Sheffield Wednesday’s first away win of the season was testament to the improvements made over the last month, believes delighted manager Danny Rohl.
Anthony Musaba’s 91st-minute goal lifted the Owls off the foot of the Championship table and inflicted a fourth successive defeat on Neil’s side.
Ryan Mmaee also saw a second-half penalty saved by Cameron Dawson as the Owls gained a first away win of the campaign, making it seven points from a possible nine.
“We showed our improvements from the last weeks," said Rohl, who has now overseen successive wins over Blackburn Rovers and Stoke.
“Maybe four weeks ago we wouldn’t get a point in this game but now you are seeing the improvements from my team and I have to say also, thank you for my bench.
“It’s not always easy to not be in the starting 11 but I told my guys that it is important we have everyone on the bench ready because they can decide the game.
“Late goals have been a big topic. We have conceded also late goals but now, yes, we have the feeling what we must do as a team in the extra time.
“I feel that if we stick to our match plan and believe what we are doing then we can score every time and to do this today without conceding a goal is fantastic.
“We took our first three points away, which is also a fantastic feeling, we are on a good way and we need to keep going and on Wednesday we have the next tough away game. At the moment my team look fantastic, and I am so proud about them in the last weeks.
“It hasn’t been easy. Against Birmingham we deserved more and we lost the game but this is a big process and it is about belief. We have the feeling we can score at any time and the atmosphere in the changing room is fantastic right now as well.”
Rohl also reserved special praise for goalkeeper Dawson, who has come under fire from certain sections of the support, but was equal to the task today. “Cameron was fantastic today,” said Rohl. “He saved a penalty at the right moment and that creates energy and then at the end we can score – fantastic!”
Bookings for Wednesday pair Akin Famewo and Marvin Johnson were the lowlights of an opening half devoid of goalmouth action.
Stoke’s teenage goalkeeper Tommy Simkin could not have wished for an easier introduction to his Championship career, comfortably saving a Di’Shon Bernard header when eventually called upon.
And apart from punching away a deflected Lyndon Gooch shot, Dawson was equally unemployed.
The growing dissatisfaction among home fans manifested itself with half-time boos.
The mood did not improve as Wednesday were an upright away from taking the lead in front of their travelling supporters. Fortunately for Stoke, George Byers could not squeeze his effort inside Simkin’s left post.
Then came a rare moment of drama as referee David Coote adjudged Famewo had pushed Laurent in the six yard box It looked soft from a Wednesday perspective. Dawson though came to the rescue by diving to his left to keep out Mmaee’s equally tame effort.
Two minutes into stoppage time Djeidi Gassama threaded the ball through for match winner Musaba.
Stoke: Simkin, Gooch, McNally, Clark, Stevens (Hoever 71), Pearson, Laurent (Wesley 78), Burger, Leris (Rose 78), Mmaee (Andre Vidigal 86), Bae. Unused substitutes: Baker, Gayle, Thompson, Lowe, Nna Noukeu.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Palmer, B Diaby, Bernard, Famewo (Ihiekwe 69), Byers (Smith 79), Vaulks, Bannan, Windass (Gassama 79), Cadamarteri (Musaba 58), Johnson. Unused substitutes: Valentin, Buckley, Fletcher, James, Vasquez.
Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).2023-12-10T12:49:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd