FIVE changes did the trick as Sheffield Wednesday climbed above Aston Villa to 10th in the Championship table.
Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay, who made the changes, said: “I am very proud of my team after the defeat at Nottingham Forest in midweek.
“To play at Villa Park against a very good team... I think it was our best away performance since I have been at Sheffield Wednesday.
“We had a lot of good chances and made a very good first goal, but after Villa quickly equalised we had to keep a good feeling to score a second goal.
“It was a fantastic win and I feel good. After this win we can move forward even further. What impressed me was the team spirit. It was our third game in seven days and the players showed great character.
“On the ball we played really well and this is the way I want Wednesday to play. To win at Villa Park against such a big club made me so happy.”
It was a fantastic win and I feel good. After this win we can move forward even further. What impressed me was the team spirit. It was our third game in seven days and the players showed great character.Jos Luhukay
Goals from Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher condemned Villa to their first Championship home defeat of the season as their lack of cutting edge was exposed.
The Owls took the lead when Matias buried his 49th-minute, 18-yard shot into the bottom corner. John McGinn levelled five minutes later with his first goal for Villa, a spectacular 20-yard shot on the volley, but the Owls won it with Steven Fletcher’s 66th-minute goal – his second goal in successive games.
Both strikers were denied before Fletcher headed over a cross from Adam Reach and, after Daniel Pudil had cleared off the line from Conor Hourihane, Fletcher was again foiled, this time by Alan Hutton, before finally hitting the target with a bullet header from Joey Pelupessy’s delivery.
Wednesday had been the better side in the first half and a spectacular overhead kick from Fletcher flew narrowly wide, but there were few chances at either end in that opening period.
Villa manager Steve Bruce was left to state: “That was only my fifth home defeat in 100 games with Villa, and twice against Sheffield Wednesday. We found it very difficult against a very resilient and organised Sheffield side, who played five at the back and four in front of them. The crowd was terrific, but I understand there are some I can never win over.”
Aston Villa: Nyland, Elmohamady, Chester, Jedinak, Hutton, Adomah (Bolasie 68), Hourihane, McGinn, Grealish, Kodjia (El Ghazi 78), Abraham. Unused substitutes: Tuanzebe, Whelan, Bree, Bjarnason, Bunn.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Lees, Hector, Pudil, Baker, Pelupessy, Bannan, Penney, Reach, Fletcher (Nuhiu 78), Marco Matias (Lucas Joao 84). Unused substitutes: Fox, Onomah, Wildsmith, Kirby, Preston.
Referee: D Webb (County Durham).