Rivals strike late to take gloss off Owls win

Late winning goals by rivals Plymouth and Ipswich denied Wednesday’s bid to close the gap on the top two … despite a 2-1 victory for the Owls at Bristol Rovers last night.

An excellent angled drive by Barry Bannan on 29 minutes and a close-range effort into the roof of the net from Akin Famewo just before half time gave us a 2-0 interval lead.

Slack defending saw Rovers halve the deficit through Aaron Collins straight after half time but we held out for a vital three points.

After watching an improved display following Saturday’s flop at Burton, Darren Moore said: “We knew we had to come here and be strong, they don’t have a bad home record.

“We had to be resolute but we knew with our off-the-ball approach, we could capitalise on some of the chances and we did.

“I thought Baz’ goal was an excellent finish and it sent us on our way and gave us a platform – I felt we grew in confidence once he scored his goal.

“Barring a lapse of concentration at the start of the second half, and despite all their huffing and puffing, we were good with our off-the-ball work and knew as long as we kept it up we would get the three points.

“It was a detailed first half performance and collectively it was the right response we needed.

“It goes to show when you get the performance right, you give yourself every chance of getting the points. We got the performance tonight, it was the response we wanted from Saturday.

“In the last four days you can see exactly what you can achieve if you do things right and what happens if you don’t.”

However, Ipswich scoring an 84th minute decider in a 2-1 defeat of Port Vale and Plymouth leaving it until the 97th minute before netting their winner at Shrewsbury were hefty blows for us to take at this crucial time of the season.

It leaves us still clinging to hopes of one of the two automatic promotion places but realistically needing to win our three games left to play and requiring our rivals to falter at the same time.

Plymouth’s last-gasp goal means they are top on 89 points, one ahead of second-placed Ipswich. We sit in third on 87 points but the current top two also have a game in hand on us.

Our remaining matches see us at home to Exeter on Saturday, followed by a trip to Shrewsbury and then play-off chasing Derby at S6 on the final day of the league season.

Plymouth now have three home games in a row – against Cambridge, Bristol Rovers and Burton – before travelling to Port Vale on the last day.

Ipswich face tough-looking trips to the play-off  seeking pair of Peterborough on Saturday and then at Barnsley on Tuesday evening. After that, they are at home to Exeter and finish at Fleetwood.

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