Match report: Sheffield Wednesday 2 PNE 1

Sheffield Wednesday v PNE
Sheffield Wednesday v PNE
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Preston North End's defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough ended in extraordinary scenes as team-mates Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle were sent-off for fighting for each other.

The PNE substitutes tangled in the 90th minute, moments after Doyle had laid a pass into the path of Marnick Vermijl who had fired a shot over the bar.

It appeared that Beckford remonstrated with Doyle for the pass not being in his direction and there followed the ugly scenes as they pushed and shoved each other, the unseemly incident ending with both shown the red card my referee Scott Duncan.

Doyle had come on in the 80th minute and scored with his first touch, reducing the arrears after the Owls had taken a 2-0 lead.

With Wednesday down to 10 men after Fernando Forestieri had been sent-off earlier in the second half for raising his hands at Ben Pearson in an off-the-ball incident, North End looked good for an equaliser.

But the stupidity of Beckford and Doyle took away that chance and PNE suffered only their second Championship defeat in 11 games.

The home side had taken a ninth-minute lead through Forestieri, the striker heading home from Adam Reach's miscued shot.

North End went on to enjoy plenty of the play and when Forestieri was dismissed for the second successive game against North End - he got his marching orders at Deepdale in February - it looked good for the visitors.

However, they went 2-0 behind in the 79th minute when Chris Maxwell's foul on Will Buckley saw Mr Duncan award a penalty, one which Steven Fletcher netted.

Doyle's goal, his first in the league this season, looked to have set up a grandstand finish, although no one envisaged how the final few minutes would pan out.

Beckford and Doyle now face three-match suspensions, and with Aiden McGeady suffering an injury in the first half, it reduces the numbers for Simon Grayson to choose from going forward.

Alan Browne had come into the midfield at the expense of former Wednesday player Vermijl, that the only change to the starting XI which featured in last week's 1-1 draw with Burton Albion.

It was Browne's first slice of action since his red card against Newcastle United in the EFL Cup in October, with him serving a three-match ban since and also being an unused substitute in the Burton game.

North End made a hesitant start to the game, that opening spell culminating in them conceding the opening goal.

Forestieri got through on goal as early as the second minute to meet Adam Reach's pass but under pressure from Bailey Wright, put his shot straight at Chris Maxwell.

Alex Baptiste had to clear a goalbound shot from Forestieri out of the six-yard box and not long after that, Wednesday took the lead.

Kieran Lee's into the box fell across the the goalmouth, Reach first to the loose ball whose miscued shot bounced into the turf and up into the air where Forestieri rose highest to guide a header into the net.

Preston's best spell of the first half came after the goal, Robinson inches away from an equaliser when his shot from outside the box hit the post and went behind.

Tom Clarke met a Daniel Johnson corner but headed too high, then Jordan Hugill blazed over the bar after a DJ free-kick had been cleared into his path.

Baptiste got under a Johnson delivery and looped a header over the bar.

The game burst into life in the run-up to the interval, with chances created at both ends.

McGeady, who moments earlier had pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, managed to find some spring in his legs to meet Johnson's pass on the left side of the box and force a save out of Owls goalkeeper Kieran Westwood.

Then in the fourth minute of added-on time, home substitute Will Buckley got clear of the PNE defence and raced into the box, choosing to square a pass inside when he should have taken a shot off.

When the ball was returned into the middle, Buckley got to it but guided his header wide of the far post.

At the interval, Beckford and Vermijl replaced McGeady and Browne, North End switching to 4-4-2 with Beckford giving Hugill some much-needed company up front.

Johnson lifted an early second-half free-kick well over the bar, a first attempt to take it having seen Beckford put it in the net - but it had been taken before referee Scott Duncan had blown his whistle.

Wednesday threatened when Lee broke from deep to get behind the PNE defence, Greg Cunningham recovering to get in a fine sliding tackle.

In the 59th minute, Robinson whipped a free-kick wide of the near post, a trip on Cunningham by Lee having seen it awarded - it earned the Owls man a yellow card too.

The red card for Forestieri came in the 65th minute, assistant Nick Hopton on the touchline in front of the North Stand bringing the incident to Mr Duncan's attention.

Pearson looked furious and had to be calmed by Beckford and once the referee had spoken to the assistant, he pulled the red card from his pocket.

But Wednesday's 10 men pulled further ahead in the 79th minute when Maxwell sent Buckley tumbling as they challenged for a ball down the left side of the box.

It looked an unnecessary challenge by the PNE keeper and Mr Duncan pointed to the spot.

Substitute Fletcher stepped up and rolled home the penalty, sending Maxwell the wrong way.

North End reduced the deficit in the 82nd minute, Vermijl's shot blocked and falling into the path of Doyle who took a touch before calmly lifting the ball into the net.

Then came the disgraceful incident which resulted in the red cards for Doyle and Beckford, it happening in the Wednesday penalty area.

They had to be pulled apart and out came the red card, first for Doyle and then Beckford.

Effectively, the closing minutes were 9 v 9, with Buckley playing without being able to use his right arm which he had hurt in the penalty incident.

Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens (Jones 35), Reach, Wallace (Buckley 27), Hutchinson, Lee, Bannan, Forestieri, Joao (Fletcher 73). Subs (not used): Palmer, Pudil, Nuhiu, Dawson.

PNE: Maxwell, Baptiste (Doyle 81), Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne (Beckford 46), McGeady (Vermijl 46), Johnson, Robinson, Hugill. Subs (not used): Huntington, Pringle, Makienok, Lindegaard.

Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)

Attendance: 24,843