Fernando Forestieri shines for Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday delighted their fans with an impressive 3-0 win over Birmingham City at Hillsborough.
A goal in either half for Fernando Forestieri and one from Kieran Lee gave the Owls a deserved win over their promotion chasing rivals on Boxing Day.
The home side started the brighter, with Atdhe Nuhiu setting up promising moves by winning headers before laying the ball off to the onrushing Forestieri and Gary Hooper.
Birmingham struggled to get into the game early on, but a mistake at the back from Wednesday allowed James Vaughan to get a shot away. His drilled effort was blocked and from the resulting corner, Blues skipper Michael Morrison headed wide.
The Owls thought they had taken the lead when Hooper tapped in from close range but the referee assistant's flag immediately went up, curtailing the celebrations.
In a well-worked move, Hooper burst free to the right side of the box before squaring the ball to Nuhiu. He returned the ball to Hooper for a simple tap-in but the striker was ruled offside.
The home side did eventually take a deserved lead after a goalmouth scramble which saw numerous players have the opportunity to score.
First, Ross Wallace played a reverse pass to Jack Hunt who couldn't direct the ball goalwards. The away side also failed to clear efforts from Nuhiu before Forestieri (37) eventually scrambled the ball off the post and over the line.
Almost immediately after the restart the Owls had their second. Capitalising on more poor Birmingham defending, Lee (39) made it two in as many minutes for Wednesday. After Jonathan Spector's clearance rebounded off his own team-mate, the ball fell to Lee who calmly finished past the helpless Tomasz Kuszczak in the Blues goal.
Forestieri (49) netted Wednesday's third with a moment of individual magic. After surviving a scare at the other end, Wednesday broke in numbers and a quick pass set Forestieri free on the left wing. He carried the ball half the length of the field before cutting inside onto his right foot and curling a shot beyond the outstretched Kuszczak and into the top corner.
The away side were also denied a goal by an offside flag. Jacques Maghoma's deflected shot fell to Jon Toral who put the ball away, but he was ruled to be offside.
Jonathan Grounds and substitute Andrew Shinnie were both denied consolation goals due to top saves from Joe Wildsmith, who was playing in place of the injured Keiren Westwood.
Wednesday managed the game for the remaining 20 minutes, ensuring the three points stayed in Sheffield. The Owls move three points clear of Birmingham and just behind Ipswich, who currently hold the last play-off spot.