Sheffield Wednesday resurgent form gathered more pace on Boxing Day as the Owls won at Bolton to make it 3 wins in succession.
Dave Jones made some interesting changes to the team that had beaten Charlton last time out. Strike pair Gary Madine and Chris O’Grady dropped down to the bench, Mamady Sidibe started up front with Michail Antonio playing just off the big Stoke loanee. Kieran Lee took Antonio’s place out wide.
The changes paid dividends as the visitors controlled possession for much of the first half and on 25 minutes they took the lead when Sidibe scored his first goal for the Owls with an excellent header from Buxton’s accurate cross.
Antonio was a constant threat and might have found himself on the score sheet had he shown a little more composure or made the right decision on a couple of occasions and the combination of Buxton and Lee down the Wednesday right continued to cause Bolton problems.
The home fans vented their frustrations at half-time as Wanderers struggled to get a foothold in the game.
The Reebok Stadium faithful found some encouragement in Bolton’s start to the 2nd half but despite enjoying more of the ball than they had done in the 1st half they could not break Wednesday down and apply any concerted pressure.
Kirkland had to be alert to deny Afobe with a point blank save from his close range header 20 minutes from time but that was as good as it got for Bolton as Wednesday took maximum points back to South Yorkshire.
3 straight wins has moved the Owls out of the bottom 3 but it hasn’t pulled them away from trouble. Peterborough have also been in fine form recently and they moved off the bottom with a comprehensive win at Wolves. Mick McCarthy appears to be turning around the fortunes of Ipswich who won at Charlton and Birmingham put something breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone by winning at fellow strugglers Barnsley.
Wednesday’s next fixture is an early kick-off at Yorkshire rivals at Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The Owls are 1 place and 2 points above the relegation zone, 3 pints behind Ipswich and 5 behind Blackburn, Bolton, Birmingham and Charlton.