundling in a far post corner.

Callum Paterson nets the third Owls goal. Picture: Steve Ellis

Paterson’s third goal in as many games, with 67 minutes gone, averted the calamity casualness threatened.

As it turned out, with three more points nudging the Owls up to fifth and Dominic Iorfa making his return from injury late on, it was a good night for them but to go by just that and the scoreline, you would have no idea how unnecessarily uncomfortable the Owls made it for their supporters for nearly 25 minutes.

No matter, no harm done.

It had all been so different in the first 30 minutes.

Bannan’s deflected shot hit the crossbar after just nine minutes and Jordan Storey headed over when the ball finally came in from the corner.

A midfield with Jack Hunt in its centre as Moore played games with his team-sheet by keeping Sam Hutchinson in the middle of the back three was controlling the game comfortably.

The best moment of the match was Johnson’s beautiful curling 13th-minute cross. Paterson not quite being able to stretch to it was a huge disappointment but Liam Palmer arriving at the back post from right wing-back to tap in more than made up for it.

It was the third game running Johnson had created a goal, and only the third league strike of Palmer’s career.

When the ball came to Bannan in the 29th minute he thought about volleying but took a touch and pinged the ball in off the post.

We awaited a comfortable win.

Somebody forgot to tell full debutant Guedioura, an emergency Blades signing in September released once Slavisa Jokanovic moved on. So when Niasse, recently back in gainful employment after being released by the Terriers, squeezed between Hunt and Storey and bobbled the ball into the net nine minutes into the second half, it was game unexpectedly on.

Maybe it was the kick the Owls needed, prompting Moore to put Hutchinson, Palmer and Hunt into the positions we expected them to start in (central midfield, centre-back and wing-back), and Lewis Gibson to take matters into his own hands, driving forward and shooting just wide.

Paterson’s goal restored sanity but Bannan knew it was not enough, whipping up the crowd then whipping in a corner cleared only to the edge of the area for Johnson to thump in.

Bannan added a wonderful curling fifth.

It was a night to make you wonder what all the fuss had been about, but a warning too not to switch off.

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Storey, Hutchinson, Gibson (Iorfa 84); Palmer, Hunt, Bannan, Luongo (Brennan 89), Johnson; Sow (Berahino 61), Paterson. Unused substitutes: Wildsmith, Brown, Waldock, Kamberi.

Burton Albion: Garratt; Hamer, Hughes, Brayford, Borthwick-Jackson; Guedioura (Lakin 85), Oshilaja, Powell, Kokolo; Ahadme (Smith 79), Niasse (85). Unused substitutes: Kovar, Chapman, Shaughnessy, Mancienne.

Referee: S Barrott (West Yorkshire).