Callum Paterson’s close-range header proved decisive as Wednesday beat Derby 1-0 at Hillsborough tonight to lift us out of the bottom three for the first time this season.
The goal takes us to 20th place, before more Championship games tomorrow, after this third successive home win and a fourth game without defeat.
The all-important strike came on 61 minutes from Barry Bannan’s free kick on the right. Liam Palmer flicked on at the near post, Paterson and Tom Lees both kept the ball alive and Paterson was there again to head home inside the six-yard box, despite being surrounded by five Derby players and keeper David Marshall.
The three points looked unlikely in the first half as Derby dominated proceedings against a Wednesday side who were off the pace and seemed to lack the energy and drive for the fight.
Joe Wildsmith, in for the injured Keiren Westwood, had to push away Louie Sibley’s effort on 15 minutes and Colin Kazim-Richards missed a great chance for the visitors when he headed against the bar from close-in.
Our only real threat of the first 45 minutes came just before the break when sub Elias Kachunga, on for the injured Josh Windass, headed wide at the far post from Bannan’s free kick.
However, we showed much more intensity in the second half, pressurising Derby on the ball and then striking with the goal just after the hour-mark through Paterson, who was just about to be subbed.
The Rams found it harder to create any clear openings as the game wore on but we survived a scare in added time when the ball struck Kadeem Harris on the hand inside the box, referee Matt Donohue turning away appeals for a penalty to ensure another three points for Wednesday and caretaker boss Neil Thompson.
Wildsmith, Palmer, Lees, Shaw, Odubajo, Harris, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach, Paterson (Rhodes 72), Windass (Kachunga 37). Unused subs. Jackson, Waldock, Brennan, Penney, Dele-Bashiru, Hunt, Brown.