Late rally sees off North End
Sheffield Wednesday moved closer to Championship safety on Good Friday thanks to a resounding win over Preston.
The Owls had Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan back in the starting line-up and Fernando Forestieri on the bench but with only Nuhiu up front they looked somewhat toothless in the first half as they failed to get in and around the big man to support him. A header onto the roof of the net from the Kosovan was a close as the home side got. Preston were the better side in the 1st half but some last ditch defending prevented them from creating a clear-cut chance until stoppage time when Davies headed tamely at Wildsmith from close range. In truth, it was a half short on quality and littered with free-kicks as the visitors took every opportunity to hit the deck at the mere hint of contact.
Owls boss Luhukay changed things round at half-time with Hutchinson, who was booked as early as the opening minute and later had treatment for an injury was replaced by Joao. The extra option up top had an immediate effect and within 5 minutes of the restart the home side took the lead. Hunt did well to get space for a cross on the right and Joao flicked on to Nuhiu who had time to control and fire home in the centre of a busy penalty area. Wednesday took full advantage of being in the ascendency and double their lead within 5 minutes, Bannan picking out Joao with an inch-perfect ball and the Portuguese striker sending a looping header over Rudd.
The game opened up with both sides now looking far more creative and just after the hour Preston missed a great chance to reduce the deficit when Robinson challenged Hunt for a low cross at the back post and the ball hit the post and went across goal, North End kept the ball alive only to see Maguire head wide.
With 20 minutes to go Preston were back in the game when substitutes Johnson and Moult combined well for the latter to tap home.
The Owls, who have dropped more points than anyone else in the Championship were set for a nervy finish, especially when 7 minutes of injury time was announced. Any fears were put to bed as that stoppage time started however as Nuhiu took the ball from a short corner, cut inside one defender, nut-megged another and curled in a sublime finish from the angle of the penalty area. Having scored twice at Elland Road last time out, it was back-to-back braces for the striker. Not to be outdone, Forestieri put the gloss on the result, lobbing in a free-kick from the edge of the D after Joao had been hacked down.
Wednesday are now 11 points above the relegation zone with 7 games to go and travel to struggling Sunderland on Easter Monday.