Sheffield Wednesday did their hopes of a playoff place no harm whatsoever with a 2-1 win over Newcastle at Hillsborough in the late kick off today, in turn putting a big dint in the Mags chances of the Championship title and a stress free run in to promotion.
A win for Brighton on Friday night against QPR had put them clear of Newcastle by two points, but the 3pm kick-offs brought good news with both Huddersfield and Reading losing, the latter being thumped 7-1 at Norwich.
STARTING: Darlow, Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett, Shelvey, Diame (Atsu, 72), Ritchie (Mitrovic, 78), Perez, Gouffran, Gayle (Murphy, 29)
Rafa stuck with pretty much the same side that had scraped past Wigan last time out, with Gouffran coming in for Atsu in the only change.
Newcastle were, once more, far from their best as Sheffield missed a host of early chances to punish the visitors lacklustre start.
First Gary Hooper would smash wide when found totally unmarked from a cross, before villain for the day Steven Fletcher was also found wanting in front of goal minutes later.
Newcastle’s best chance in the first half would come from an outrageous shot from Shelvey who’s hit from inside his own half would hit the bar with the Owls keeper scrambling back to his line. The effort, as wonderful as it almost was, would have been harsh on the home side who’d bossed the game from the first whistle.
Indeed it wouldn’t be until Wednesday had scored twice that the black and whites would seem to be shaken into action.
And Rafa would also be left fuming not just at the performance but the defending for both the home sides goals, made worse by yet another injury to Gayle who hobbled off after less than half an hour.
Both Wednesday goals would come from high balls into the box. The first, from Lees, would see him surrounded by 4 players in black and white and still managed to get a head to the ball unhindered. The second would see Fletcher head home, again unchallenged after a long throw. Just not good enough.
Newcastle now shaken into action, and with a couple of offensive substitutions to force the play, did manage to get one back through Shelvey who would slam home on 88 minutes after a scramble in the box.
The goals would be too little and too late for Rafa’s men to escape with anything from the game. In his press conference after the game the boss was clearly not happy with his men and they will need to be much stronger against Leeds on Friday night if they want to get anything out of that game.
A night to forget!