Sheffield Wednesday gave their disgruntled fans something to cheer about as Ike Ugbo’s double earned a 2-0 Championship win over Birmingham at Hillsborough.
Thousands of home supporters held up posters protesting against owner Dejphon Chansiri before kick-off but their angst was soon forgotten after Ugbo’s first two goals for the club gave the Owls a first league win since New Year’s Day.
Ugbo, a former Chelsea youngster who joined on loan from French club Troyes in the January transfer window, opened his account in the 15th minute and then added a crucial second after the break.
The victory goes some way to repairing the damage of last week’s 4-0 hammering at Huddersfield, cutting second-bottom Wednesday’s gap to safety to five points ahead of the weekend fixtures.
Birmingham bossed large parts of the game but failed to take their chances and – now just six points better off – will be one of the teams the Owls are eyeing to catch.
“Out of touch, out of time, Dejphon Chansiri, sell up and just go” was Wednesday fans’ message at the start and they had to watch their side weather some early pressure as the visitors forged two good chances.
In the seventh minute, Juninho Bacuna blazed an effort over after good work from Jordan James on the left and soon after, Lee Buchanan forced Owls goalkeeper James Beadle into a good stretching save.
And less than a minute later, Wednesday took the lead as they went straight up the other end and scored.
They worked the ball out to the right where Ian Poveda danced into the area and cut it back to Ugbo, who fired home from six yards out to open his Wednesday account.
That goal did not alter the flow of the game as Birmingham continued to dominate and Beadle had to be alert to get down to Andre Dozell’s low shot.
Wednesday had their moments and missed a great chance to double their lead in the 43rd minute but Ugbo shot wide when being slipped through by Ian Poveda.
Blues then had two chances to level before the break as Scott Hogan flashed just wide, while Beadle made another fine save to claw away Siriki Dembele’s deflected effort.
The hosts started the second half well and Ugbo might have doubled the lead as he was not penalised for coming back from an offside position but saw his shot blocked by Neil Etheridge.
The 25-year-old could not miss his next chance though as Marvin Johnson stood up a teasing cross to the far post which Ugbo nodded in.
Birmingham huffed and puffed in search of a response, with Jay Stansfield whistling an effort past the post and Paik Seung-Ho denied by another Beadle save as the hosts held on for maximum points and the clean sheet.
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