Wednesday win at Middlesbrough
Sheffield Wednesday made it back-to-back wins under caretaker boss Lee Bullen by recording an impressive win at promotion chasing Middlesbrough on Boxing Day.
Having made a brief substitute appearance in the win against Preston at the weekend Sam Hutchinson returned to the starting line-up and Barry Bannan was also back in the side having completed a 2-match ban.
The home side started brightly and put plenty of crosses into the box but the Wednesday back line were equal to this and grew into the game after the first 10 minutes with Bannan influential. First he played Lucas Joao into a promising position but the forward couldn't capitalise and shortly afterwards went down and had to be substituted with what appeared like illness rather than a specific injury.
On 20 minutes Bannan was pulling the strings again and this time it paid dividends. His delightful chip over the Boro defence found Adam Reach and the former Middlesbrough player kept his cool to slot into the goal under Randolph to give the visitors the lead.
Wednesday were able to keep their hosts at bay without too much trouble for the remainder of the first-half and again looked a threat early in the second period as Bannan looked to play in compatriot Steven Fletcher but Randolph was out quickly to smother the ball at the strikers feet.
MIddlesbrough brought on striker Jordan Hugill to add more attacking intent in the second half but Wednesday's well organised shape was able to restrict the home side to tame headers which Westwood dealt with easily and long-range efforts that failed to find the target.
Having taken just 5 points from their last 10 games under previous manager Jos Luhukay, Bullen has guided them to 6 points from 2 matches with 2 clean sheets, the same number that they had managed in their previous 22 league games this season.
The return to the squad of experienced heads like Westwood, Hutchinson and Boyd has clearly had a positive effect but fielding a settled defence with a solid team shape has also helped with the team looking far more compact in the last two matches.
Next up for the Owls is a tough trip to free-scoring West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.