Steven Fletcher earns Sheffield Wednesday narrow win at Blackburn
A solitary Steven Fletcher strike helped Sheffield Wednesday overcome Blackburn at Ewood Park in the Sky Bet Championship.
In a tightly-contested encounter, Fletcher scored what proved the winner in the 22nd minute with a classy half volley for his third goal of the season.
It was the type of moment that can make the difference to a promotion push in such a tight division and displays the spending power Wednesday have to fulfil that ambition.
They were made to work hard by a resurgent Blackburn, who should have had a goal of their own in the first half through Marvin Emnes, but the visitors just about deserved the three points to record their first away win of the campaign.
Blackburn are now winless in four at Ewood against these opponents.
Home boss Owen Coyle named an unchanged side for the third consecutive league game while Owls counterpart Carlos Carvalhal recalled former Rovers loanee David Jones for Ross Wallace in one of three alterations.
After a quiet opening period, the game sprang to life in the 20th minute as Ben Marshall approached the box unchallenged and unleashed a drive that was heading for the corner but Keiren Westwood tipped behind.
It was crucial as his side took the lead two minutes later when Barry Bannan fed Fletcher, who set himself up for a crisp 25-yard half volley that flew into the right corner of Jason Steele's goal via a slight deflection.
He then showed great improvisation on the half hour with a superb controlling touch to get a sight of goal but then curled wide from 30 yards.
Rovers were well in the game and Sam Gallagher's header from Jason Lowe's cross found the roof of the net but Wednesday then went agonisingly close to a second when Bannan's wickedly-curling shot from 30 yards clipped the left-hand post.
Despite that, Blackburn should have equalised just before the break when Wednesday failed to deal with a Craig Conway cross and the ball fell to Emnes but the in-form striker inexplicably scuffed his volley eight yards out and Westwood easily dealt with it.
The chances didn't flow freely in the second half, though a mix-up between Danny Graham and Conway at one end led to a Wednesday counter which saw Will Buckley fire just wide from an acute angle midway through the half.
Rovers pushed desperately for the breakthrough but were almost caught cold 11 minutes from time when Bannan threaded through to Kieran Lee who stabbed towards goal but found Steele in his way.
Emnes had the ball in the net a minute later but was pulled back for offside and they could not find an equaliser, much to the frustration of the Ewood faithful.
Source : PA