We may not have played as well as in some recent performances, we may have ridden our luck at times … but Wednesday turned in a gutsy all-round team display to defeat Reading and move to within three points of Championship leaders Nottingham Forest.
Stevie May’s deflected 84th minute free kick from the edge of the penalty box proved to be the winner but there were battling performances throughout the side against a strong, experienced – but niggly – Reading outfit.
And none more so than that from keeper Keiren Westwood who saved a 33rd minute penalty from Glenn Murray after the Reading striker had been felled by Giles Coke and then went on to deny Jake Cooper and Nick Blackman after the break.
Both sides might also have had penalties for handball in the second half but referee Mark Heywood, who had a shocking day, turned down the appeals.
Reading’s best spell came via a series of second-half corners in quick succession, but we might have doubled our lead with some swift counter-attacking late on and it was the Owls who left the field at the final whistle to a standing ovation from the near 30,000 crowd.
Penalty hero Westwood said: “People will look at my penalty save but Semedo has thrown his head at everything, Atdhe has done the same when we needed to dig in and those contributions are just as important.
“We worked hard together to keep the ball out of our goal and as a unit, I think it was a good performance.”
Stuart Gray pointed to Westwood’s penalty stop as a a crucial moment in the game, saying: “I just felt that the penalty save was probably the defining moment in the game. It gave us a lift and it gave the fans a lift. We seemed to then pick up a bit of momentum.”
He added: “It’s all about the team. I’ve just said to the players that they deserve that win today because they have given the crowd something to shout about.
“And that has come from the graft they have put in. We defend from the front and we have done that superbly.”