Match Highlights:Sheffield Wednesday vs Nottingham Forest 0-1 all goals video
Nottingham Forest came through their toughest test of the season so far with their unbeaten start intact as they beat a spirited Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Hillsborough.
Forest, among the favourites for promotion, are enjoying a fine start to life under Stuart Pearce and Henri Lansbury’s first-half header made it four Sky Bet Championship wins from five and puts them top of the early league table.
But this victory was by no means plain sailing as they were given a stern challenge by a Wednesday side who saw their own unbeaten start to the campaign end.
After Lansbury’s strike eight minutes before half-time, the Owls put up a sterling rally in a bid to get back into the game, with Stevie May going close three times and Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow producing fine saves to deny Chris Maguire and Atdhe Nuhiu.
But they could not make the breakthrough they deserved and succumbed to a first defeat, although on this showing Stuart Gray’s men will not be embroiled in the relegation fights of the last two years and could be play-off candidates.
The confidence running through both sides owing to their respective impressive starts was evident from the off and both attacked with early intent.
A fine piece of defending from Michael Mancienne denied Wednesday striker May a tap-in as the former Chelsea man desperately intercepted Liam Palmer’s cut-back while the ever-dangerous Britt Assombalonga tested Keiren Westwood with a low drive for Forest.
It continued to be an open game as Wednesday went close through Jacques Maghoma’s testing effort which forced Darlow into a good low save, while at the other end Assombalonga looked every inch the £5million striker as he caused the hosts’ defence endless problems.
However, the former Peterborough man was not involved as Forest forged into a 37th-minute lead, which was reward for a sustained spell of pressure.
Instead it was former Wednesday winger Michail Antonio who was at the heart of the action as his teasing ball was guided home by the head of Lansbury.
Wednesday’s response was almost immediate as Maguire dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box when he had time to compose himself.
The Owls fightback was more vigorous after the break as they searched for a leveller with May having three efforts in quick succession, two saved by Darlow and one was dragged wide.
Forest’s goal was coming under siege and Darlow pulled out a fine stretching save to deny Maguire while Jack Hunt and Mancienne defiantly blocked efforts in a mad scramble.
Pearce’s men had to survive a late onslaught as Darlow superbly tipped over from Nuhiu’s curler before another scramble was desperately cleared away.
But they held on and headed away from Hillsborough with the points in the bag and looking definite promotion material.Follow @Football7x24