Wednesday 1-0 Forest
30/09/08 - 7.45pm
Wednesday moved up to fifth in the Championship as they made it back-to-back wins with victory over a poor Nottingham Forest side at Hillsborough on Tuesday night.
The scoreline suggests a close-fought match, and Forest could well have snatched a point had it not been for Wednesday failing to take their chances in front of goal and two top-drawer saves from Lee Grant in the second half.
But Wednesday bossed the majority of the game and should have added a couple more to the scoreline to make it a more emphatic victory against a Forest side who'll need to improve drastically if they're to avoid a swift return to League One.
Owls boss Brian Laws made two changes to the side that defeated Charlton Athletic with the victory with Deon Burton returning to replace Jermaine Johnson, while Steve Watson was replaced by Esajas.
Forest had fallen to defeat on their last four away matches since returning to the Championship and the way boss Colin Calderwood set his team up from the off suggested the visitors arrived to defend and hit the Owls on the break with the pace of Nathan Tyson, who partnered Andrew Cole in attack.
But the game plan never materialised, and Wednesday spent much of the first half camped inside the Forest half, but creating little in the way of chances as Forest were happy to sit back and defend in a dull first 45 minutes.
The biggest talking point when Marcus Tudgay, excellent throughout, got in to a superb position after a one-two with Esajas before working his way in to the box and appearing to be felled when he was just about to pull the trigger.
But referee Andy D'Urso waved away the protests from the Owls front man.
James O'Connor continued to impress in the Wednesday engine room, pulling most of the strings in the first half for the Owls, and thwarting any progress Forest hoped to make alongside Sean McAllister in the centre of the park.
The best, and probably only, clear cut chance of the match came just minutes before half time when Middlesbrough loanee Tony McMahon sent in a superb cross, something which had been missing previously, which Burton headed wide of Paul Smith's goal.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Forest
In previous seasons this type of match could well have seen Wednesday fail to capitalise on their chances and bow to the pressure at the other end of the pitch.
So Laws will no doubt have told his men to continue to push forward in search of the breakthrough at the start of the second half, although Esajas' strike had a touch of fortune to it.
The Dutch winger found himself in space at the edge of the box and he sent a low effort towards goal which flicked off the heel off a Forest defender, wrong-footing Smith in the Forest goal, and ending up in the back of the net to the delight of the Owls faithful.
But instead of gaining confidence from the goal, the game almost turned on its head with the visitors enjoying slightly more possession and Wednesday seemingly happy to sit back and soak up all the visitors had to throw at them.
Forest looked most dangerous from set-pieces and it was down to Owls stopper Grant to make two superb saves to keep Wednesday's slender lead in tact.
First, he rose high to steer Nathan Tyson's header over the bar, and then from the resulting corner he produced a carbon-copy save to deny Cole with his driving effort.
The chances were the best Forest could muster, and for all their huff and puff, it should have been Wednesday who bagged the next goal and sealed their win with a string of glaring misses in front of goal.
A fine run by McMahon down the right saw the loanee fire the ball across goal and Burton somehow sent his effort wide from just a yard out when it was easier to steer the ball in to the back of the net.
The Jamiacan international then saw another effort bounce off him and come back off the post from a corner-kick late on.
Forest had one more chance late in the game to grab a late, late leveller, but Grant was more than a match for Cole's effort to make it a hat-trick of super stops and help Wednesday pick up another three points.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Forest
Wednesday: Grant, McMahon, Wood (Beevers 65), Spurr, Gilbert, Small (Jeffers 77) O'Connor, McAllister, Esajas, Burton, Tudgay. Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Smith, Clarke.
Forest: Smith, Wilson, Bennett (Martin 69), Lynch (Moussi 89), Chambers (McCleary 69), Breckin, Perch, Thornhill, Cohen, Cole, Tyson. Unused substitutes: Davies, Sinclair.